An Introduction to Immersive Reality

Keywords: Immersive Reality, BYOD, User-generated content


Immersive reality (XR) encompasses the spectrum of enhancing learning through augmented reality to virtual reality. Although there has been much hype around the transformative potential of AR and VR the adoption of these technologies in higher education learning environments has been limited (Cochrane, 2016). With a lack of models of how to integrate XR in higher education AR has fallen into the trough of disillusionment on the Gartner hype cycle for emerging technologies 2018, while VR is on the ‘slope of enlightenment’ (Daniel, 2018). In response, this workshop will provide participants with a hands on experience of creating their own simple immersive reality scenario using the web-based VR platform SeekBeak ( The workshop is a generic version of a workshop run with Journalism students that introduced them to the concepts of immersive journalism practice and the implications for immersive storytelling (Sissons & Cochrane, 2019a, 2019b). The workshop will introduce participants to the state of the art of immersive journalism, and demonstrate a BYOD approach to user-generated virtual reality in higher education as a model of integrating authentic learning within the curriculum.


Schedule (100 mins)

  • Introductions (5 min)

  • Participant survey (5 min)
  • Introduction to 360 video and VR (10 min)
  • XR Journalism examples

  • VR project development (60 min)
    • Google Cardboard Headsets, using participants’ own smartphones
    • Introduction to the Toolkit
    • Participants create SeekBeak accounts
    • Hands on with the 360 cameras 

    • Participants choose a topic to work on as a mobile VR production team
  • Sharing and review of participant projects(participants share SeekBeak links) (10 min)
  • Reflections via brief SurveyMonkey survey, and sharing of project URLs and reflections via Twitter and the #SOTELNZ hashtag (5 min)
  • END



Cochrane, T. (2016). Mobile VR in Education: From the Fringe to the Mainstream. International Journal of Mobile and Blended Learning (IJMBL), 8(4), 45-61. doi:10.4018/IJMBL.2016100104

Daniel, E. (2018, 21 August 2018). Gartner hype cycle 2018: Mixed reality to overtake VR and AR. Retrieved from

Sissons, H., & Cochrane, T. (2019a, 22 November). Immersive Journalism: Playing with Virtual Reality. Paper presented at the AUT Teaching and Learning Conference: Authentic Assessment - Time to Get Real?, Auckland University of Technology.

Sissons, H., & Cochrane, T. (2019b). Newsroom Production: XRJournalism Workshop. Retrieved from


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Author Biography

Thomas Cochrane, CfLAT, Auckland University of Technology

Dr Thomas Cochrane is an Academic Advisor and Senior Lecturer in educational Technology at AUT University's Centre for Learning and Teaching (CfLAT). In 2011 he was awarded as an Ascilite Fellow His research interests include mobile learning, web 2.0, communities of practice, and the scholarship of technology enhanced learning (SOTEL). His PHD thesis was titled: "Mobilizing Learning: Transforming pedagogy with mobile web 2.0". Thomas has managed and implemented over 50 mobile learning projects, with a recent focus upon Android and iOS smartphones and the iPad as catalysts to enable student-generated content and student-generated learning contexts, bridging formal and informal learning environments. Thomas has a peer-reviewed research portfolio spanning 45 journal articles, 29 book chapters, and over 120 conference proceedings (, receiving best paper awards at Ascilite 2009, ALT-C 2011, ALT-C 2012. He has been invited to keynote at several international educational technology conferences including: the 2012 Australian Moodle Moot, the 2012 m-Libraries conference in the UK, the launch of UWS massive iPad project in February 2013, the 2014 IBSA VET Practitioners Conference in Melbourne, and an invited speaker at EdMedia2014 (Tampere, Finland), and an Educator In Residence at the Disruptive Media Learning Lab, Coventry University in September 2015. Thomas was an invited keynote at the University of Western Australia’s Mlearning Summit in September 2015. Thomas was an invited keynote at the University of Western Australia’s Mlearning Summit in September 2016. In 2017 he was a member of the team winning the AUT Vice Chancellor’s Teaching Excellence, Teaching Innovation Award.

Thomas is an AJET Associate Editor, an editorial board member of RLT, BJET, and IJMBL, and the coordinator of the Ascilite Mobile Learning Special Interest Group. He is a regular reviewer for a number of educational technology journals including: AJET, CHB, IJMBL, JCHE, UAIS, and TLT. Thomas is also one of the first SCMALT holders (Senior Certified Member of the Association for Learning Technology).

How to Cite
Cochrane, T., & Sissons, H. (2019). An Introduction to Immersive Reality. Pacific Journal of Technology Enhanced Learning, 2(1), 6.
SOTEL2020 Symposium