MOOCs: Bridging The Skills Gap in the AR/VR Industry with Zi Siang See

For this month’s Educator Profile, we sat down with former creative director-turned-educator Zi Siang See from the University of Newcastle to learn more about his course creation experiences. 


Tell us a little bit about your transition from industry to academia.

I used to be a creative director in several companies including McDonalds and AirAsia, producing advertisement content. So, when I had the privilege to join a university, I worked on courses related to interactive design, multimedia photography and creative advertising.

When I was still in the industry, one of the difficulties we faced was that there was a lack of standardisation in augmented and virtual reality — simply because it has not been covered in many of the conventional syllabuses.

So when we put together this MOOC, we summarised some of the key knowledge that has been acquired from the industry in terms of producing basic AR, and best practices based on research.

More industry professionals should become a part of the MOOC community, too — they’ll be able to exchange new knowledge, get refreshed on what is current, and provide guidance for existing students.


What would you tell other educators out there who are thinking of going online for the first time?

It’s time to change.

Augmented and Virtual reality has been around in the classroom environment for years, and now, everyone has at least one smart device or more. The question is, are we up for the challenge to pick it up from the technical, learning and adapting point of view?

In our case, we have been quite privileged to receive support from the OpenLearning team. But for those who are creating MOOCs independently, my advice is to see it not just as a platform for distributing knowledge but as a platform to discover new ideas; to meet new people; in other words, a social learning mechanism.


How did you adjust your teaching to suit an online space?

Conventionally, in a university environment, we could probably have lectures and tutorials. But in MOOCs, we want the students to be able to acquire the skills, knowledge and preparedness for the real industry.

One of the key softwares that we have been using is called Unity. Unity is a digital authoring platform that allows us to put multimedia stuff together including 3D, motion timelines, gamification and augmented or virtual reality.

We modified some of the activities to enhance it with augmented and virtual reality, in the hopes that that student will be able to do the conventional course, but with a little bit of new knowledge.


Who would you encourage to enrol and learn from this course?

I would like to learn from everyone. It's not only for the learners or for the students, it’s for ourselves as well.

When we put our MOOC together, what we found is that we discovered new knowledge from others.  And of course, when we discovered such new things along the way, it helped us to realise that it’s a good platform for us to exchange knowledge.

So, we hope that more industry professionals could be part of our MOOC community as well — they could exchange new knowledge; they could have a refresh of what is current; and maybe even provide some guidelines to existing students!


Zi Siang See is an Interaction Designer who conducts academic research and industrial work. His online course, AR VR The Promise of Sci-Fi can be found on 

The Educator Profile series is a collection of stories, tips and reflections from trailblazers who are using technology to enhance their students' learning experiences. Have a story to share? Get in touch with us by clicking the button below:


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