Virtual Worlds and VR at CMU

Last week we were proud to be featured in CMU’s popular Across the Cut series which features some of the innovative and interesting projects that faculty and students have been engaged with in the past year.
Our Director, Stephan Caspar, and his Multicultural Pittsburgh class were featured with an article and accompanying video highlighting some of the recent sessions taught using in VR using headsets that we distributed to students or already had access to. Students reported positive experiences, enjoyed meeting up and as Stephan says in the article, he is certainly looking forward to running more sessions in VR.

Personalized experiences in Developing Nations

Educator Sophie Le Blanc invited her class on The Politics of Developing Nations to the Global Languages & Cultures Room to use the technology.
Still from “Clouds over Sidra” from UNVR
I used the Global Languages & Cultures Room to show students the reality of a refugee camp through the VR “Clouds over Sidra”. Watching a video in class would not have given everyone an individualized experience. The VR really let the student get closer to the main character and experience her life in a refugee camp. I prepared specific questions on the video so students’ attention could be guided before even starting the video and we all debriefed together so their individualized experience could be shared together. At the semester debrief, students suggested that I should add more VR experiences in future iterations of the class, as it really helped them understand the reality of refugee camps and thought it would put a clearer picture of life in developing nations. Overall, it was an awesome experience! ” Sophie Le Blanc – Adjunct Instructor, Institute for Politics and Strategy