A mixed-reality pedagogical innovation in the reality of a new normal

Victoria G. Bennett, Casper Harteveld, Yevgeniya V. Zastavker, Tarek Abdoun, Mohsen Hossein, Mehdi Omidvar, Kejun Wen, Xenia Wirth

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


All of us will never forget the year 2020. Those of us in higher education will perhaps reflect on the Spring 2020 semester as a turning point in our approach to education. To prepare higher education for future crises and to create a more buoyant, elastic, and resilient educational paradigm, it is imperative that we learn, right now, from the COVID-19 crisis. This is of particular importance for engineering education, which relies on experiential pedagogical practices that are incongruent with online learning environments. Since 2014, a multi-institutional interdisciplinary team has been addressing improvements to engineering education through mixed reality gaming, an educational model that integrates traditional classroom experiences (e.g., lectures, laboratory work) with virtual activities (e.g., game-based learning). We posit that a mixed reality gaming educational model may help mitigate the impact COVID-19-like crises. Herein, we reflect on implementations of a mixed-reality gaming activity in an introductory geotechnical engineering course on five campuses during the pivot to remote learning, which will be remembered as the hallmark of the Spring 2020 semester. Ultimately, the data gathered from these implementations will be used to study the effectiveness of mixed reality gaming on student learning outcomes (specifically, the ways in which student and instructor motivation shape and are shaped by this educational model) to understand (1) the role of mixed reality gaming; and (2) instructors' and students' motivational shifts during such crises.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)170-178
Number of pages9
JournalGeotechnical Special Publication
Issue numberGSP 325
StatePublished - 2021
Event2021 International Foundations Congress and Equipment Expo: From Traditional to Emerging Geotechnics, IFCEE 2021 - Dallas, United States
Duration: May 10 2021May 14 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Architecture
  • Building and Construction
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology


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