Virtual reality takes online education to new heights

By Cory Nealon for the University at Buffalo

Anyone with an internet connection can attend college from home. Yet a common complaint about online learning is that it lacks the feel of a physical classroom.

That’s starting to change.

The University at Buffalo and its partners recently demonstrated how to integrate virtual reality (VR) into a massive open online course (MOOC) focusing on collaborative robot safety.

Organizers say the successful experiment — launched in July at the Serious Play conference in Buffalo using the Open edX platform — could be a blueprint for colleges and universities looking to implement VR and other innovations into their online course offerings.

“Virtual reality is rapidly advancing, enabling us to develop computer-generated learning environments that closely mimic the real world. In turn, students can interact with these environments in real-time, offering a richer educational experience,” says Timothy Leyh, executive director of The Center for Industrial Effectiveness (TCIE) at UB, which spearheaded the effort.

To learn more, read "MOOC, served with a side of virtual reality" from the University at Buffalo.