Maja Krzic | Faculty of Land and Food Systems

Maja Krzic | Faculty of Land and Food Systems

How are you using 3D models in your course? How do you show the models to students?

I use to teach them about the soil classification system. The 3D model can represent where it’s either in real life, photographs, or models fit in and that’s just one of many topics in this course. If I’m teaching a soil pathology course, which is basically focused on soil classification, I will be using the models way more. Another example is if I’m teaching intro to pseudoscience so I’m covering all kinds of different components of soil science, where classification is just one of them.

I have one lab that’s focused on soil classification and probably three or four lectures if I really push it too focused on that topic in the whole course. Those lectures are directly related to the 3D model it’s. So the way I have been using the model is I incorporated links to the 3d models in several questions that I post on assignments. Basically, students observe that model and then answer the following questions, which are about soil type, so that they can classify it.


How do students interact with the models in your class – what activities do you engage them with?

During in-person classes, I’m not using 3D models in the lab if I’m showing them the actual models. So, last year when we were not in person when we were online then it was great to show their models in my online lab. But this year, we are back in person so I brought the actual models. And in the lab, they walk around they observe the original model. Also, I posted the URL of the website where the 3d models are.

And then in the assignment,  I had these specific questions where I specifically directed them to the models where they will have to observe them on their own while they’re trying to figure out the answer. Also, they can use the 3D models to study for their lab exams.

Alongside the 3D models, we added rulers and 360 pictures as background.


How do you show the models to students?  Do you use the embed code in Canvas, live demo, etc? Do you do an orientation to the models prior to using them (e.g. showing how to rotate, zoom in, etc)?

I decided not to add 3D models links to Canvas as students can face internet connection issues. We had a practice exam where we thought that everything looks perfect. Many photos can have issues that students couldn’t open, and we are talking about photos. I was planning to not only add 3d models but also insert a couple of photos in my questions, and once I heard the issues from students while we were trying to figure it out but it was really close to the exam. So we made the decision no include the 3D models in an online exam as there is already anxiety involved and you don’t really want them to be even more anxious for not being able to load the models.

Aside from sharing the 3D models’ links with the students, I also have the Monoliths website where the students can access those models and see more information about them.



What suggestions do you have for instructors who are considering using 3D Models?

Use 3D models if this aligns with your teaching style and you are able to deal with technologic. Don’t use them because it looks cool, otherwise, you’re just confusing your students. Use for assignments and self-study activities that take longer time to work on. Absolutely useful because the 3D objects allow students to zoom in, observe them on their own time taken, and understand details that are shown on those objects. About using them for exams or anything that’s time-limited, you can face some problems because of the internet connection and downloading of these objects. I wouldn’t go there.

Having something to go back and find those 3D models on the website and observe them on their own time is really valuable for students, therefore, I realized this is supplemental material now as it is never fully going to replace the use of the original model.

However, one of the main things that we identified initially, particularly with the original model is that they’re fragile. Using the model in class can damage it. So using the 3D scans can prevent the wear of the original models.


Have any of your colleagues used your models or got interested in creating models for their classes?

Some instructors are using the 3D models from Monoliths website and they were presented in conferences by other faculty members.

Some people are not aware of using 3d models, but if we promote them, there is a high chance that they get interested to use them.


Anything else to say about:

  • Difficult process but rewarding. Helped to improve the photogrammetry process. Had issues matching the correct colours and depth while scanning the models.
  • Create a case study(article) to explain the use of 3d models in the class.