MARA 284-12 (1-Unit)
Seminar in Archives & Records Management
Topic: Design for Teaching & Learning in Social Virtual Reality
Summer 2022 Syllabus

Dr. A. Marie Vans
Office Location: Online
Office Hours: By appointment

Syllabus Links
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Canvas Information: Courses will be available beginning August 19th at 6 am PT unless you are taking an intensive or a one-unit or two-unit class that starts on a different day. In that case, the class will open on the first day that the class meets.

This one-unit course runs from June 3rd - July 1st. It will be available on Canvas on June 3rd at 6 am PT. You will be enrolled in the Canvas site automatically.

Course Description

This course introduces Social Virtual Reality as a platform for professional development with an emphasis on designing training experiences using archival materials. These experiences will be based on using criteria and developing curricula along with well-known instructional design learning models specifically focused on information professionals.  

Course Requirements

Virtual reality (VR) headsets will help to demonstrate the immersive experiences more clearly, however they are NOT required. All platforms we will visit will have a desktop version that allows you to participate from your computer using normal computer microphone & speakers.

Course Calendar

For this course, we will be using the Canvas Learning Management System as well as several different Social Virtual Reality platforms. 

Main Topic, Core Competencies &  CLOs
Lectures & Assignments Due Dates

Module 1

Overview of Course 






Social VR platforms





Criteria for Learning Experiences in VR




Core Comp H
CLO 1 

Introduction to the course

Discussion (not graded): Introductions

Lecture: Introduction, course overview, expectations, definition of terms, and concepts for educational experiences in Social Virtual worlds, introduction to virtual world design criteria.
How to get into and basic interface interaction in Virbela (1st VR world).

Discussion #1 (5 points)

Basis for discussion -- Experience in Virbela and the application of the criteria (presented in lecture and handout) to this virtual world.

Assignment #1:  (5 points)

Visit Virbela at

Readings #1: 

  1. Textbook: Chapters 1 -2, "Design for Learning in Virtual Worlds" by Nelson & Erlandson.
  2. XR for Teaching & Learning: Year 2 of the EDUCAUSE/HP Campus of the Future
  3. Handout of criteria used for entire course
  4. Handout of instructions on how to download, sign up for accounts, and enter the Virbela virtual world.

Optional: Meetup with instructor and students in Virbela:

Friday, 6/3/2022, 10:00 am-11:00 am Pacific Time AND/OR (NOTE: THIS IS THE FIRST DAY OF CLASS)

Saturday 6/4/22, 10:00am-11:00am Pacific Time


Discussion & Assignment Due Date: 

MONDAY, June 6, 2022

Module 2

Learning models for VR experiences









Context of Use









Core Comp H, J

Instructional Design-Learning Models & Context in Social VR Worlds

Lecture: Learning models including Situated Learning,
Constructivism, and Behaviorism as theoretical basis for learning in virtual worlds. Context of use and decisions required for building educational experiences, for example: subject domain, target learners, participant roles.

Discussion #2 (5 points)

Basis for discussion -- Experience in one of the worlds visited and discussion of which criteria are met and how.

Assignment #2: (5 points)

Visit one virtual world after readings and video lecture to take
notes on whether the criteria are applicable in the world visited
and/or what needs to be addressed in order to complete the
criteria.  The following virtual worlds are suggested:

  1. Mozilla Hubs
  2. FrameVR
  3. Spatial
  4. AltspaceVR
  5. Sinespace
  6. Kitely

Note: Other VR worlds are accepted with instructor approval.

Readings #2:

  1. Textbook: Chapters 4, 5, 6
  2. Handout of Social VR Worlds together with how to sign up and access each world.

Optional: Meetup with instructor in Mozilla Hubs/FrameVR:

Friday, 6/10/22, 10:00am-11:00am Pacific Time AND/OR

Saturday 6/11/22, 10:00am -11:00am Pacific Time


Discussion & Assignment Due Date:

MONDAY, June 13, 2022

Module 3

Method for designing curricula







Assessment Approaches







Example Design







Core Comp J 

Instructional Design - Developing Curricula in Social VR Worlds

Lecture: Design of curricula for VR educational experiences
using the design of a virtual exhibit. Design includes problem statement, proposed solution, target audience. learning objectives, assessment, and description of final VR world. 

Discussion #3 (5 points)

Basis for discussion -- Experience in a VR world not previously visited and discussion of which criteria are met and how.

Assignment #3: (15 points)

Visit one virtual world after readings and video lecture to take
notes on whether the criteria apply in the world visited
and/or what needs to be addressed in order to complete the
criteria.  The following virtual worlds are suggested (Links above):

  1. Mozilla Hubs
  2. FrameVR
  3. Spatial
  4. AltspaceVR
  5. Sinespace
  6. Kitely

Note: Other VR worlds are accepted with instructor approval.

Writing: Pick one experience type (professional development
training, archives or special collection) for curricular development and write up and submit with justification and example learning objects. This is a first draft of the final design document.

Readings #3:

  1. Textbook: Chapters 8 & 9
  2. Howard, S., & Lewin, K. (2018). Virtual reality content for higher education
    curriculum. In VALA2018 Proceedings: 19th Biennial Conference and Exhibition. pp. 1-15. VALA-Libraries, Technology and the Future, Inc. Available here: 
  3. Vans, M. (2016). The story of science during the scientific revolution: Designing an educational exhibit. In Teaching and Learning in Virtual Environments: Archives, Museums, and Libraries, 111-128. Online at King Library.

Optional: Meetup with instructor in Spatial/Altspace:

Friday, 6/17/22, 10:00am-11:00am Pacific Time AND/OR

Saturday 6/18/22, 10:00am -11:00am Pacific Time



Discussion & Writing Assignment Due Date:

MONDAY, June 20, 2022

Module 4

Putting it all together












Reinforcement of major concepts - learning models and criteria











Core Comp H,J

Designing an Educational Experience using criteria for Social
VR Worlds

Lecture: A look at research in VR and the learning process to
identify aspects of the technology and the effect on learning,
understanding the state-of-the-art in VR for education including
what has been done, where more evidence is needed, and
directions for research and development.

Discussion #4 (5 points)

Basis for discussion -- Post about experience of project development/progress. Use discussion to ask questions about the project.

Assignment #4: (15 points)

Writing: Draft of the design project, including approach for each of the identified criteria necessary in the chosen domain and platform. 

Readings #4:

  1. Chavez, B., & Bayona, S. (2018, March). Virtual reality in the learning process. In World Conference on Information Systems and Technologies. pp. 1345-1356. Springer, Cham.
  2. Slater, M., & Sanchez-Vives, M. V. (2016). Enhancing our lives with immersive virtual reality. Frontiers in Robotics and AI, 3, 74. Available here: 
    Sections: (1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 2.2, 2.3, 4, 4.1, 4.2, 4.5, 6, 6.1, 6.2, 6.3, 6.6, 7.2, 8.1, 8.2, 8.3)

AND at least one of:

  1. E Selmanović, E., Rizvic, S., Harvey, C., Boskovic, D., Hulusic, V., Chahin, M., & Sljivo, S. (2020). Improving Accessibility to Intangible Cultural Heritage Preservation using Virtual Reality. Journal on Computing and Cultural Heritage (JOCCH), 13(2), 1-19.
  2. Bekele, M. K., Pierdicca, R., Frontoni, E., Malinverni, E. S., & Gain, J. (2018). A survey of augmented, virtual, and mixed reality for cultural heritage. Journal on Computing and Cultural Heritage (JOCCH), 11(2), 1-36.
  3. Tredinnick, R., Gill, E., Udelhoven, D., & Ponto, K. (2018). Virtual reality as an agent of preservation. In Forum Journal (Vol. 32, No. 1, pp. 22-29). National Trust for Historic Preservation.
  4. Kersten, T. P., Tschirschwitz, F., & Deggim, S. (2017). Development of a virtual museum including a 4D presentation of building history in virtual reality. The International Archives of Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences, 42, 361. Available at Research Gate
  5. Minyaev, I., Pouke, M., Ylipulli, J., & Ojala, T. (2018, November). Implementation of a Virtual Reality Interface for a Public Library. In Proceedings of the 17th International Conference on Mobile and Ubiquitous Multimedia (pp. 513-519).
  6. Cassidy, C. A., Fabola, A. E., Miller, A. H. D., & Oliver, I. A. (2017). A digital museum infrastructure for preserving community collections from climate change. iLRN 2017 Coimbra. Available
  7. Abdelmonem, M. G., Selim, G., Mushatat, S., & Almogren, A. (2017). Virtual platforms for heritage preservation in the Middle East: the case of medieval Cairo. International Journal of Architectural Research: ArchNet-IJAR, 11(3), 28-41. Available

Optional: Meetup with instructor in Sinespace/Kitely:

Friday, 6/24/22, 10:00am-11:00am Pacific Time AND/OR

Saturday 6/25/22, 10:00am -11:00am Pacific Time



Discussion & Writing Assignment Due Date:

Monday, June 27, 2022

Core Comp H,J 


 Final Project (40 points)

Final Project Due:

July 8, 2022


Note: 10% penalty for late work up to one week after the due date, with the exception of the final project. Extra credit can be earned by attending the optional meetups for 2 points each and maximum of 10 points.

Students earn a maximum of 110 points (with 10 points extra credit) which will be converted to a percentage and then to a letter grade based on the iSchool's grading scale. 

Category   Topic(s) Course Learning Objectives Scoring   Maximum Score
 Discussions  Application of the criteria (presented in lecture and handout) to chosen virtual world. CLO 1
 4 @ 5
points each
Field Trip
 Create account and visit one of 6 worlds; determine which criteria are applicable in this world and how. CLO 1  3@5
points each
 First draft of design document focused on developing curricula for specific domain. Includes justification for experience and example learning objects. CLO 2 1 paper 10
Assignment 2
Draft of final project. CLO 1
1 paper 15
 Final Project  Complete design document with all design elements included CLO 2  1 Paper  40
Total       100

Due to the evolving nature of VR, assignments, and readings are subject to change with fair notice.

Other Relevant Information:
Virtual reality is a relatively new technology and many of the popular Social VR Platforms currently run only on PC/Windows-Based systems. If you use MacOS, I have chosen only platforms for this course that will work with MacOS.  I will refer to the most popular platforms that work only on Windows and students are welcome to use those, however, they must get prior approval.

Course Workload Expectations

Success in this course is based on the expectation that students will spend, for each unit of credit, a minimum of forty-five hours over the length of the course (normally 3 hours per unit per week with 1 of the hours used for lecture) for instruction or preparation/studying or course related activities including but not limited to internships, labs, clinical practica. Other course structures will have equivalent workload expectations as described in the syllabus.

Instructional time may include but is not limited to:
Working on posted modules or lessons prepared by the instructor; discussion forum interactions with the instructor and/or other students; making presentations and getting feedback from the instructor; attending office hours or other synchronous sessions with the instructor.

Student time outside of class:
In any seven-day period, a student is expected to be academically engaged through submitting an academic assignment; taking an exam or an interactive tutorial, or computer-assisted instruction; building websites, blogs, databases, social media presentations; attending a study group;contributing to an academic online discussion; writing papers; reading articles; conducting research; engaging in small group work.

Course Prerequisites

MARA 284 - Design in Social Virtual Reality (1 unit) has no prerequisite requirements

Course Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of the course, students will be able to:

  1. Evaluate and apply technical criteria to state-of-the-art learning platforms for digital archives or special collections.
  2. Understand learning models and how they can be applied using novel learning technologies by developing curricula and designing experiences based on learning models applied to archives or special collections.

Core Competencies (Program Learning Outcomes)

MARA 284 supports the following core competencies:

  1. H Describe current information technologies and best practices relating to the preservation, integrity, and security of data, records, and information.
  2. J Describe global perspectives on effective information practices that are supportive of cultural, economic or social well-being..


Required Textbooks:

  • Nelson, B.C., & Erlandson, B.E. (2012). Design for learning in virtual worlds: Interdisciplinary approaches to educational technology. Routledge. Available through Amazon: 0415886406arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain

Grading Scale

The standard SJSU School of Information Grading Scale is utilized for all iSchool courses:

97 to 100 A
94 to 96 A minus
91 to 93 B plus
88 to 90 B
85 to 87 B minus
82 to 84 C plus
79 to 81 C
76 to 78 C minus
73 to 75 D plus
70 to 72 D
67 to 69 D minus
Below 67 F


In order to provide consistent guidelines for assessment for graduate level work in the School, these terms are applied to letter grades:

  • C represents Adequate work; a grade of "C" counts for credit for the course;
  • B represents Good work; a grade of "B" clearly meets the standards for graduate level work or undergraduate (for BS-ISDA);
    For core courses in the MLIS program (not MARA, Informatics, BS-ISDA) — INFO 200, INFO 202, INFO 204 — the iSchool requires that students earn a B in the course. If the grade is less than B (B- or lower) after the first attempt you will be placed on administrative probation. You must repeat the class if you wish to stay in the program. If - on the second attempt - you do not pass the class with a grade of B or better (not B- but B) you will be disqualified.
  • A represents Exceptional work; a grade of "A" will be assigned for outstanding work only.

Graduate Students are advised that it is their responsibility to maintain a 3.0 Grade Point Average (GPA). Undergraduates must maintain a 2.0 Grade Point Average (GPA).

University Policies

Per University Policy S16-9, university-wide policy information relevant to all courses, such as academic integrity, accommodations, etc. will be available on Office of Graduate and Undergraduate Programs' Syllabus Information web page at: Make sure to visit this page, review and be familiar with these university policies and resources.

In order to request an accommodation in a class please contact the Accessible Education Center and register via the MyAEC portal.

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