Ohio University Scripps College of Communication is proud to have one of the very few virtual reality curriculums which currently exist in the United States. In addition to the already ground-breaking undergraduate courses in VR, brand new graduate courses are now being offered as of the 2017-18 academic year. These courses will allow students to further explore the vast possibilities that come along with new VR technology.
The current undergraduate course offerings in Virtual Reality are designed so that anyone with an interest in VR can have an opportunity to study it. The courses are offered as COMM classes through the Scripps College of Communication so that MDIA students and others can add on VR classes as a corollary, field of interest, or any other form of specialty. Class topics include 360 Audio, 360 Video, VR Interactivity, and even include non-production classes including an introduction to VR technology and a junior composition class which analyzes other students’ VR projects. Students are encouraged to work with other departments, such as journalism, education, and history, to create meaningful work.
Students from all majors are encouraged to register for the VR graduate courses. A production background may be beneficial, but the expanding landscape of VR itself makes it applicable to endless amounts of purposes. The courses themselves will expand on the undergraduate curriculum. Some of the new graduate-level classes are cross-listed at the 3000- level, such that graduate students may be enrolled in advanced production classes at those levels. Graduate students then have an additional amount of time with the professor outside of the normal class time for additional work and projects. The new VR courses also include a stand-alone 6000- level class, which is specifically for graduate project work in virtual reality.
The possibilities for Virtual Reality are just beginning to be explored. Notably, Ohio University VR students have worked on several projects in medical education, using VR technology to train medical staff in high-intensity situations that they would not normally be able to experience in the same way otherwise. Ultimately, VR can be of use in just about any field – education, tourism, real estate, even at concerts or sporting events.
Ohio University’s Virtual Reality curriculum has been made possible through a grant from the college’s Innovation Strategy funding. “Ohio University is putting a lot of support behind this future technology,” said MDIA Associate Professor and Co-Creator of the Immersive Media Initiative Eric Williams, “I think it is really forward thinking of MDIA Director Drew McDaniel and Dean Scott Titsworth to be imagining with the future of media is. I think we are in a really special college and school to have such forward thinking leaders.” The new VR courses are set to keep Ohio University at the cutting edge of new communication technology.