A May 2004 graduate of UMR led a team of UMR researchers who will receive an E-Learn 2004 Outstanding Paper Award from the Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education during the World Conference on E-Learning in Corporate, Government, Healthcare and Higher Education to be held Nov. 1-5 in Washington, D.C.
The paper is one of 13 receiving an award out of more than 800 submitted to the conference.
Lawrence Wilfred, now working for Rapidigm, a business information company, in Sacramento, Calif., received his master’s degree in May — the first to graduate with a thesis from UMR’s School of Management and Information Systems. The paper that is receiving this award was based on his thesis.
The paper, "Training in Affectively Intense Virtual Environments," examines the impact that virtual reality training environments have on learning within highly emotional contexts. Participants in the study completed a virtual reality training scenario in which emergency personnel had to locate victims of a terrorist attack in a variety of virtual environments. Wilfred’s results show that those who used an emotionally intense training program performed better in a "live" environment than those who were trained in an emotionally neutral environment.
"Lawrence came up with an elegant and very creative research methodology for examining virtual reality as a tool for this type of training," says Dr. Richard Hall, professor of information science and technology and advisor for Wilfred’s thesis.
Other UMR collaborators on the paper included Hall; Dr. Michael G. Hilgers, associate professor of computer science; Dr. Ming C. Leu, the Keith and Pat Bailey Missouri Distinguished Professor of integrated product design and manufacturing; Dr. Madhu Reddy, assistant professor of information science and technology; Dr. Sanjeev Agarwal, research assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering; Alex Berry, a graduate student in computer science; John Hortenstine a graduate student in computer science; and Christopher Walker a graduate student in computer science.
Wilfred’s paper and research was a part of a larger project called First Responder Simulation and Training Environment (FIRSTE), directed by Leu, who is also director of UMR’s Intelligent Systems Center. The project is funded by the U.S. Army’s Tank Automotive and Armament Command (TACOM).