AudienceMR is designed as a multi-user mixed reality space that seamlessly extends the local user space to become a large, shared classroom where some of the audience members are seen seated in a real space, and more members are seen through an extended portal. AudienceMR can provide a sense of the presence of a large-scale crowd/audience with the associated spatial context. In contrast to virtual reality (VR), however, with mixed reality (MR), a lecturer can deliver content or conduct a performance from a real, actual, comfortable, and familiar local space, while interacting directly with real nearby objects, such as a desk, podium, educational props, instruments, and office materials. Such a design will elicit a realistic user experience closer to an actual classroom, which is currently prohibitive owing to the COVID-19 pandemic. This paper validated our hypothesis by conducting a comparative experiment assessing the lecturer’s experience with two independent variables: (1) an online classroom platform type, i.e., a 2D desktop video teleconference, a 2D video screen grid in VR, 3D VR, and AudienceMR, and (2) a student depiction, i.e., a 2D upper-body video screen and a 3D full-body avatar. Our experiment validated that AudienceMR exhibits a level of anxiety and fear of public speaking closer to that of a real classroom situation, and a higher social and spatial presence than 2D video grid-based solutions and even 3D VR. Compared to 3D VR, AudienceMR offers a more natural and easily usable real object-based interaction. Most subjects preferred AudienceMR over the alternatives despite the nuisance of having to wear a video see-through headset. Such qualities will result in information conveyance and an educational efficacy comparable to those of a real classroom, and better than those achieved through popular 2D desktop teleconferencing or immersive 3D VR solutions.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Funding: This research was supported by the IITP/MSIT of Korea under the ITRC supportprogram (IITP-2021-2016-0-00312).
© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.
- Augmented reality
- Human-computer interaction
- Mixed reality
- Public speaking
- Social presence
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- General Materials Science
- General Engineering
- Process Chemistry and Technology
- Computer Science Applications
- Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes