Fostering real-time collaboration in a bespoke virtual environment

UNIVERSE by ViewSonic, an immersive online learning platform, allows students to provide real-time feedback and collaborate on their own terms in unique learning environments

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UNIVERSE by ViewSonic
4 Jul 2023
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UNIVERSE by ViewSonic

Learn how UNIVERSE by ViewSonic creates an immersive learning environment built to enhance online learning

The higher education space has undergone a huge transformation in recent years. As such, digital solutions have become increasingly important, ranging from learning management systems to entire virtual learning environments. Among the innovative tools being embraced by students and academics is an online platform for creating engaging spaces in the higher education sector.

“One of the advantages of UNIVERSE and synchronous learning generally is the way it enables real-time interaction and feedback from students,” explains Jonathan Stokes, business development manager for Europe at ViewSonic. “It’s also great for allowing students to ask questions while lessons are delivered, so academics can adapt their methodologies and pedagogical approaches based on what’s actually happening in the room. With asynchronous teaching, any adjustments generally happen after lessons, modules, or courses are completed.”

UNIVERSE also offers several real-time collaboration opportunities. Teachers can intervene if necessary and adjust their course materials, while students can engage in peer learning at their own pace.

“UNIVERSE is also great for fostering a social connection between students,” Stokes says. “A lot of education is built on relationships, but this is difficult with asynchronous teaching. This connection is strengthened across a range of 3D environments, creating immersive, engaging spaces that let students truly thrive.”

The UNIVERSE platform enhances engagement by creating entire virtual campuses for online learning through synchronous learning sessions. “The environments can range from conventional university settings to more unusual learning environments – like under the sea or in outer space,” Stokes says. “Our environments are customisable, as are the avatars. This is great for boosting student self-expression, lowering anxiety and enhancing engagement.”

Another important difference with the UNIVERSE platform is its use of spatial audio, where the volume increases or decreases based on the user’s distance between other avatars. This means it’s easier for multiple individuals to collaborate virtually. With many video conferencing platforms, only one person can talk at any given time. This isn’t a natural style of discussion and makes peer engagement difficult.

“UNIVERSE also allows the creation of smaller breakout rooms as well as larger spaces,” Stokes says. “There are different ways to collaborate and our platform is keen to facilitate them all. There are also different communication methods, with students able to use their microphone, online chat functionality or emojis. There are also collaboration boards, where students can draw, write or share images, as well as assessment tools.”

Importantly, UNIVERSE gives students a great deal of autonomy in their learning. Students can set up their rooms and collaborate on their own terms. This means UNIVERSE appeals to underserved markets, such as students that may have had reservations about enrolling in higher education.

With the higher education space still in a state of flux, it is impossible to say exactly what the future holds for tools like the UNIVERSE platform. Fortunately, this is a solution that is adaptable and keen to meet the evolving needs of educators and students. “UNIVERSE is a product that will never be finished,” Stokes says. “Whatever our customers can think of, we can design. We are always looking for new features, whether that’s creating bespoke metaverses or directly importing 3D objects. We are ready to implement whatever our customers and educators need.”

Find out more about UNIVERSE by ViewSonic.

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