Research Projects

Teaching Development Grants – Co-Investigator

1) HKU Faculty of Medicine – Biochemistry – using the virtual environment to create student training simulations for interviewing patients and doing experiments on lab benches.   Example videos: Patient interview, Lipoprotein experiment
PI: Dr. Joanna Ho, University of Hong Kong
Co-Is: NS Wong, Brant Knutzen

2) HKU Faculty of Medicine – Pathology – using the virtual environment to create a self-accessed training scenario for using lab equipment safely.  Example video: Fire Safety
PI: Prof UI Khoo, University of Hong Kong
Co-I: Brant Knutzen

Teaching development studies for Biochemistry and Pathology are currently being developed in the virtual environment of Second Life on “HKU Medicine Island”.  These studies seek to supplement classroom instruction by blending in experiential learning in an immersive environment.  The Moodle LMS platform is used to set the context, define the problem for inquiry-based learning, launch the virtual environment, and debrief the students using quiz and discussion activities.  We are also exploring the frontier of medical simulation training using the Unity3D virtual environment.

General Research Fund study – Co-Investigator

Critical Investigation of Stage-to-screen and Screen-to-stage Adaptation Discourses: An Analysis of Key Terms and Practices
PI: Dr. Mike Ingham, Lingnan University

This project seeks to explore an under-theorised area: namely the interface between film and theatre studies and the intersection of the two disciplines and practices in the form of intermedial adaptation.  Example video 1, Example video 2

On HKU Education Island I have worked with three partners to create a winter wonderland celebrating Dickens’ classic Victorian tale: A Christmas Carol!

We have recreated eight pivotal scenes in a snowy winter setting to bring this classic Victorian literature alive as an immersive experience, a sort of “3-D graphic novel”.

The interactive journey begins with Scrooge’s “Bah humbug!”, moves to his fateful visit from Marley’s ghost, and then visitors can explore key scenes from Past, Present, and Future Christmases.  Students exploring this interactive tale can click on the characters to hear what they are thinking! This build was selected for presentation by the 2017 Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education conference, in the Immersive Experiences track!

Two example student videos produced by project:
Effects of human pollution on environment
The Seek

I did a recent project proposal with the Special Education & Counseling department at the Education University, with a focus on the training of teachers for Gifted Education.



Lingnan Digital Literacy project – a grant-funded project exploring the application of the virtual world to training students about digital literacy.   As part of this project, a full region called Lingnan Drama Island in Second Life has been developed as a medieval village called Camelot.   Students start with the Quest, a 10-step hunt following riddle clues, to explore the sim and learn the basic navigation and user interface skills.
Example video: Overview of the Quest presentation at the VWBPE conference

This build was selected for presentation by the 2016 Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education conference, in the Immersive Experiences track!

The start of The Quest at Camelot village on Lingnan Drama Island in Second Life

The start of The Quest at Camelot village on Lingnan Drama Island in Second Life



The Sea Horse Pub in Camelot village

Another area I have explored as part of my research is the gamification of student training in the virtual world.  I developed the Pirate Ship Battle Game to gamify the training of camera controls: zoom, pan, etc.  These psycho-motor skills are essential to the smooth production of digital storytelling using the virtual world!

Academy of Medicine – developed a Virtual Tour of their new Innovative Learning Centre for  Medicine (training using simulations – 6 minutes):

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