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Immersive Authentic Assessment

In October 2022, to align with the goals of the Authentic Assessment project being undertaken across the University of South Australia, the STEM Executive team allocated funds for an Immersive Authentic Assessment initiative. This project partnered course coordinators with the Project LIVE development team to produce an immersive experience that authentically replicated a physical site visit or activity and allowed students to explore this on demand.


The goal was to enhance the real-world learning opportunities for students by providing a way to experience laboratory or field sites that are logistically complex to visit, have limited availability or are otherwise inaccessible. The resulting activities encourage self-directed rather than teacher-directed learning, and better cater for student diversity, access and inclusion by offering flexible learning for those who are usually unable to participate due to disabilities, illness or other factors.


Eight projects in five disciplines were approved for development, encompassing a broad range of themes, locations and applications of experiential learning – from an immersive coral reef dive to a virtual flight deck experience, and from an active construction site to an operational data centre. 


Check out the project summaries below and follow the links to the completed projects to explore the immersive authentic assessments yourself!

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Coastal Environments
BIOL 4001

Environmental Science

Project Lead:

Associate Professor Craig Styan

Future professionals in Environmental Science need a thorough understanding of concepts such as statistical power and how to design surveys. This project features 360 footage shot by Associate Professor Craig Styan of coral reefs off Cairns to showcase how coral surveys are done and the optimisation of an environmental survey.


The immersive assessment uses this footage to allow students to collect data and then apply hierarchical statistical analysis and cost-optimisation calculations in the context of coral reef ecosystems.


View a video summary of the coral reef virtual dive below!

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Large Aircraft Operations
AERO 3020


Project Leads:

Dylan Dowd & Daniel Kwek

Students undertaking the Large Aircraft Flight Operations course need to be familiar with the layout and location of instruments in the aircraft cockpit. Given the high demand on such cockpits in the UniSA Flight Simulator, students rely on self-study sessions to become familiar with switch locations, functions and operating procedures in their own time, to improve the execution of these procedures in the simulator.


This project provides them with unlimited access to a virtual cockpit to familiarise themselves with its layout and practice their required procedures and flows before the simulator session.

Try the immersive authentic assessment yourself at the link below!

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UO Quantity Surveying Practice 1
BUIL 1028

Construction Management

Project Leads:

Dr Thilini Jayawickrama &

Dr Ruchini Jayasinghe

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Residential or commercial buildings under construction are typically inaccessible for teaching purposes due to the logistical challenges of arranging site access for remote students or large on-campus student cohorts, along with the potential hazards present on site. This immersive assessment project allows the students to visualise the 3D characteristics of 2D construction drawings and to measure and take off building quantities for domestic construction.


The resource places them in a real construction site during the earthwork stage, captured by 3D drone photogrammetry and LiDAR scanning, so that they can measure quantities for aspects such as earthwork items. This helps them acquire their competencies to read and interpret construction drawings, and gives them an immersive experience of the major concepts contextualised on a construction site.

Try the immersive authentic assessment yourself at the link below!

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Project Management for Engineers
ENGG 2004


Project Leads:

Dr Subhashini Wella Hewage,

Liz Smith, Jayne Boase &

Deanne Hanchant-Nichols

This resource uses a project-based assessment approach where students are required to develop a project plan to implement an energy hub at a fictional location. The assessment uses a virtual site visit to build students’ understanding and skills in project management principles, teamwork, community, community consultation, cultural awareness, and principles of working respectfully on Country.


Drone aerial image capture and 3D photogrammetry is used to create a realistic context for students so they gain a deeper appreciation for the issues related to access and sites of cultural significance. Students also use this resource to formulate appropriate questions to ask the community to ensure their project plan includes principles of Country-centred design.

Try the immersive authentic assessment yourself at the link below!

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Network Architecture
INFT 3019

Information Technology

Project Lead:

Dr Grant Wigley

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Most of the equipment that Information Technology students design, use and apply are physically located in data centres. However, these spaces have very strict access policies due to the critical IT infrastructure they house as well as the sensitive data they store. In the Network Architecture course, students are required to draw physical rack diagrams of data centres as part of their design.


This immersive experience gives students an authentic experience of how these centres are designed and structured to guide them through their technical drawings.

Try the immersive authentic assessment yourself at the link below!

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Environmental Interpretation and Community Engagement
ENVT 3016

Environmental Science

Project Lead:

Professor Delene Weber

This interactive virtual tour is designed to assist students in the planning, design, and implementation of their major group project, which is the development of an Interpretive/Environmental Education product. While students jump at the idea of designing something fun – be it a website, app, board game, or tour – they often skip critical steps or address them inadequately, such as objectives, audience, narrative, and the pros and cons of alternative techniques. They also routinely forget to evaluate their product.


This resource aims to address these issues by providing sequential information on each topic, with examples used to highlight each point and the variety of techniques employed to create interest. The “hub” for the tour is the Science on a Sphere room at MOD., which provides an excellent focal point to remind them of the myriad of large-scale global issues that need interpretation. They are also able to port upstairs and examine the different methods used to engage visitors in a professional exhibition focused on Earth Science research.

Try the immersive authentic assessment yourself at the link below!

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UO Fluid and Energy Engineering
MENG 2015


Project Leads:

Dr Shekh Rubaiyat &

Associate Professor Rhoda Abadia

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This resource showcases the experimental setups in a water facility to make it available to UniSA Online students who do not have physical access to the laboratory. The resource demonstrates losses in piping system and centrifugal pumps connected in series and in parallel. The immersive assessment allows them to take their own data and use it as part of their submission.

Try the immersive authentic assessment yourself at the link below!

Project Team


Tom Raimondo

Jack Fraser

Jack Fraser

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Pat Fraser

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