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Data In Depth: Web 3 D Technologies Provide New Approaches To The Presentation Of Course Content

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

Online and Web-based Education

Tagged Division

Computers in Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

15.342.1 - 15.342.10



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Paper Authors

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Charles Lesko East Carolina University

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John Pickard East Carolina University

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Data in Depth: Web 3-D Technologies Provide New Approaches to the Presentation of Course Content


For nearly two decades, the Web has provided the classroom with vast, ever-expanding volumes of browser-accessible information. As the web has evolved so too has our desire to become more involved with the process of content-creation and content-sharing. Now new web-based technologies look to provide smarter, more meaningful content and present that content with a new level of depth and interactivity. No longer are faculty and students browsing for information that is largely static; instead, these users are interacting through their three- dimensional (3-D) proxies (their avatars) and are querying applications (semantic web agents) soliciting them to collect, filter, verify, correlate, and present answers to their queries. Yet, all of this capability is not without potential challenges.

There is an evolving need for faculty and students to find and build out new structure in their 3-D virtual surroundings that visually enables their content, making it more palatable to the user while presenting it in a 3-D format verses the typical 2-D format that has been the mainstay for the past two decades. With the maturation of virtual world (3-D Web) and semantic web technologies, the web-based content available in the classroom increases exponentially and takes on a new look. Following a brief overview of these two technologies and their overall impact in the classroom, this article presents several practical approaches for presenting course content in 3-D Web environments based on recent implementation efforts. In-World lectures and lab assignments, project team briefing sessions, student mentoring activities, and open conference forums are just a few of the areas discussed. Further discussions also focus on setup and future evaluation studies planned in the near-term to further evaluate course content presentation techniques.


The evolution of three-dimensional (3-D) Web technologies has evolved into a broad collection of virtual world online communities often taking the form of computer-based simulated environments allowing users to immerse, interact, share experiences, create and co-produce with other users. The concept of web-based 3-D virtual environments has become synonymous with the term virtual worlds where users take the form of avatars visible to others graphically in 3-D computer-generated spaces. As a 3-D web interface, virtual worlds provide users with some unique capabilities. On the surface, a web interface has four basic design elements in a 2-D space: line, color, shape and direction; add a third dimension to that equation gives us the additional elements of form and texture.1 Although the early emphasis has been on building out virtual worlds and providing for a growing demand for more social context and interaction, there are some recent indicators that show a growing interest in the use of virtual world’s as vehicles for presenting content.2

Over the past several years academics have begun to build and evaluate various virtual world environments with the goals of providing visually acceptable and meaningful meeting places that

Lesko, C., & Pickard, J. (2010, June), Data In Depth: Web 3 D Technologies Provide New Approaches To The Presentation Of Course Content Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16935

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