The Past, Present, and Future of Virtual Reality in Higher Education

The Past, Present, and Future of Virtual Reality in Higher Education

Jinhee Yoo (Gannon University, USA) and Eric A. Brownlee (Gannon University, USA)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 25
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-1306-4.ch024

Abstract

This chapter focuses on how Virtual Reality (VR) can be used to educate students in a variety of disciplines. Authors include a comprehensive synthesis of previous virtual reality in the educational setting literature. They also provide specific examples of virtual reality usage in the education setting utilizing specific VR class assignments from multiple universities. Based on their comprehensive review of previous research, the authors provide suggestions for future research and application of VR both inside and outside of the classroom. Two specific VR class assignments/activities are incorporated and can be utilized by professors to provide undergraduate and graduate students with an introduction to the application of VR.
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Introduction

Virtual reality is a technology that allows a user to interact with a computer-simulated environment (Mandal, 2013). While virtual reality has existed for more than 50 years, the technology has only recently enabled users to immerse themselves in a realistic virtual environment. Immersive virtual reality has only existed since the early 2000’s and as technology has improved educators have found more uses for virtual reality (Freina & Ott, 2015). Early applications of virtual reality in education were mainly in the healthcare setting, but as the technology has improved professors from a variety of disciplines have started to use virtual reality in their teaching (Li, Yi, Chi, Wang, & Chan, 2018). As the usage of virtual reality in education has increased so has research regarding the effectiveness of virtual reality in higher education (Pelargos et al., 2017).

In this chapter, the present authors educate readers regarding the benefits and challenges associated with using virtual reality to teach students by providing a summary of the previous literature and practitioner examples. The authors focus on how virtual reality can be used to instruct and engage students in a variety of disciplines. This chapter includes a comprehensive analysis of previous virtual reality in the educational setting. The authors also provide specific examples of virtual reality usage in the educational learning environment utilizing specific case studies from multiple universities.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Augmented Reality: A real-time direct or indirect view of a physical real-world environment that has been enhanced or augmented by adding virtual computer-generated information to it.

BOOM: Binocular-Omni-Orientational Monitor is a complex system composed by a stereoscopic-displaying device, providing a moving and broad virtual environment, and a mechanical arm tracking.

CAVE: CAVE is a recursive acronym that stands for cave automatic virtual environment. CAVE is an interactive, real time, three-dimensional visual, auditory, and haptic environment which extrapolates and expands the immersive properties of such synthetic surroundings to a novel extent.

Virtual Reality: An artificial environment or a technology that allows a user to interact with a computer-simulated environment.

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