Exploring the Virtual Studio in Education

Grant program: Teaching and Learning Development Grant (TLDG)

Grant recipient: Larry Bafia, Masters of Digital Media (MDM) Program

Project TeamPatrick Pennefather, MDM Program, and Melissa Wong, research assistant

Timeframe: January to May 2015

Funding: $4,950

Courses addressed:

  • DMED 520 – Projects 1: Building Virtual Worlds
  • DMED 521 – Industry Projects

Final Report: View Larry Bafia's final report (PDF)

Description: As the animation and visual effects industries continue to emerge and grow on a global scale, there is an increasing demand for collaborators and managers that can work effectively in a virtual environment. We intend to explore the best practices for team-oriented, project-based learning in a virtual world.

The DMED 521 Industry Projects course pairs a student team of four to six participants with a client from a digital media industry. The client offers a problem or situation for the students to explore. The students work as a team for 12 weeks in order to find a digital solution for their client. Our objective will be to gain a better understanding of the environment, tools and methodologies that expedite the virtual learning experience in a practical client-based project. The findings will also contribute to the continuing development of the course DMED 520 Projects 1: Building Virtual Worlds by offering insights into best practices in the virtual collaboration environment.

Questions addressed:

  • What is the experience of a MDM student team collaborating to create a virtual learning and work space? What are their suggestions for improvement of the virtual environment?
  • How do students rate the effectiveness of their virtual collaboration?
  • How do the instructors and industry advisor rate the effectiveness of the virtual problem-solving environment? What are their suggestions for improvement?

Knowledge sharing: The project and findings will be presented to MDM faculty and students at the Centre for Digital Media. An invitation to SFU teachers could also be extended. Updates on the industry projects are a regular agenda item for all MDM faculty meetings. Therefore all faculty and staff members will be abreast of the progress of the student project as well as the investigation. It is our intention to create a formal presentation of the project overview, student design project results and investigation findings. This presentation would be suitable for submission to conferences such as Siggraph, FMX, VIEW, Tribeca Innovation, and SxSW. The presentation could also be offered to SFU departments beyond Digital Media.

View Patrick Pennefeather's ISTLD-funded projects:

Exploring the Virtual Studio in Education (G0114) - with Larry Bafia

Agile Instructional Inquiry (G0280) - with Bernhard Riecke