Deakin’s new Graduate Diploma of Virtual and Augmented Reality

Virtual reality image of person standing with goggles looking at body organ using virtual reality

Deakin has joined a small group of institutions on the world stage which are willing to delve into the deep end and offer their students a qualification in the ever-expanding field of virtual and augmented reality.

Deakin is the first university in the Australian and New Zealand region to offer a dedicated course in virtual reality and augmented reality! The Graduate Diploma of Virtual and Augmented Reality began in Trimester 2, 2016.

What does this actually mean? Well, in the first instance, let’s define some terms.

As per the Course Guide, ‘Virtual reality (VR) is an immersive digital environment that can replicate lifelike physical environments or portray a fictional artificial world, and makes the user feel they are immersed in that environment in real-life. Augmented reality (AR) is created by enhancing real life objects/environments with a digital overlay.’

Both of these realities allow for the recipient to receive an immersive experience within the environment which they enter. Seeing, feeling and interacting with lifelike content allows the recipient to fully engage with their surroundings, to have the learning transcend to a multi-sensory experience and to complete tasks within the realm, by doing. It gives the person absorbing the environment, a higher retention rate due to the immersion. Ultimately meaning that these types of learning experiences would add immense value to the student experience.

See this in practice as Case Western Reserve University utilises Microsoft’s HoloLens to prepare future generations of doctors:

Imagine the degree of understanding that could be achieved in a safe, simulated environment!

Now also imagine what virtual and augmented reality will add to students studying history, geography, marine biology… Worlds could be recreated to the minute detail. Habitats could be explored without damage to ecosystems. Remote places could be visited without leaving your home. This leads to the next point – greater access to knowledge for those who do not possess financial resources. However, this topic is for a future discussion.

Students undertaking the Graduate Diploma will be faced with a challenging curriculum, and one which will be dynamic and responsive to industry. Learning to design user-friendly 3D environments will too prove to be a hurdle to be mastered. Becoming experts in gamification will be a given. The potential rewards to be reaped both during the course of study as well as in the workforce – will be infinite.

The establishment of this course and its sub courses is a forward-thinking initiative, enriching Deakin’s future graduates with specialised digital literacy skills which are becoming more and more appealing to employers.

Further to this piece, here are some more resources of interest:

 

 

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