Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS: http://ethos.bl.uk/OrderDetails.do?uin=uk.bl.ethos.570333
Title: Design reviews at a distance : a qualitative analysis of mediated interaction in 3D real-time virtual environments
Author: Abdellatif, Reham Mahmoud Ahmed
Awarding Body: University of Newcastle Upon Tyne
Current Institution: University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Date of Award: 2012
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Abstract:
The use of new media such as massively multi-user 3D virtual environments; ‘virtual worlds’, in design learning is directed by expectations that they have the potential to simulate human characteristics via Avatars. The three dimensional spatial and communicational properties afforded by this virtual environment provide an opportunity to distantly interact, visualise and keep records of the students’ design reviews, while reducing the levels of tension, defence and shyness experienced by some students in traditional face-to-face design reviews. This thesis proposes that despite these potentials for a successful interactional medium, properties of mediation, virtuality and remoteness of mediated design reviews affect how learning interactions are communicated and delivered; changing the overall learning experience, and thus its effectiveness. In order to determine the effectiveness of the mediated learning interaction process in 3D virtual worlds, this research performs a protocol analysis study where it proposes an assessment framework that examines indicators of effectiveness of three constituting processes; communication efficiency, learning effectiveness and learner-technology interaction. The study hypothesises that the availability and limitation of certain communication modes afforded by the virtual environment may affect the flow and sequences of synchronous communication, but not necessarily the quality and content of mutually communicated information. It proposes that certain properties of the technology, specifically those which aim to support different forms of interaction, such as embodiment, presence and remoteness will play a positive role in the effectiveness of the learning interaction process. This thesis hypothesises as well that students and tutors will continue to interact effectively and create a shared language of communication despite some communicational challenges. To test these hypotheses and examine the effectiveness of the learning interaction process, this thesis adopts an exploratory methodology. Varying in the degree of mediation, three categories of small size design review groups of students and tutors were conducted and closely observed. A coding scheme specific to the design review protocol was designed and developed in this thesis based on observations of the first category; face-to-face design reviews. Two other virtual reviews performed at two degrees of mediation/remoteness, allowed us to explore mediated interactions ‘within’ the 3D virtual world and ‘with’ the physical computer. Qualitatively-based interaction and content analyses of the recorded activities, in addition to questionnaires and focus groups with the participants, provided evidence that there are noticeable differences in both; verbal content and nonverbal interactions between the three design review categories, hence variations in learning effectiveness. It was found that not only the availability or restriction of certain communication modes that had caused these differences, but the way the users used, adopted and perceived the virtual properties of the medium, had played a significant role as well. It is hoped that the method developed in this thesis can shed more light upon the neglected communicational aspects of final design reviews and come closer to enhance the delivery of learning in the design studio. It is hoped as well that this research can inform the literature on virtual worlds as online-learning environments in design-based disciplines, by probing deeper than simply accepting or rejecting the use of the technology, but rather to analyse the properties they afford or deny within context. Furthermore, it is hoped that the recommendations of this research be employable to aid virtual world and Avatar designers to develop interactional aspects of virtual worlds to be considered for a wider range of more complicated interaction processes such as the architectural design review.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Egyptian Government
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.570333  DOI: Not available
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