A Brock classroom transformed into an underwater diving experience complete with dolphins.
Last week, Nathan Miller (BA ’10) lead a workshop on user experience in virtual reality for Centre for Digital Humanities students, where 39 participants had the simulated experience of swimming with dolphins thanks to virtual reality (VR).
“Everyone should be paying attention to VR,” said Miller. “It’s one of the most impactful and flexible new tools that is available, and we have the opportunity to learn and master it while the technology is still in its infancy.”
Virtual reality is being used for a variety of reasons, from mental health and therapy to employee training for NASA and Walmart. The technology offers a completely different experience from watching a screen and has potential to move viewers to action in a way that has never been possible until now, says Miller.
“VR is still a baby, but its influence is going to keep growing. The people who are learning it now, and watching where it might go, will find themselves sought after with unique skills that are in high demand.”
Miller and Natalie Moore of Pop-Up VR, which offers on-site virtual reality entertainment to corporations and events, were at Brock to kick off the Centre for Digital Humanities’ 2019-20 workshop series.
The annual workshop series has been an integral part of experiential education for Interactive Arts and Science students, bringing industry professionals on campus to share their experiences and knowledge. Students who attend the workshops earn credit towards IASC 2P08.
“It’s been a proven stepping stone to success for our students, our community partners and the Centre for Digital Humanities,” said Justin Howe, Project Coordinator and organizer of the series. “It’s led directly to internships and future employment for our students while helping them build critical industry skills.”
Due to high demand, the series has been expanded to better serve students in the GAME program with the creation of GAME 3Q90.
“One surprise has been the number of students who attended the workshops without being enrolled in the course,” said Jason Hawreliak, Director of the Centre for Digital Humanities. “They didn’t receive course credit for attending but saw the value in participating.”
In addition to participating in on-campus workshops, students enrolled in GAME 3Q90 will need to find and participate in off-campus networking opportunities.
“We know that not all learning occurs in the classroom, and we want to expose our students to as many forms as learning as possible,” said Hawreliak.
“I remember sitting in classes and having alumni come in and speak about their work using real-world perspective and information,” said Miller. “Those sessions helped bridge the gap between having knowledge and achieving results. The underlying skills are what stick with you, and Brock provides a wonderful platform where you can pursue and develop those skills.”
Miller will be at Brock Oct. 23 for a second workshop on VR adoption and the business landscape. The Centre for Digital Humanities workshops are open to all members of the Brock community. The workshops are free but require advance registration through ExperienceBU. Workshop listings can be found on ExperienceBU.