Colleges begin to take virtual reality seriously — from ecampusnews.com by Abi Mandelbaum
Looking to the future, as adoption of VR increases among universities, the technology will be used in more innovative ways.
Currently, universities offer options for distance learners to take online classes; soon, colleges will use VR technology to fully immerse students in the college experience, allowing them to feel present in a classroom discussion or lecture, regardless of distance. Universities can either record these experiences for later use, or use live-streaming virtual reality—a technology that has only recently begun to catch on with major brands and institutions.
The combination of all this technology could result in something like a virtual Rhodes Scholar program, where students can take part in live classes with top professors at universities all over the world, without having to leave their regular school.
The technology will also offer an invaluable means of learning for those in the social sciences and medical fields, which often require “hands-on” experiences. Eventually, VR technology will allow students to be placed in the shoes of patients to give them insight into how they experience the world. Organizations like the Virtual Human Interaction Lab are already studying the psychological effects of VR as related to empathy. This could allow future public policy students to experience first-hand what it means to be a refugee in a third-world country, or optometry students to experience what life is like for the vision-impaired.
Outside of lectures and hands-on learning, VR also offers schools the chance to immerse students in important cultural events. Educators are already using video to enhance lessons; in the near future, VR will be used in a similar manner.