A Study on Collaborative Design in a Virtual Environment

By Jason S. Breland and Mohd Fairuz Shiratuddin.

Published by The Learner Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

A Collaborative Virtual Environment (CVE) extends a standalone Virtual Environment to include real-time collaboration, interaction and sharing of the same virtual space among users across the network. A CVE presents a positive learning environment for students where they can learn to work collaboratively. Architectural students could benefit from the use of a CVE because it provides the opportunity for them to work interactively in a virtual workplace, and collaborate directly on a design project.
In this study, we utilize a 3D game engine to develop a CVE prototype software application; the Collaborative World Design Tool (CWDT). The CWDT software application allows for real-time collaboration and interaction among multiple users across the network. The CWDT is customized to support architectural design activities in a CVE. An automated data logging system is also developed to record activities during collaborative design sessions.
We conducted an experiment with architectural students as the subjects, to determine the effects of working collaboratively within a CVE, as opposed to working individually in a standalone VE. The results and observations obtained suggest the benefits of working collaboratively within a CVE outweighed working individually in a standalone VE. Our findings indicate that collaboration within a CVE has great potential to increase the productivity at which designs are assembled, reduce the number of errors in design, provides a constructive learning environment, reduces the overall stress levels, and increases positive thinking and a group mindset for subjects. These findings also have allowed us to identify areas of focus for future research.

Keywords: 3D Game Engine, Architecture, Collaborative, Design, Virtual Environment

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 16, Issue 3, pp.385-398. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.611MB).

Jason S. Breland

Graduate Research Assistant, School of Construction, The University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, MS, USA

Mr. Jason S. Breland is a graduate research assistant. He is currently pursuing a MS in Engineering Technology in Architecture and Construction Visualization at the School of Construction at the University of Southern Mississippi, under the guidance of Dr. Shiratuddin.

Dr Mohd Fairuz Shiratuddin

Assistant Professor, School of Construction, The University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, MS, USA

Dr. Mohd Fairuz Shiratuddin is an Assistant Professor at the School of Construction at the University of Southern Mississippi. He holds a B.Eng in Electrical and Electronics from Northumbria University, UK, a MS in Information Technology (Virtual Reality) from University Utara, Malaysia, a MS in Architecture (Construction Management) from Virginia Tech, USA, and a Ph.D. in Environmental Design and Planning also from Virginia Tech. He is active in research and has established the Animation and Visualization Research Lab (AVRL) at the School of Construction, at Southern Miss. He is also the program coordinator for the MS in Engineering Technology in Architecture & Construction Visualization. His areas of research are Virtual Reality, 3D Game Engine, Serious Games and Information Technology; for education, design, construction, and entertainment. He teaches the Virtual Reality Applications I & II, Animation & 3D Modeling Applications I & II, Building Information Modeling (BIM), Computer Aided Design & Drafting (CADD), Electrical Systems, and Mechanical Systems courses at the School of Construction. His areas of research are Virtual Reality, 3D Game Engine, Serious Games and Information Technology. Dr. Shiratuddin has numerous publications in national and international conference proceedings, journals, book, book chapters and reports, particularly in the areas of Virtual Reality and 3D Game Engine.

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