The Augmented Reality in Formal European University Education (AR-FOR-EU) project will establish and deepen a strategic partnership for teaching Augmented Reality in Higher Education at scale on an undergraduate and graduate levels. AR-FOR-EU brings together five internationally renowned institutions to reflect their research, development and teaching expertise into a validated course offer of excellence, extended with rich and professionally produced open course materials.
AR-FOR-EU will help improve quality of educational programs by creating a new offer in an area conducive to Europe’s global competitiveness, with technology uptake already showing positive effects in a variety of industrial fields. It will do so by collecting expertise at the European and international level to create a foundation for teaching Augmented Reality in formal education, preparing professionals for the industries of tomorrow and contributing to making European economies more research-driven, knowledge-based, and competitive.
Augmented Reality is a rapidly growing market amongst the information and communication technologies. It provides an enriched view onto the physical world, adding layers with contextually useful information, delivered visually or by stimulating other senses using wearable and hand-held devices. Manifold industrial use cases of Augmented Reality in, for example, manufacturing, construction, health, the service sector, or in trade & sales can be found. The technology is currently being introduced in front-runner organisations at large, leading to an increasing demand for qualified specialists.
While the Augmented Reality research and development community is growing stronger in Europe, the teaching competence and exchange of good practices in this field are still very fragmented. Educational offers for this topic in Europe are falling behind, failing to produce the graduates (and numbers) required.
In order to achieve this goal, AR-FOR-EU sets its objectives as (1) to support capacity building of new and emerging digital skills for Augmented Reality, (2) produce two innovative courses on this topic, (3) create a strategic partnership to promote excellence in teaching, and (4) design technology-based and pedagogically sound digital Open Educational Resources and online courses for a Massive Online Open Course platform aimed at opening up and fostering uptake across Europe.
AR-FOR-EU focuses on producing IOs, and therefore applies a common development methodology to the majority of activities, consisting of a pre-study, first iteration of development, pilots, and the second iteration of development. This process is supported by management, quality control, dissemination and communication activities throughout the project.
The survey of teaching practices and industry needs will inform policymakers and guide partnerships’ selection of learning methods, learning objectives, assessment criteria, and required knowledge, skills, and competences, filling the gap between formal education and the workplace. Combining expertise from five organizations, the project will apply an established approach for the creative production of the course content with an open call for the textbook chapters, interactive widgets for practical exercises, and more. The courses will be validated through pilots at partner organizations and a global pilot of the online version, resulting in first-hand experience and feedback data.
Various participants are considered for the pilots and beyond. Students from participating universities, enrolled in on-campus pilots and the released courses are direct end-users of the project outputs. Other participants who enroll into the online version of the courses or in replications across Europe will include all types of learners, teachers, industry workers, and entrepreneurs.
Six public events on national and EU levels will be the main activities of dissemination and communication for relevant stakeholders who are essential not only as the target audience, but also as subjects for the pre-study survey, co-authors of the textbook, users of the materials, volunteers for the pilots of the online version of the courses, multipliers of the knowledge generated, and a source of valuable feedback.
AR-FOR-EU impact will be strongest at the EU level, while also providing benefits to society and the economy on local, regional and national levels, along with other Erasmus+ and EU activities. Through intensive cross-border and inter-disciplinary cooperation, the project will trigger processes and produce results that are likely to become self-sustaining and develop further, such as standards of excellence in Augmented Reality teaching and the Augmented Reality teaching community. The project will have impact on development of transversal skills among students, teachers and researchers, with a life-long value in the settings of continuously changing workplaces and societal challenges.