Virtual worlds in Australian and New Zealand higher education: remembering the past, understanding the present and imagining the future


Sue Gregory, University of New England
Ali Fardinpour
Lisa Jacka, Southern Cross UniversityFollow
Scott Grant, Monash University
Jay Jay Jegathesan, University of Western Australia
Frederick Stokes-Thompson, University of South Australia
Chris Campbell, University of Queensland
SweeKin Loke, University of otago
Ning Gu, University of Newcastle
Anton Bogdanovych, University of Western Australia
Caroline Steel, University of Queensland
Lindy McKeown Orwin, University of Southern Queensland
Brent Gregory, University of New England
Mathew Hillier, The University of Queensland
Des Butler, Queensland University of Technology
Merle Hearns, Manukau Institute of Technology
David Ellis, Southern Cross UniversityFollow
Belma Gaukrodger, Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology
Xiangyu Wang, Curtin University of Technology
Sheila Scutter, James Cook University
Stefan Schutt, Victoria University
Thomas Trescak, University of Western Australia
Penny Neuendorf, Canberra Institute of Technology
Tom Kerr, Macquarie University
Torsten Reiners, Curtin University of Technology
Mark JW Lee, Charles Sturt University
David Holloway, University of Wollongong
Kim Flintoff, Curtin University of Technology
Marcus McDonald, RMIT University
Jason Zagami, Griffith University
Jamie Garcia Salinas, University of Queensland
Christine Newman, Queensland University of Technology
Simeon Simoff, University of Western Australia
Matt Bower, Macquarie University
Ian Warren, Deakin University
Denise Wood, University of South Australia
Dale Linegar, Oztron
Ross Brown, Queensland University of Technology
Angela Giovanangeli, University of Technology, Sydney
Eimear Muir-Cochrane, Flinders University
Ian larson, Monash University
Charlynn Miller, University of Ballarat
Vicki Knox, University of New England
Grant Meredith, University of Ballarat
Arin Basu, University of Canterbury
Shane Mathews, Queensland University of Technology
Yvonne Masters, University of New England
Clare Atkins, Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology
Andrew Cran
Michael Jacobson, University of Sydney

Document Type

Conference publication

Publication details

Gregory, S, Fardinpour, A, Jacka, L, Grant, S, Jegathesan, JJ, Stokes-Thompson, F, Campbell, C, Loke, SK, Gu, N, Bogdanovych, A, Steel, C, McKeown Orwin, L, Gregory, B, Hillier, M, Butler, D, Hearns, M, Ellis, D, Gaukrodger, B, Wang, X, Scutter, S, Schutt, S, Trescak, T, Neuendorf, P, Kerr, T, Reiners, T, Lee, MJW, Holloway, D, Flintoff, K, Mcdonald, M, Zagami, J, Salinas, JG, Newman, C, Farley, H, Simoff, S, Bower, M & Warren, I , Wood, D, Linegar, D, Brown, R, Giovanangeli , A, Muir-Cochrane, E, Larson, I, Miller, C, Knox, V, Meredith, G, Le Rossignol, L, Basu, A, Mathews, S, Masters, Y, Atkins, C, Cram, A, Jacobson, M 2013, 'Virtual worlds in Australian and New Zealand higher education: remembering the past, understanding the present and imagining the future', in H Carter, M Gosper & J Hedberg (eds), Proceedings of the 30th ascilite Conference: electric dreams, Macquarie University, Sydney, NSW, 1-4 December, Macquarie University, Sydney, NSW, pp. 312-324.ISBN: 9781741384031

Available on Open Access

Peer Reviewed



3D virtual reality, including the current generation of multi-user virtual worlds, has had a long history of use in education and training, and it experienced a surge of renewed interest with the advent of Second Life in 2003. What followed shortly after were several years marked by considerable hype around the use of virtual worlds for teaching, learning and research in higher education. For the moment, uptake of the technology seems to have plateaued, with academics either maintaining the status quo and continuing to use virtual worlds as they have previously done or choosing to opt out altogether. This paper presents a brief review of the use of virtual worlds in the Australian and New Zealand higher education sector in the past and reports on its use in the sector at the present time, based on input from members of the Australian and New Zealand Virtual Worlds Working Group. It then adopts a forward-looking perspective amid the current climate of uncertainty, musing on future directions and offering suggestions for potential new applications in light of recent technological developments and innovations in the area.