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We are excited to invite you to a hands-on augmented, virtual, and mixed reality (XR) prototyping course this year at CHI 2021. XR technologies are starting to disrupt our everyday experiences and they are playing an increasingly important role in interaction design. This course is brought to you by Mark Billinghurst and Michael Nebeling as your instructors. Join us to learn more about methods and tools for rapidly prototyping XR experiences, and ways of incorporating XR design activities into existing courses, workshops, and student design jams! The course will introduce you to state-of-the-art XR prototyping techniques developed in research and industry.

Below is an example of Michael’s research on ProtoAR:

Read the full CHI 2021 course proposal here

Learn more about the instructors here

Course Overview

In this course, participants will learn how to use a wide array of non-programming tools for rapid prototyping of XR experiences. These will range from physical prototyping tools including paper templates for sketching out XR experiences in 360 degrees around the user, to web-based drag-and-drop applications with rapid previews on XR devices, to immersive authoring tools which can be used for creating 3D interface mockups from within AR or VR, and others. Prototyping methods for a variety of different XR display devices will also be covered, including hand-held devices, head-mounted displays, and projection-based systems.


The course has two major learning outcomes. First, participants will be introduced to a comprehensive set of methods for both physical and digital prototyping. Second, participants will learn about different types of tools, their requirements in terms of technical skills, and their supported level of fidelity. The methods and tools will be taught hands-on, allowing course participants to design, test, and critique prototypes throughout the course. We anticipate a hybrid format where co-located course participants can work in teams and remote participants can join via Zoom and complete the hands-on portions individually but still coordinate with their teams in break-out rooms. The course will provide a forum for participants to come together to see each of the prototypes, ask questions, and provide feedback. Participants will learn to formulate critiques and reflect on their own experience using the “I like, I wish, What if” method.

The main reason for CHI attendees to take this course will be to get to know and practice some easy-to-learn and apply prototyping techniques for XR experiences. Some of the techniques were developed by the instructors through research and teaching in HCI and interaction design courses. Those who teach similar courses and design workshops, and are interested in adding practical, hands-on XR portions to their instruction, will especially benefit from the course. The instructors will not only teach the materials, but also share them and provide participants with access to tools so that they could give a similar course in the future.

Intended Audience

The intended audience are those people who are interested in XR and in creating XR experiences, but don’t necessarily have a strong programming or engineering background. This includes not only XR researchers and designers, but also HCI practitioners, and user experience and interaction design professionals in industry, as well as students who have an interest in rapid prototyping for mixed reality. The course is suitable for people with no particular programming or design experience. The techniques taught are tried-and-tested with teams of 4-5 and audiences of up to 40 participants. There is no assumed background, although attendees should bring their own laptops to the course, and there will be links provided ahead of time to tools that can be downloaded to be used during the course.


The course is designed for non-technical audiences. Participants with basic knowledge in HCI, user experience, and interaction design will find the contents of this course accessible. There is no need for programming. However, for more advanced participants, the instructors will also be able to share tips and resources, including information on how the techniques could be incorporated with advanced XR development workflows with tools like Unity or Unreal.