Bellevue College hosts Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence

Tasmanian entrepreneur James Riggall will be hosted by Bellevue College as a Fullbright Scholar-in-Residence until the end of March 2018. After collaborating with BC Instructor Bruce Wolcott for the last five years via Skype, the two finally met in person when Riggall arrived in Bellevue two weeks ago. Before his arrival here, Riggall worked with Wolcott in co-teaching a course on virtual reality a few times as well as multiple other collaborations between the two. During his time teaching in Tasmania at the Human Interface Technology Labaratory he taught courses in virtual reality, augmented reality, entrepreneurship and video game design. In his career, he has also worked internationally with professors and staff of major companies including those of Microsoft and Valve Gaming.
The Fulbright program is about taking scholars from around the globe, bringing them to the United States and sending them home with the knowledge and connections that the States can offer. On the other hand, the program will also take American scholars and send them around the world to other countries with the same purpose. The program was started after World War II and according to Riggall it’s about exchanging cultures and perspectives as well as sharing knowledge between the countries.
Because of his prior experience working with Bellevue College, Riggall applied for a Fulbright Scholarship with the express purpose of being invited to BC. Along with this, he has experience with building hackerspaces and makerspaces in the surrounding communities. The Research Innovation Service Experiential Project at BC overlaps with the kind of work he’s done in the past so he plans on helping with that during his time here. Riggall’s background focuses mostly on technology and startups. Because of this, he will be working in the Institute for Business and Information Technology and the Collaboratory in the e-Learning Centre. Aside from this, he will be looking to help in areas where his background could prove effective.
Riggall plans on continuing with his collaboration with Wolcott in the form of multiple virtual reality courses over his time here. One class is going to be a full five-credit class on VR design theory, while there will also be a more practical topic where students will be working with Riggall and Wolcott to help build VR prototypes or undertaking research projects relating to virtual reality. These classes will also involve international guest lectures from Australia as well as some from the rest of the United States. Beyond all of this, he plans on giving guest lectures wherever his expertise will be useful and doing community engagement work focused on building more connections between BC and the local tech scene in Seattle.
Riggall describes being a Fulbright Scholar as an enormous honor and something he never would have deemed possible. He is extremely grateful to be spending six months in Seattle working with both the college and the local tech scene. Considering he’s been working remotely with the people of Seattle for almost a decade, he calls the ability to work with them in person a great privilege.

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