Professor Christopher Headleand

Head Of Department - Games Design & Tech

School of Digital, Technologies and Arts

Professor Headleand is a Computing and Video Games academic with over 20 years' experience in a variety of teaching and learning roles. He is internationally recognised as an expert in student engagement and was awarded a prestigious National Teaching Fellowship in 2021. His research focuses on Virtual Reality, and Visualisation, and Serious Games. He is the head of the Games Design and Technology Department.

I am a Professor of Digital Innovation, with a specific specialism of in Video Games Development. I have a background in student engagement, innovation leadership, and entrepreneurship.

I started teaching over 20 years ago, with my first roles being in voluntary organisations, teaching basic engineering principles, and coaching outdoor sports. I gained my first formal teaching qualification at 16 and followed this up with a degree in design and education at Bangor University. During my degree I developed a love for student-centric models of education that empower individuals to take ownership of their learning. This inclusive approach to education has been a staple of my approach to teaching ever since.

Following my degree I formed my first company, a small design and software start-up. Through this company I had the opportunity to work with a range of small to large enterprises, and some governmental organisations. I also taught at a local college in North Wales, where I delivered a course on creative technologies, teaching everything from games to graphics design. During my time at Coleg Harlech, I also ran the first Further Education programme delivered entirely through social media.

I returned to university, and completed my MSc in Computer Science, and my PhD in Artificial intelligence at Bangor. My PhD research specifically focused on behaviour simulation in video games and was conducted as a collaboration with High Performance Computing Wales. While working on my PhD I formed my second company, a VR video games studio. Through my VR company I have had the opportunity to work with many large organisations internationally, including the American Museum of Natural History in New York.

I have since taught Video Games development, specifically from a design and technical perspective in Higher Education. My research largely focuses on Virtual Reality, Serious Games, and Digital Education. I am currently writing a book on Student Engagement.

Professional memberships and activities

  • National Teaching Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
  • Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
  • Member of the Eurographics Association

Academic qualifications

  • PhD “Simulating Ethical Behaviour in Virtual Characters”, Bangor University
  • National Teaching Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
  • MSc in Computer Systems, Bangor University
  • BSc In Design Education, Bangor University
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education, Bangor University

Expertise

  • Video Games
  • Digital Innovation
  • Virtual Immersive Worlds
  • Student Engagement

 

Research interests

  • Virtual Reality
  • Computer Games Design
  • Data Visualisation
  • Student Engagement
  • Virtual and Immersive Worlds

Enterprise and commercial interests

I have extensive experience working with start-ups and small enterprises, having run two successful companies, and worked as an innovation consultant for several years. I am also experienced working with larger multi-national organisations and have worked on contracts with companies across the world.  I am currently working with the department to develop new commercial opportunities in the games sector. I am available for consultancy work in the areas of games development, student engagement, data visualisation, immersive simulations, and virtual reality.

Publications

  • Williams, Benjamin, and Christopher J. Headleand. "Recreational Motion Simulation: A New Frontier for Virtual Worlds Research." (2021).
  • Headleand, Christopher J., Bethany Davies, and Benjamin Williams. "Adi's Maze and the Research Arcade: A Long-term Study on the Impact of Gendered Representation on Player Preferences." (2021).
  • Jacobs, Lisa, et al. "Learning at school through to university: the educational experiences of students with dyslexia at one UK higher education institution." Disability & Society(2020): 1-22.
  • Headleand, Christopher J., et al. "Virtual Community Support Officers: Community Policing in the Digital Space." 2020 International Conference on Cyberworlds (CW). IEEE, 2020.
  • Williams, Benjamin, Alexandra E. Garton, and Christopher J. Headleand. "Exploring Visuo-haptic Feedback Congruency in Virtual Reality." 2020 International Conference on Cyberworlds (CW). IEEE, 2020.
  • Harrington, Jake, and Christopher Headleand. "A Somatic approach to combating cybersickness utilising airflow feedback." (2019).
  • Ap Cenydd, Llyr, and Christopher J. Headleand. "Movement modalities in virtual reality: a case study from ocean rift examining the best practices in accessibility, comfort, and immersion." IEEE Consumer Electronics Magazine1 (2018): 30-35.
  • Williams, Benjamin, and Christopher J. Headleand. "A time-line approach for the generation of simulated settlements." 2017 International Conference on Cyberworlds (CW). IEEE, 2017.
  • Roberts, Jonathan C., et al. "The explanatory visualization framework: An active learning framework for teaching creative computing using explanatory visualizations." IEEE transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics1 (2017): 791-801.
  • John, Nigel W., et al. "The implementation and validation of a virtual environment for training powered wheelchair manoeuvres." IEEE transactions on visualization and computer graphics5 (2017): 1867-1878.
  • Headleand, Christopher J., and William Teahan. "Towards ethical robots: revisiting Braitenberg's vehicles." 2016 SAI Computing Conference (SAI). IEEE, 2016.
  • Ritsos, Panagiotis D., and W. Nigel. "A cost-effective virtual environment for simulating and training powered wheelchairs manoeuvres." Med. Meets Virtual Reality NextMed/MMV220 (2016): 134.
  • Headleand, Christopher J., et al. "How the perceived identity of a npc companion influences player behavior." Transactions on Computational Science XXVIII. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg, 2016. 88-107.
  • Headleand, Christopher J., et al. "The influence of virtual reality on the perception of artificial intelligence characters in games." International Conference on Innovative Techniques and Applications of Artificial Intelligence. Springer, Cham, 2015.
  • Roberts, Jonathan C., Chris Headleand, and Panagiotis D. Ritsos. "Sketching designs using the five design-sheet methodology." IEEE transactions on visualization and computer graphics1 (2015): 419-428.
Top 15 for Teaching Quality

The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021

6th for Social Inclusion

The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2022

Midlands University of the Year

Midlands Business Awards 2020