Two days ago, I was privileged to share how I am incorporating VR and AR into my Humanities 409 class with San Diego State’s Center for Teaching and Learning. This journey began last year with Dalton Salvo’s invitation to experiment with Virtual Reality, and has evolved into a Humanities class that now has “lab time” built in.
We use VR and AR to physically to explore theory and to practice responsive critique to examinations of middleware. Below is a snapshot from one of the course syllabi.
These explorations allow for social constructions to be interrogated in innovative and improvisational ways. By incorporating dedicated time in class to experimentation, and students reflecting on those experiences, I hope to collect data that will help create a new structure to specific Humanities classes-a format that supports Digital Humanities experiential learning and students’ ability to express their ideas.
Yesterday was my first prep day experimenting with the capabilities of AH1120 that will be basecamp for Humanities 409 [Honors]. The course, entitled “The Future”, engages with speculative, pop-ontological, and techno-anxiety inducing sci-fi to explore the broad spectrum of realities presented in visual as well as written narratives, and to critique the social constructions of bodies and spaces in futuristic narratives. Last year we had the privilege of being introduced to VR thanks to Dalton Salvo (Ph.D. candidate, U.C. Irvine), who was creating his M.A. thesis in Virtual Reality and generously shared the experience with my Humanities class and many others. The experience of VR connected the course’s theory work in the exploration of reality from Jean Baudrillard, Lewis Carroll, Alan Turing, and Albert Einstein (to name a few). It gave the students a physical space to engage with theory, ultimately providing an active learning experience. To view my student’s Jessica’s Vlog reflection, please click here.
Thanks to the hard work and innovative ideas of Rudy Arias, Sean Hauze, and Polly Card from ITS, VR has become a present actuality in the classroom and beyond at SDSU. Not only do we have access to VIVE, but Rifts, Hololens, and 360 Cameras. AH1120 now operates as an interactive learning space AND a lab. With this capability, our class can continue engage in discussion with digital visualizations operated through 5 screens, iPads, and airplay but also pivot gears and dive into physical explorations of social constructions, testing boundaries and borders of contrived realities.