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The Holographic Academic: Rethinking Telepresence in Higher Education

Part of the Bridging Human and Machine: Future Education with Intelligence book series (BHMFEI)


Using holographic projection technologies at an event titled ‘Women in Tech’, Imperial College Business School launched in November 2018 what it claimed to be the ‘world’s first holographic event at a university’. This form of teaching via telepresence has the potential for a significant disruption of the lecture format and also raises profound questions around the pedagogy of giving lectures in this way. This chapter asks some of those questions as well as attempting possible answers to them and is therefore intended as a set of practical considerations for teachers, technologists, and policy makers that might wish to investigate holographic delivery for their own institutions.


  • Education 4.0
  • Haptics
  • Holographic
  • Holography
  • Holograms
  • Mixed Reality
  • Telepresence
  • Blended synchronous learning
  • SAMR model
  • Web conferencing
  • Webinars
  • Imperial College
  • Distance learning

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  • DOI: 10.1007/978-981-15-0618-5_13
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Correspondence to Dominic Pates .

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Glossary of Terms


The fifth generation of mobile phone network technology, providing broadband access


Artificial Intelligence


The maximum rate of data transfer across a communications channel

Capture room

A facility that includes a stage or platform technical equipment for recording a relaying a digital image of the presenter on the stage, and video monitor(s) placed in front of the stage to relay images of the remote audience to the presenter

Confidence monitor

Screen that carries content such as the text of a presentation (or in the ARHT Media example, a video feed of a remote audience) that is traditionally meant as a tool to support presenters and make them appear as if they are looking directly at the audience when speaking


In the context of light, description of light waves that have become bent or broken up

Digital transition

A multimedia device to indicate a move from one piece of digital content to another


A person in a legal case that disputes a charge levelled against them

Education 4.0

Label given to the potential application of ‘fourth industrial revolution’ technologies (AI, robotics, big data, Internet of Things, etc) to education


The practice of creating artefacts that appear holographic, but which are not created using traditional methods

Haptic holograms

A type of hologram that can convey the impression of tactility, or appear as if they can be touched


The use of a sense of touch for interacting with digital objects


A fictional plot device from the television series Star Trek that presented a staging environment where various virtual reality environments could be engaged with by participants

Holographic lecturing

The act of delivering a lecture via holographic-like delivery tools

Holographic telepresence

A form of telepresence driven by holographic-type technologies


The science and practice of making holograms

Light waves

The means by which light travels


A wider narrative related to a general context, as opposed to the specific details of the main narrative itself; an overarching storyline that provides broader meaning

Microsoft HoloLens

A mixed/augmented reality head-mounted display developed and manufactured by Microsoft

Mixed reality

A hybridised form of reality that merges both real and virtual worlds, typically via immersive technology

Moore’s Law

The observation of a historical trend, named after Intel co-founder Gordon Moore, that the number of transistors in integrated circuits doubles roughly every two years, thus driving significant advancements in digital electronics

Online Dispute Resolution (ODR)

A form of dispute resolution where the resolution of disputes between parties is facilitated via digital technologies


A type of musical texture where aspects of a composition are combined to shape the work’s overall sound and quality

Recorded object wavefronts

The stored manifestation of the distribution of light waves

Remote speakers

Event speakers, such as university guest lecturers, that are speaking or presenting to a live audience from a remote location

Sage on the stage

An educator that imparts knowledge from a platform by lecturing to an audience; sometimes intended as a derogatory term

SAMR model

A model developed by Dr. Ruben Puentedura for integrating technology into teaching

Sense modalities

A means of sensing a stimulus, such as via the visual or auditory systems

Sensory-motor engagement

Engagement with the real world via sensory systems and physical movement

Virtual courtrooms

A courtroom configured solely via internet technologies

Web conferencing

An online tool or service for holding live meetings, conferences or presentations, typically over a TCP/IP connection


A form of presentation, workshop, lecture or seminar transmitted over the web via video conferencing software

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Pates, D. (2020). The Holographic Academic: Rethinking Telepresence in Higher Education. In: Yu, S., Ally, M., Tsinakos, A. (eds) Emerging Technologies and Pedagogies in the Curriculum. Bridging Human and Machine: Future Education with Intelligence. Springer, Singapore.

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  • Print ISBN: 978-981-15-0617-8

  • Online ISBN: 978-981-15-0618-5

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