The Director of Immersive Open Pedagogies (IOP) Program, Dr. Roberto B. Figueroa Jr., embarked on significant visits to universities in the United Kingdom from the 7th to the 19th of June, 2023, aiming to establish potential collaborative projects with key individuals in the field. 

At the beginning of his trip, he visited Dr. Mona Nasser, who was recently appointed as the Director at the Plymouth Institute of Health and Care Research (PIHR), where he participated in a focus group meeting on the use of robots to interact with patients. The demonstrated robot, named “Q”, offers significant advantages by assisting with language/translation and providing insights into dental terminology and jargon. They also discussed opportunities for collaboration between their respective immersive technology laboratories. They also attended an undergraduate exhibit showcasing the capstone projects of students in the creative media, digital media design, and game arts and design departments.

Prof. Mona Nasser of the University of Plymouth with Dr. Roberto Figueroa Jr and Q, the robot.

On June 11, Dr. Figueroa Jr. went to the Leverhulme Research Center for Forensic Science, University of Dundee to meet Mr. Vincenzo Rinaldi and Mr. Sang-hun Yu, the winners of the Herald Higher Education Award in VR and crime scene visualization. During the visit, he introduced the Immersive Open Pedagogies (IOP) Program and explored potential collaboration opportunities, discussing how their projects could be adapted in the Philippines through IOP. Following that, he solicited advice on effectively engaging stakeholders and conducting brainstorming activities associated with designing immersive applications.

Dr. Roberto Figueroa Jr. with Mr. Vincenzo Rinaldi and Mr. Sang-hun Yu of Leverhulme Research Center for Forensic Science.

He also visited the XR Lab at the Advanced Research Center (ARC), University of Glasgow. In his visit, he shared the plans of the IOP Program to establish an Immersive Learning Lab with the hope of forming a partnership with ARC. He also invited Dr. Imants Latkovskis and Dr. Nathan Kirkwood, representatives from ARC and Edify, to participate in the World Immersive Learning Labs Symposium in 2024. Dr. Figueroa grabbed the opportunity to conduct an interview with them regarding how they built and maintained the XR Lab as a benchmarking activity.

Dr. Roberto Figueroa Jr. with Dr. Imants Latkovskis and Dr. Nathan Kirkwood at University of Glasgow.

Finally, he presented a paper at the Research Methodology Conference 2023, which was organized by The London Institute of Social Studies, Coventry University, and Birkbeck University of London. His research presentation was titled “ Collaborative Online International Learning: Stories from the Metaverse” which is one of the international collaborative initiatives by the Immersive Open Pedagogies Program.

Dr. Roberto Figueroa Jr. presenting his paper “Collaborative Online International Learning: Stories from the Metaverse” at the Research Methodology Conference 2023.

Dr. Figueroa’s visit to the UK proved to be a productive endeavor, facilitating knowledge exchange, encouraging potential collaborations, and paving the way for the implementation of immersive open pedagogies and practices with IOP.

Written by Hannah Gabriella Macaldo

Edited by Dr. Roberto B. Figueroa, Jr. and Joshze Rica Esguerra

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