Extended Reality (XR) Systems that Mediate Collaborative Interaction


The students are introduced to the taxonomy for synchronous collaborative interaction in social extended reality (XR) environments. This includes understanding the main components for designing XR platforms that mediate collaboration. Opportunities and challenges of current virtual systems in mediating collaborative interaction are presented for future design considerations.
In the exercise, students are expected to work in both individually and groups (max. 4 people in one group) and envision a future case scenario for multiple people collaborating in a social Extended Reality platform, create personas, ideate possible requirements for plausible design features to be implemented in the technology.

Learning Outcomes

On completing this module the students should be able to:

  • identify different components of designing XR systems that mediate collaboration,
  • describe relevant mediating features for designing and evaluating XR systems for collaboration,
  • critically reflect on the opportunities and challenges of the XR systems that mediate collaboration,
  • create a future scenario for possible collaborative interaction possibilities and requirements.

Teacher Guidance

This teaching activity consists of two main components, a lecture and an accompanying exercise. The expected length of the lecture is 60-90 minutes. The exercise can be given varying amount of time, but a couple of hours is recommended giving a total duration of about 3 hours.

  1. In the lecture, the teacher introduces the students XR systems that mediate collaborative interaction and explains key concepts and principles as well as its current and future opportunities and challenges (90 min).
  2. Students work individually to analyze the mediating features that an existing social VR platform currently offers (10 min).
  3. Students share and discuss their thoughts and analysis with other peers. They select, categorize and map out the features on a shared board (5 min).
  4. The students work individually on a design fiction brief, create a world building activity to ideate future possibilities and challenges and improve collaborative interaction in XR by bringing plausible design solutions (45 min).
  5. Students share their scenarios. The tutor chairs a class discussion, asking for reflections on the student output (30 min).

The duration of the exercise can be adjusted depending on the purpose of the course and the number of students in the class.

Recommended Readings

  • Schäfer, A., Reis, G., & Stricker, D. (2022). A Survey on Synchronous Augmented, Virtual, and Mixed Reality Remote Collaboration Systems. ACM Computing Surveys55(6), 1-27. https://doi.org/10.1145/3533376
  • Barrett Ens, Joel Lanir, Anthony Tang, Scott Bateman, Gun Lee, Thammathip Piumsomboon, and Mark Billinghurst. 2019. Revisiting collaboration through mixed reality: The evolution of groupware. International Journal of Human-Computer Studies 131 (2019), 81-98. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijhcs.2019.05.011




Extended Reality, brief history of XR systems for collaboration, key concepts and components, opportunities and challenges of remote & synchronous collaboration, future directions for design.


Design and engineering in higher education


Online, face-to-face, or hybrid


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