Co-Creating Virtual Reality Content

Category: Learner Supports

Form Technology-Enabled Prototype

Project Description:

How can we enable students and faculty to co-create virtual reality content for post-secondary education?

Virtual and/or augmented reality can provide technology-enabled learning experiences that are both engaging and stimulating. However, they’re rarely used in courses today, for many reasons. This project empowers students to take the lead on finding new ways to use these technologies to improve learning outcomes and the student experience.

Research Insights:

Advantages:

  • Complex, immersive experiences enhances learning across all fields.
  • Emerging technology has huge potential for growth in near future.
  • Creating web-based content can make post-secondary education more accessible.

Barriers:

  • Difficult to make – even for one person.
  • Steep learning curve: instructions are not particularly accessible to beginners.
  • Equipment is expensive and often incompatible across brands.
    Overwhelming amount of information related to VR: not clear where to start

Research Insights:

Advantages:

There is a lot of interest in integrating VR and immersive technology into the learning experience.

  • There is a desire to gain skills with new digital technologies.
  • There is a desire for students to be more involved in curriculum creation, especially curriculum that involves emerging technology.

Barriers:

  • Difficult to begin! How do you think in 360?
  • How can you plan and design content?
  • Technology is expensive, experimental, and often full of unpredictable glitches.
  • Lack of compatibility between operating systems can be challenging to overcome.
  • The technology gap between faculty and students will continue to grow. How can we address this?

Using the insights from the research, design sprint, and interviews with faculty and students, the team created a series of prototypes. They tested each prototype with faculty, students, and the eCampusOntario team, and iterated based on their feedback.

Prototype:

Meet Yarn, an open-source hub for 360 storyboading, collaborative VR creation, VR resources, and a place to upload and follow VR projects and assets. Yarn was inspired by the need for a tool that is relatable, intuitive, unintimidating and reminiscent of tactile creation.

With Yarn, users can explore galleries of projects made by other users and contact other community members to collaborate. Users can also plan, design, and create VR content directly in the software. The storyboarding page allows users to develop scenes in 360 using pre-set 3D assets (arranged by academic subject/theme). Furthermore, users can upload their own content, draw, or add text to the canvas. They can add collaborators to a project, who can edit the content directly, or add comments. They can switch the canvas between panoramic, monoscopic and 360 views, to experience the scene on a flat or immersive screen. Moreover, users can download their projects as flat or immersive files, to view them on the screen or headset of their choice. Alternatively, users can also choose to download a 360 storyboarding template, in case they are more comfortable designing on paper or using another software.

Project Materials:

  1. Prototyping Report
  2. Interactive Prototype

Contributors:

Mini Makhija , Samaa Ahmed, Thoreau Bakker