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On-Line University Physics Course Using Intelligent Virtual-Tutors, Virtual-Reality and Advanced Multimedia

[+] Author Affiliations
Tamer M. Wasfy, Hatem M. Wasfy, Jeanne M. Peters

Advanced Science and Automation Corp., Indianapolis, IN

Paper No. DETC2009-86755, pp. 1557-1570; 14 pages
  • ASME 2009 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference
  • Volume 2: 29th Computers and Information in Engineering Conference, Parts A and B
  • San Diego, California, USA, August 30–September 2, 2009
  • Conference Sponsors: Design Engineering Division and Computers in Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4899-9 | eISBN: 978-0-7918-3856-3
  • Copyright © 2009 by ASME


A web-based self-paced university physics course, called the Virtual Physics Lab (VPL) is described. The VPL delivers both the lecture and lab components of a physics course using interactive virtual-reality simulations, high-end multimedia lectures and 2D/3D mini-games/exercises. The VPL’s interactive simulations are delivered in a video-game-like 3D photo-realistic virtual environment using real-time models to simulate typical physics experiments performed in the lab part of the physics course such as: frictional motion of a block on an inclined plane, vibrations of a mass-spring system and impact of particles. Students can change in real-time the parameters of the experiments and observe the effect on the experiment’s response and measurements. The multimedia lectures are delivered using a multimodal combination of speech and highlighted text delivered by near-photorealistic intelligent animated lip and gesture synched virtual tutors. The multimedia lectures include synchronized interactive 2D/3D animated illustrations and movies. A search engine and a hierarchical expert system allow the virtual tutors to answer natural-language questions and execute natural-language commands given by the student. Exercises in the form of mini-games that use relevant physics principles are used to increase the students’ interest in the material being taught and to test the student’s comprehension. The VPL’s interactivity and visually stimulating instruction will result in faster assimilation, deeper understanding, and higher memory retention by the students than traditional classroom/text-book instruction.

Copyright © 2009 by ASME



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