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VR in Undergraduate Education: Pushing the Limits of Immersion Across Disciplines

Description

Immersive educational experiences have become a hot topic in schools across the globe especially post-COVID. Virtual reality has allowed educators to create virtual spaces and inhabit them in ways that have only previously been imagined. Extending the educational experience in Science and Humanities through VR/AR technologies has made Morehouse College a stand-out in the XR space. Victory XR built a digital twin campus accessible through the Engage platform of Morehouse College, a small, liberal arts college in Atlanta, GA and alma mater of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Courses in biology, chemistry, and history were taught in Spring 2021 by Dr. Ethell Vereen, Dr. Muhsinah Morris, and Dr. Ovell Hamilton with cross-disciplinary modules infused by English professor, Dr. Tanya Clark. There were many lessons learned pivoting to remote learning in VR while educators worldwide were still getting acclimated to the facilitation of online learning. Being in VR allowed for students to construct their knowledge in a world free of distractions. The experiences in VR were thoughtfully developed to give students better access to meeting and exceeding the learning outcomes for the courses. Based on the preliminary surveys of students in the VR courses, this level of learning was beyond what they had ever experienced in the face-to-face classroom. The VR setting proved to be the best investment at a time when students had become fatigued with the constant use of available online team collaboration tools as the only way to meet for class. While VR has been shown to increase learning outcomes, mainly in individual gameplay tasks, there is a lack of data correlating student success and engagement to the learning outcomes spanning many disciplines. Now with this ambitious VR project incorporated into the curriculum at Morehouse College, there is data to support that courses across disciplines in science and the humanities can benefit from immersive VR in efforts to help students master the subject matter faster than they could in person. This is the first of such data at any undergraduate institution.

Speakers

Academic Program Director , Morehouse College

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