Two of the fastest growing technologies in education are virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), collectively known as XR (eXtended reality). Over the past few years, the Academic Technology team has worked with a variety of faculty members in different departments to help them integrate this technology into their instruction. Here are some of the ways Endicott faculty students are using XR technologies.
In Interior Architecture classes, students can now export their 2D designs from Revit software using a plug-in called Enscape to be viewed in the Oculus Rift VR headset. Students can then fully immerse themselves into their own designed spaces and get a more holistic view of their designs.
According to Director of Interior Architecture Programs, Myoung Joo Chun, “VR brings the students into their own designed spaces and allows them to pre-explore their user’s experience. They find out how their design dimensions feel. It places real emphasis on the clearance and heights in the drawings. VR helps to bring attention to their way-finding in their design much more than if they use just a floor plan.”
Professor Joyce Shaw brings students in her pathophysiology class to Endicott’s XR Lab (LSB 403) as part of their weekly lab work. Students use a VR experience called Sharecare VR which allows them to look inside organs and examine the effects and treatments of certain diseases including asthma and chronic obstructive lung disease, and the placement of a stent in a patient with coronary artery disease. Shaw reports that students have given her positive feedback on the VR lab sessions. Said one student, “I loved the VR lab work. It helped put what we were learning into a human body perspective. It was very helpful to see the topic we are learning in a much more up-close and hands-on way.” Said Shaw, “From a teaching perspective, those experiences engaged and motivated students in ways I have not seen before.”
Junior pre-practicum students use a VR program called Mursion to simulate authentic classroom scenarios that they will encounter when they become teachers. The VR simulations provide a safe place to practice interpersonal behaviors at an accelerated pace, receive rapid corrective feedback, and assess behavior.
In addition to consuming educational content in VR, some Endicott students are creating their own original VR content. Communications Professor John Donovan launched a new course in 2019 called Next Generation Storytelling: Storytelling Using Virtual and Augmented Reality. In this course, students use 360-degree cameras to shoot still images and video and then use software tools such as Thinglink to create immersive 360 VR experiences. Says Jenna Brown ’21, a Digital Media major pursuing the TV/film concentration, “It’s amazing how new technologies are able to transport us into a new world from our own house or classroom. I truly believe that this course is incredibly beneficial in giving Endicott students a way to promote their brand to employers as someone who is knowledgeable in terms of future possibilities of content creation.”
Women’s lacrosse coach, Maureen Spellman, uses VR in regular training sessions with her goalie. She says, “We started using VR to train our goalies as soon as the technology became available. We use the Oculus for hand speed, hand-eye coordination, and cognitive training. This is a fun and engaging way to train our most important muscle: the brain.”