Track: Best Practices Showcase

Title Life on an Epic Scale
Author(s): Peter Miller
Moderator(s):Pionia Destiny
Date Saturday, March 17 14:00
Location: CAVE/EdTech Auditorium
Abstract Immersive environments such as OpenSim regions provide the opportunity for students to explore and annotate biological data in novel ways. In an era typified by information overload, they also offer opportunities to focus, personalise and share the experience of such investigations. During the past year a region on the New World Grid called BioZone has been developed on the theme of mycobacteria. The latter include agents responsible for serious human bacterial infections such as tuberculosis and leprosy. Exhibits now available or under development include two types of immersive bibliographic search tool, an evolutionary pathway for the genus mapped as paths, a walkround, touch-sensitive genome of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, a large-scale protein structure derived from a mycobacterial virus, a fly-through section of a mycobacterial cell and an immersive visualization of some gene regulatory networks from M. tuberculosis. In these examples the merit in “being epic” in terms of scale is primarily in providing sufficient shared space for individual student avatars to work while still providing an overall context. While some students (and general visitors) may also find the scale of the build to be inspiring or intriguing, this aspect needs to be tempered with an awareness of the dangers of cognitive overload and lack of cohesion. The paper will present ideas for ways in which this issue might be addressed in the future.
Bio(s): Peter Miller: University lecturer in microbiology with a longstanding interest in e-learning.

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