Staff profiles

Project lead
Dr Katie Meehan
Research Academic
Biomedical Sciences
Health and Medical Sciences
Team members
Dr Michael Ovens

Project outline

Cancer is a complex disease that many of us fear and don’t really understand. Due to this complexity, many students struggle with the depth of learning required. This pilot project will develop virtual reality (VR) learning activities (virities) that will explore a range of topics associated with cancer to enhance students understanding and overall learning experience.

The first virity will explore the development of cancerous cells from exposure through to progression of disease; the second will investigate the involvement of the immune system in the prevention of cancer prior to metastasis; the third will simulate the metastatic spread of cancer; and the fourth will explore the diagnosis and treatment of cancers. Each module will be designed collaboratively by Katie Meehan and Michael Ovens and will be primarily for the HTC Vive virtual reality platform, but will include mobile VR versions for at-home student learning. In-built choices and questions will provide students the opportunity to customise their learning experience and promote active learning.

All virities will be designed as small group activities with one student ‘inside’ the experience and 2-3 others monitoring and guiding their progress. All screen-captured recordings will be made available to students via LMS Blackboard. The project will undertake a detailed evaluation of the efficacy of the concept of virities in order to facilitate their future use and integration. By providing students with fun, experiential, and autonomous opportunities to learn, this project seeks to further UWA’s goal of promoting emerging technologies and their adaption and application for higher education classrooms. This novel learning mode will also require, and therefore drive new classroom designs at UWA.

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