Accelerate will be creating a new prototype platform for accessible immersive teaching in art and design that aims to democratise XR technology rather than limit it to those with the best equipment and the fastest connections.

The collaborative development of this immersive ecosystem, with University of the Arts, London leading on the software design, will be open-source, scalable and sustainable, and will act as a gateway for art and design lecturers and students with little or no previous experience of XR technologies. 

The immersive ecosystem will be informed by a considered evaluation of the impact of COVID-19 on art and design teaching at the partner universities, led by SWPS University of Social Sciences and Humanities.

The co-drafting of a methodological guide, led by Bath Spa University, and the co-designing of a standalone online training course aimed at lecturers, led by Dún Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology, Ireland, will be populated by teaching materials, including co-created case studies, that will draw on the shared expertise and perspectives of the project partners, including the two Ukrainian partners: Sumy State University and Chernivtsi National University.

In addition, the project will be supported by a cohort of forty Accessible Learning Student Ambassadors from across the partners.

By engaging with the layered complexities of XR accessibility and immersive learning, ACCELERATE has the capacity to be genuinely pioneering in its pedagogical and technological outcomes and to find new ways of engaging with art and design students from disadvantaged and underrepresented groups.

All of the intellectual outputs will be shared publicly and the immersive ecosystem and case studies will be maintained well beyond the end of the project, allowing lecturers and students from across Europe and beyond to experience the benefits of immersive learning. It will also be a useful resource for XR developers to use, enhance, and extend the immersive ecosystem itself.

The diagnostic report provides a detailed qualitative and quantitive assessment of the impact of COVID-19 on the undergraduate teaching of art, design, and related practice-based subjects during 2020-21, identifying the ways in the enforced shift to online/blended learning diminished and/or enhanced individual experience of teaching and learning; it also gathers examples of good practice from across the partners.

The diagnostic report sought responses from art and design lecturers, technical staff, and undergraduate students at the five art and design partners (i.e. BSU, UAL, IADT, SWPS, and CHNU). The diversity of partner institutions in terms of size, location, character, facilities, and subject-focus will allow for a broader set of responses. Particular attention will be paid to the student learning experience, especially for students with different personal, physical, cognitive, and social characteristics. The student questionnaire will ask respondents to self-declare their gender, ethnicity, race, sexuality, and physical, sensory, and cognitive functional diversity; it will also identify their preferred learning styles. In addition, each partner will convene a student focus group for structured discussion.

The report is anticipated to be one of the first surveys of the experience of art and design teaching during 2020/21. Its diagnostic role in the project also means that it will likely differ from similar surveys in that it will seek to assess what, in light of the 2020/21 experience, students, lecturers, and technical staff in art and design see as core to the learning and teaching of their respective subjects whether in in-person, blended, or online form.

Diagnostic Report (PDF)

Diagnostic Report Presentation

Diagnostic Report Presentation Slides (PDF)

Overview for ALSAs (PDF)

ALSA Focus Group Questions (PDF)

ACCELERATE Questionnaire Students – English (PDF)

ACCELERATE Questionnaire Staff – English (PDF)

The methodological guide aims to create a set of new pedagogical models and frameworks for the successful development of accessible immersive learning approaches and practices by capturing the perspectives, experience, and expertise of the art and design lecturers, educational specialists, and learning technologists involved in the ACCELERATE project. The guide will reflect the multi-disciplinary and multi-perspective of the project participants but will be a collaborative production, being directly informed by the project’s meetings, the focused training activities, and the intellectual outputs.

The Methodological Guide is a key resource for motivating and supporting anyone with an interest in engaging with the possibilities offered by accessible immersive teaching and learning. To enable you to find relevant information, we have designed a project website with structured pathways for you to explore your interests. Content is available under relevant headings with access via multiple routes.

To navigate, please click on the headings that interest you, or use the search box. 

The structure of the guide allows for both sustained engagement with its content and more targeted consultation. It includes presentations, documents, embedded illustrations, videos, and external links, Resources are downloadable, reproducible, and accessible on different devices (computer, mobile phone, and tablets).

Who is the Target Audience?

  • Art and Design lecturers with no prior experience of developing immersive learning experiences.
  • Art and Design lecturers seeking to improve their online teaching.
  • Art and Design lecturers planning to revise their courses or programmes to incorporate online/blended learning approaches.
  • Learning technologists, CPD trainers, technical demonstrators, and technicians who need to support art and design lecturers in developing accessible immersive learning approaches.
  • Researchers in XR technologies interested in learning how these technologies might be used in teaching and learning.
  • Art and Design Students
  • Anyone interested in Accessibility.

Methodological Guide

In addition to the methodological guide (IO2), the online training course, entitled ‘Accessible immersive teaching’, will be a key resource for facilitating and supporting pedagogical engagement with immersive technologies. In this respect, it responds to the same needs identified in IO2: art and design lecturers with limited experience in delivering online learning and an often instrumental approach to developing online pedagogies, and who are struggling with the challenges of delivering a practice-based subject in an online environment; and a lack of existing training resources focused on accessible online learning and immersive technologies.

Target groups include:

  • art and design lecturers with no prior experience of immersive technologies or seeking to improve their online teaching
  • other pratice-based lecturers interested in incorporating immersive technology into their teaching
  • learning technologists, CPD trainers, technical demonstrators, and technicians who need to support art and design lecturers in developing accessible immersive learning approaches

Online Course

The Immersive Ecosystem will creating a new prototype open-source XR platform built on a uniform open access standard that will support the development of accessible immersive learning experiences for the broadest range of users possible. It will focus on delivering effective, scalable, and sustainable ‘immersive web’ interactions rather than high-end fully immersive experiences in order to maximise user-engagement and inclusivity. It will facilitate synchronous and asynchronous immersive learning experiences on limited bandwidths or mobile devices. Ultimately, it will provide an accessible, robust, and creative space for lecturers and students to explore the opportunities of immersive technology in supporting the teaching of art and design.

Initial versions of the Immersive Ecosystem will also be used as a space for collaborative planning between the partners and in the ‘Immersive Technologies’ and ‘Immersive Pedagogies’ training activities.

Target Groups include

  • Lecturers in art and design and other practice-based creative subjects with little if any experience of immersive technologies
  •  Undergraduates at the partner institutions (including the Accessible Learning Student Ambassadors) who will be involved in the testing and evaluation
  • Undergraduates at other universities who will use the Immersive Ecosystem as part of their learning
  • Creative technologists
  • XR developers

To visit the current version of the Immersive Ecosystem, please use the links below:

Accelerate – Immersive Ecosystem GitHub

Accelerate GitHub Wiki

ACCELERATE’s outputs also include Art and Design Case Studies that will demonstrate the potential value of accessible immersive learning for art and design. These case studies represent the culmination of the project as they will build directly on the pedagogical needs analysis (IO1), a methodological framework (IO2), training (IO3), and the prototype platform (IO4). Without them, ACCELERATE will be unable to demonstrate effectively what it is attempting to achieve. The case studies will be hosted within the Immersive Ecosystem (and so will be web-accessible) and will feature in the Methodological Guide.

Each case study will involve a collaborative pairing between two partners that teach the same or an allied subject (e.g. metalwork, woodwork, textiles/fashion, production design). The mix of subjects and specific scope of each case study will be determined by the partners in order to address the most important pedagogical challenges and needs identified in the responses to the Diagnostic Survey. Collectively, the case studies will engage with key aspects of practice-based creative arts such as skill development, material knowledge, object manipulation, and creative collaboration. Development of the case studies will be integrated into the ‘Immersive Technologies’ and ‘Immersive Pedagogies’ training activities, and they will be made available for beta-testing during the Implementation stage of the project.

The development and testing of the case studies will involve lecturers and students (including the ‘Accessible Learning Student Ambassadors’) The diversity of partners brings distinctive institutional contexts and approaches, meaning that similar or allied subjects will be taught in different ways. The case studies will therefore provided opportunities within the immersive ecosystem for lecturers and students at different partners to share perspectives and practices, and learn from one another.

Case Studies