Fridolin Wild presented the new ACM model AR curriculum proposal as part of the AR Education Global Webinar organised by CodeReality on December 7. The webinar was introduced by a keynote about “Augmented Reality Education” by Mark Billinghurst, Director of the Emphatic Computing Lab of the University of South Australia and University of Auckland/NZ. Then followed a panel discussion on “Perspectives on AR Education”, bringing together Mark, Sumathi Subramaniam (European Commission), Avgoustos Tsinakos (International Hellenic University, Greece), Ferhan Ozkan (XR Bootcamp and VR First), Manuela Chessa (University of Genoa, Italy), Marius Preda (Institut Mines-Télécom, France), Matthieu Poyade (Glasgow School of Art, UK), Fridolin Wild (Open University), and Ralf Klamma (RWTH Aachen, Germany).

The open event provided latest updates on Augmented Reality education, i.e., learning the skills to develop AR applications. Fridolin presented two key results of a three years-long project one the development of open educational resources on the topic of AR, namely the recommendation of a curricular working group in the ACM (as part of ITiCSE) and an overview on the OER produced by the project.

Augmented Reality is a rapidly growing field in ICT, drawing increasing numbers of professionals. Higher education institutions, however, are struggling to keep abreast of its development and to train specialists, providing few courses which sufficiently align with the industry needs. In addition to this, the field is developing so rapidly that existing courses struggle to keep pace. Also, the courses available often focus too narrowly on specifics to allow for the building of the formative foundations of AR education. As part of an expert commission, Fridolin helped to address this need by proposing a blueprint curriculum in Computer Science Education for teaching AR in universities at two levels, foundations and advanced. The recommendation first surveyed the state of the art, identifying common needs and problems in existing courses which focus on AR. It then detailed a skills framework of 12 groups of skills suitable to meet industry and research needs, and, build upon it, two model lesson plans for a foundation and an advanced course. The recommendation concluded with a discussion of assessment techniques and curricular design options of embedding such coursework into existing academic programs and a forecast of the future of this academic field.

The AR Foundations course presents an introduction to AR, with emphasis on designing and developing AR apps. The course starts with a comprehensive introduction to the field, covering also its history. The course then introduces the state of the art of hardware and software, with practical try-out possibilities of Smart Glasses, interactive clothing, and other futuristic technology. The course covers all necessary material about Spatial Computing, HCI, Perception, Design Thinking, and Application Development. Insights into specialist application areas and job perspectives help sharpen the students’ skills set.

The AR Advanced course follows the software development cycle from inception, to implementation, to validation. It adds design thinking and UX guidelines, as well as advanced storytelling, teach creative tools and methods for outlining and substantiating the AR application idea. The implementation-focused technologies advance from the foundational course to cover spatial understanding (on top of spatial mapping), abstraction for cross-platform/multi-user/multi-device support, AI dialog understanding, openCV foundations, wearable technology and making things talk, and volumetric video capture. Finally, evaluating AR introduces the methodologies available for verifying and validating applications.

Additionally, the event featured a comprehensive introduction to the Open Textbook produced.The goal of this book project is to create the first comprehensive Open Educational Resource (OER) as a foundation for AR curricula in Higher Education. The book covers the necessary prerequisites to understand and follow the core concepts of teaching Augmented Reality. It has a section for advanced topics that can be covered in curricula. A section of the book is dedicated to a collection of good practices in teaching AR coding. Every book about high tech risks being outdated already when going into print, so we are planning for a continuously developed and updated online book, working with an open community of contributors, Open Source style. The book project follows an agile approach differing from the classic development process typical for printed content. Contributors can play several different roles in the production process. Contributors on all levels are cordially invited to join the book project.