Learning and Teaching Investment Fund 2008

Summary of Projects

Project Title

Learning to Design in Synthetic Environment

Project Leaders

Greg More

Funds Approved


Summary of the project, outcomes, impacts and dissemination

Learning to Design in Synthetic Environments advances the use of virtual environments as contexts for design studios. How will the next generation of architects and designers transform design practice by the use of 3D virtual environments? This project exposed participants to innovative new spatial paradigms of design interaction and collaboration by continuing the pioneering use of virtual world platforms at RMIT University such as Second Life.

Integrated into two Architecture and Interior Design Studios - within the School of Architecture + Design - this project reinforced a research led teaching approach that brought experts from the national context to engage with students. A workshop was held between semesters where national and international guests (including “New Media Consortium” representatives from the United States) presented and discussed critical issues of using immersive digital environments in art, design and education. The culmination of the project was the Synthetic Environments exhibition opened by The Deputy Vice Chancellor, Professor Jim Barber, Associate Pro-Vice Chancellor Barbara de la Harpe, and interstate invited guest Dr Sean Pickersgill (UniSA). The exhibition showcased the work from the students in the studios, commissioned visualisations of 3D virtual environments, and documentation of the project workshop. The exhibition also included a live Second Life environment, imagery and a video complication of student generated machinima (films made with game engines). Outcomes from the studios can be directly viewed on RMIT Second Life island (http://slurl.com/secondlife/RMIT/193/68/38/ ), or additional information can be found at http://www.sial.rmit.edu.au/Projects/Synthetic_Environments.php

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