Supporting Faculty-Student Collaboration for Producing Engaging Virtual Reality Instructional Content

Virtual reality (VR) – immersive computer-generated environments that simulate the physical presence of people and objects using realistic sensory experiences – will revolutionize education because it addresses three distinct gaps in the classroom: the attention gap (by creating engaging environments); the relevancy gap (by providing training for real- life situations); and, the pedagogy gap (by enabling learning in naturalist settings). Because VR is at the cutting edge of education, best production and use practices are yet to emerge. Using a newly created VR lab, this project created a proof-of-concept model for how faculty and students across disciplines as well as instructional technologists could collaborate for producing VR projects. The pilot project, called Project Ambrosia, was a VR-based archeological educational game whose concept was designed by two faculty from Anthropology. The development team included a project manager and an instructional technologist from Academic Technologies & Innovation; seven faculty from Anthropology, Communication Studies, Computer Sciences, Graphic Design and Theater Arts; and five students. The purpose of the module was twofold:

  • Allow students to experience archeological eldwalking in a naturalistic setting
  • Recognize archeological artifacts and make inferences about the activities that produced them

This project provided not only a new, engaging and pedagogically sophisticated experience for students, but also important information on robust collaborative models, implementation and scaling challenges, accessibility requirements, and learning impact.

Principal Investigator

Mihaela Popescu, Cal State San Bernardino

Grant Cycle

Spring 2017