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Virtual Reality

Virtual reality is a three-dimensional, computer generated environment which can be explored and interacted with by a person, using an immersive headset device. There are a variety of experiences available for those wishing to experience virtual reality, ranging from games to tours to inventive storytelling utilizing the power of 3D animation.

To experience Virtual Reality, stop by Open Lab @ Hillman during open hours and try out an interactive game or immersive experience on one of our VR stations. No reservation is necessary; use of a VR station is on a first-come, first-served basis. Please review the Virtual Reality section of the Open Lab Member Policies & Handbook. Check out a list of the VR software available in the Open Lab

Open Lab VR computers feature the game creation software Unity for members interested in creating their own VR experiences; however, we do not currently offer training on VR experience design or creation.

Faculty members interested in incorporating virtual reality into a course they teach are encouraged to to set up a consultation with a full-time Open Lab staff member. We can acquire existing VR experiences tailored to your learning objectives. To research existing experiences related to your topic, check out the Oculus Store, Steam Store, or look for 360 degree videos on YouTube.

Oculus Rift S HTC Vive Oculus go Oculus Quest Google Cardboard
Model Oculus Rift S HTC Vive Oculus Go Oculus Quest Google Cardboard
Location Open Lab @ Hillman Open Lab @ Hillman Open Lab @ Alumni Hall Open Lab @ Alumni Hall Both Open Lab locations
Platform Oculus and Steam Steam only Oculus only Oculus only YouTube app on smartphone
Training Walk-in training available during Open Lab @ Hillman drop-in hours. Walk-in training available during Open Lab @ Hillman drop-in hours. Walk-in training available during Open Lab @ Alumni drop-in hours. Walk-in training available during Open Lab @ Alumni drop-in hours Walk-in training available during both Open Lab locations drop-in hours
Notes Mobile units available to borrow for special requests (usually course-related) Wireless headset in room-scale play area

Limited applications available.

Mobile unit available to borrow for special requests

Limited applications available.

Mobile unit available to borrow for special requests

Disposable headset that uses smartphones to view 360 degree videos.

Available for class sessions and special requests.

Smartphone must have a gyroscope to function.

Virtual reality can be a powerful tool for promoting knowledge retention and an engaging method of reaching students. In addition to the Roman Civilization course session covered in the video at the top of this page, VR has been used in a variety of ways for in-class sessions by Pitt faculty members. Using the Google Earth VR app, students in Slavic Language courses have visited sites in Russia, using vocabulary skills to navigate the streets of Moscow in groups, or worked with partners to describe monuments in St. Petersburg and the tourists they encountered there. Students in an Art of China course visited Buddhist grottoes in Dunhuang, and an English Literature course devoted to Science Fiction explored prospective futures in a variety of visionary landscapes. 

Open Lab @ Hillman has 5 fixed VR stations and can host classes of up to 25 students. We will work with you to develop a lesson plan to best utilize our space and your time to support your learning objectives. Open Lab employees will be on hand to help students properly use VR equipment and navigate through the chosen experiences, to optimize learning opportunities and minimize obstacles posed by unfamiliarity with the technology. Some faculty members have opted to assign students homework exploring VR experiences; Open Lab can track student attendance if desired. 

Faculty members interested in incorporating virtual reality into a course they teach are encouraged to to set up a consultation with a full-time Open Lab staff member

Virtual reality can be a powerful tool for promoting knowledge retention and an engaging method of reaching students. In addition to the Roman Civilization course session covered in the video at the top of this page, VR has been used in a variety of ways for in-class sessions by Pitt faculty members. Using the Google Earth VR app, students in Slavic Language courses have visited sites in Russia, using vocabulary skills to navigate the streets of Moscow in groups, or worked with partners to describe monuments in St. Petersburg and the tourists they encountered there. Students in an Art of China course visited Buddhist grottoes in Dunhuang, and an English Literature course devoted to Science Fiction explored prospective futures in a variety of visionary landscapes. 

Open Lab @ Hillman has 5 fixed VR stations and can host classes of up to 25 students. We will work with you to develop a lesson plan to best utilize our space and your time to support your learning objectives. Open Lab employees will be on hand to help students properly use VR equipment and navigate through the chosen experiences, to optimize learning opportunities and minimize obstacles posed by unfamiliarity with the technology. Some faculty members have opted to assign students homework exploring VR experiences; Open Lab can track student attendance if desired. 

Faculty members interested in incorporating virtual reality into a course they teach are encouraged to to set up a consultation with a full-time Open Lab staff member

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