MAVR Presence at PanSIG2017

In our presentation at PanSIG2017, Eric, Mehrasa and I showed some examples of Augmented Reality (AR) use in education, tourism, and event organizing (e.g., TEDxKyoto). We also introduced several student projects that use AR (e.g., Fukuchiyama AR Quiz Rally).


Slides: PanSIG2017: Augmented Reality Design Principles for Informal Learning

In our interactive poster presentation, titled “MAVR (Mixed Augmented Virtual Realities): The Future or a Fad?”, we first defined Mixed, Augmented, and Virtual Realities (MAVR) based on the reality-virtuality continuum. We also discussed the significance of MAVR, its merits and challenges, and the contribution it can make to education. Following that, we talked about the integration of MAVR in language teaching and learning. We then demonstrated some Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) applications, such as Aurasma, Blippar, Google Expeditions, and we also introduced a number of resources on the integration of MAVR in English language education; for example, Paul Driver’s learner-generated AR realia and AR Flashcards.


Finally, we introduced our forming Special Interest Group, Mixed, Augmented, and Virtual Realities in Learning.


Poster: PanSIG2017: MAVR (Mixed Augmented Virtual Realities): The Future or a Fad?

MAVR Presence at ACTC2017

MAVR team had three demos at the Asian Conference on Technology in the Classroom 2017 (ACTC2017) in Kobe, Japan.

MAVR at ACTC2017

  1. MAVR (Mixed Augmented Virtual Realities): The Future or a Fad?
  2. Augmented Reality Design Principles for Informal Learning
  3. Mixed Reality Gaming Session

In our interactive poster presentation and technology-enhanced learning session, Eric, Mehrasa, Erin, and I showcased some Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) applications, such as Aurasma, Blippar, Google Expeditions, and we also introduced a number of resources on the integration of MAVR in English language education; for example, Paul Driver’s learner-generated AR realia. Moreover, we discussed a variety of case uses of AR in informal learning environments (e.g., TEDxKyoto, refer to ARientation Project YouTube channel for more examples).



In our mixed reality gaming session, the audience worked in group to solve a series of puzzles and adventures using virtual (Google Cardboard) and augmented reality (Blippar) technologies in an augmented reality enhanced learning environment. We first introduced Fukuchiyama AR Rally 2017 as one of the case uses, and then the audience went through some of its steps to accomplish the mission.



You can join the MAVR Facebook group to watch a video of MAVR team’s activities at ACTC2017, created by Eric.

Fukuchiyama AR Rally 2017 Vocab Quiz


ARientation (Orientation via Augmented Reality) is the name of a project created and managed by Eric Hawkinson which is meant to make Augmented Reality (AR) accessible to teachers, event organizers, and anyone looking to integrate digital content into real world activities. Fukuchiyama AR Rally is part of ARientation aiming at orienting freshmen at the University of Fukuchiyama to living in the city and adjusting to college life. A series of augmented and virtual reality activities is designed, and the participants visit different locations around the city, such as Fukuchiyama Flood Control Museum, Citizen Plaza, and Fukuchiyama Disaster Prevention Center, to get oriented to the new context and learn English in informal learning environments.

Fukuchiyama AR Rally 2017 was held on Friday, April 7th in collaboration with Mixed, Augmented, and Virtual Realities in Learning (MAVR) SIG.

Eric, Mehrasa, and I created an AR-based Vocab Quiz for the Fukuchiyama Castle location. A game-based approach was adopted by using AR cards. Opportunities for the incidental learning of vocabulary were provided.

The scenario of Fukuchiyama AR Rally 2017 Vocab Quiz is as follows:

  1. Based on an English text about the Fukuchiyama Castle, we selected 10 words falling in B2-C1 levels of the CEFR, and designed a pre and a post vocab quiz.
  2. AR technology (Blippar) was used to create AR-loaded cards to explain the game, expose the students to the information about the Fukuchiyama Castle in English, and provide the definition and pronunciation of the targeted words.
  3. A game was designed by adding some secret codes to the AR cards, which the students would later need to unlock a box. There were mission accomplished signs in the box.
  4. Some photos were taken from the castle to design the game, and the AR cards were placed there one day before the Rally.


  1. In the entrance of the castle, an AR card played the mission briefing.

Castle Mission Briefing:

  1. The students took the pre-quiz.
  2. The students got exposed to the text through watching a video loaded on an AR card. The words were emphasized in bold.

Castle Text Reading:

  1. The students got into the castle, and started exploring the castle to find the 10 AR vocab cards which contained the definition and pronunciation of the words and the secret codes needed to open the box, as said earlier.

Sample AR Vocab Card:


  1. The students took the post-quiz.
  2. The students were shown the last card with the lock cipher to accomplish the mission.
  3. After completing the mission, the students took a group photo.


Fukuchiyama AR Rally 2017 Vocab Quiz was held in four rounds with four groups of ten students each.

Here is a video of the Fukuchiyama Castle AR activity:

Written with Mehrasa


Buggy Blackboard


Osaka University has been using the Blackboard Learn™ platform since 2005, which is known as CLE (Collaboration and Learning Environment). I used to be a Moodler, and I personally prefer Moodle, because Blackboard often gets buggy, which makes the process of online course design extremely slow! That is why many universities are switching to Moodle such as Montana State University, California State University, and Long Beach (Blackboard Learn: Criticism).

Here is the list of major bugs I struggled with during the development phase of the online course, named Osaka University Global English Online (OUGEO):

  1. Formatting glitches (e.g., extra spaces were added erroneously to the text, font got changed after uploading)
  2. Unresponsiveness of Bb Student and Blackboard Mobile Learn apps (e.g., large images and some fonts were not shown properly on the apps)
  3. Errors in the process of making tests and assignments


Moreover, no spell/grammar checker is available on Blackboard. This can cause serious problems in the design, development, and delivery phases of an online course, especially an English course.

Does It Really Take Longer to Create an Online English Course?


Based on my personal experience, the answer is a big yes, especially if you are offering your English course at different levels. The reason is that you have to label a large number of folders for each week and level, and then you get easily confused about what to put where! It also takes longer to create your online course if the learning management system (LMS) that you are using is buggy, which makes the process of uploading painstakingly longer.

Designing an online course takes a substantial investment of time; therefore, time management is a critical component in creating an online course. That is why collaboration is the cornerstone of online course design, as many hands make the load light. Once everything is in place online, the rest of the work becomes just a little easier! 😉

Online Learning Readiness

Are You Ready

Before the start of an online course, an online needs and skills assessment survey (ONSAS), also known as e-readiness survey, should be completed by the prospective students to ensure that they are ready to take the online course, and decide whether learner training sessions are necessary or not.

My co-authors and I (2017) recently used an adapted version of the Technology Survey, developed by Winke and Goertler (2008) to assess Japanese learners’ perceived e-readiness for learning English online prior to implementing our prospective online EGAP (English for General Academic Purposes) course, titled Osaka University Global English Online (OUGEO).

Readiness for online learning can also be measured by SmarterMeasure (formerly READI) which is a web-based tool that assesses learners’ preparedness for succeeding in an online or blended course. You can explore it here, and then try to convince your institution to subscribe!

You can also explore “Student Readiness for Online Learning” bookmark collection on MERLOT.

Some Suggestions on Conducting a Needs Analysis for an Online English Course


Photo credit:

What teachers do online is actually similar to what they do “on the ground” (Ko & Rossen, 2010, p. 12). That is why the first and most important step for designing an effective online course is conducting a needs analysis.

Here is a to-do list for doing an English needs analysis, along with a few suggestions based on a needs analysis that I have done recently:

  1. Choose a needs analysis approach (e.g., Target Situation Analysis (TSA), Present Situation Analysis (PSA), Pedagogic Needs Analysis (PNA), Discourse Analysis, Genre Analysis)
  2. Choose a needs analysis method (e.g., questionnaire, interview, observation, diaries, journals, logs). Try to choose/design a short questionnaire or adapt long ones such as Gravatt, Richards, and Lewis (1997) to make the analysis process easier.
  1. Triangulate the data (i.e., collect data from more than one source using different methods).
  1. Read the whole recent book by Brown (2016), titled Introducing Needs Analysis and English for Specific Purposes, before starting your needs analysis (as suggested by Brown himself in the preface). This book is an up-to-date, step-by-step guide to doing the recursive, holistic process of needs analysis.


*Aloha, in this very context, means: I don’t live in Hawaii, and you might 😉