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Face to Face: Using Videoconferencing to Create a Shared Virtual Space for Students

February 21, 2017 | Telepresence Options


Story and images by EdSurge

Colleges have long linked classrooms via videoconferencing. But when two theater professors in different countries wanted to collaborate, they decided to make a video link with a little more depth.

The project began when Tiina Syrjä, a lecturer in voice and speech at the University of Tampere, in Finland, met an administrator from Coventry University, in Britain, and they decided to organize a collaborative long-distance theater seminar. Coventry University sent Tom Gorman, a senior theater lecturer, to Finland to come up with a plan. Mikko Kanninen, senior lecturer of acting at the University of Tampere, joined the planning committee.

"A colleague of mine had been working in Second Life, an online virtual world," said Gorman. "He had an installation in an art gallery where there was a big projection and it was hooked up to a screen and a video camera. What was interesting to us was the layout of the room--on the screen was a computer version of that world, but in the room was a real version. We thought, could you take a setup like this and have real participants on both sides instead of using computer graphics?"

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