Photos of the Flores exhibit and screen captures of the virtual environment.

Project Overview

Posted by A. D'Alba August, 2010


The project leverages synergy between research into 3D virtual environments at UNT and museum education and presentation research at UAEM. The purpose of this research grant is to 1) explore the use of existing 3D virtual technologies to bring the museums into online 3D experiences, 2) examine pedagogical approaches of these virtual learning environments, 3) support doctoral research, and 4) increase awareness of the potential of creating 3D virtual museums.

The technology used to display and interact in 3D with the museum already exists and has been in use by Dr. Jones since 2001. The digital creation of the space is done using off-the-shelf software (3D Studio Max) and imported into the Created Realities Group (CRG) framework that then allows multiple users to interact and use the space virtually online at the same time.

Description of the Research
The following mixed-method research will allow the researchers to examine the questions the pilot study is looking at that includes learning outcomes, preference to interface, satisfaction of interaction, and other themes and issues that emerge during the research during this pilot research project.

The virtual environment, a replica of an exhibition in one of the existing Leopoldo Flores Museum, will be created, including all the pieces and information that are being exhibited. Ms. Alba is an accomplished 3D artist with a Masters degree in Digital Art from the University of Glasgow, UK. Her first trip to Mexico was to visit and select the exhibition from the UAEM museums. From that visit, the virtual environment will be created and populated. This will be done during the summer of 2010. Use testing will then occur during the summer and early fall, during which Martha Kuhn will visit UNT to assist with this process. Ms. D’Alba will visit UAEM in the Fall of 2010 to assist with the setup of the virtual environment software and complete the use testing. In the late fall of 2010, UAEM students will be asked to participate in the research. During the data collection phase, Ms D’Alba will again travel to UAEM to assist with the data collection and conduct interviews. Volunteering students will be placed in one of two groups. One group will be taking the tour in the museum and the other group will be taking the virtual tour. Both groups will be asked to answer the same series of surveys to measure usability, student satisfaction, preference, and learning experience.

 Quantitative non-parametric measurement will be used to determine the user’s satisfaction and preferences (Dunn-Rankin, Knezek, Wallace, & Zhang, 2004; Robertson & Jones, 2009). Rank-sum scaling is a common method of tallying participants’ preference given to scalable objects (e.g., technology-based delivery methods) when those objects are arranged in all possible pairs, allowing votes of preference to be mapped on a linear scale of zero to 100 (Dunn-Rankin et al., 2004). Rank-sum scaling is a reworking of two-way variance analysis by ranks, and as a result, is nonparametric (i.e., assumption or distribution free) because the data is two-way. Learning outcomes will be based on series of questions about information contained in the exhibit. Based on the quantitative results, selected semi-structured interviews will take place to add further information to the collected data and analysis (Creswell, 1994).

The people who will be involved in this project are:
Dr. Greg Jones is an associate professor and CECS Program Coordinator, in the Department of Learning Technologies. His research focuses on the areas of emerging technologies for learning, which include visualization systems for education, virtual communities, telementoring, and multi-user 3D online learning environments (virtual environments).

B. Adriana D’ Alba is a full-time student in the Educational Computing PhD program at UNT. This research project will be included in her dissertation proposal. Ms. D’Alba is originally from the State of Mexico, and she got her degree in Graphic Design at the UAEM.

Bertha Teresa Abraham Jalil. Investigator of the Research center in Social Sciences and Humanities of the "Universidad Autónoma del Estado de México" (UAEM). Subjects: Museums, Education, Art and Democracy. Master in History of Art by the "Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México".

Martha Kuhn, a UAEM student.