Guiding Faculty into Immersive Environments

>July 3, 2018

Guiding Faculty into Immersive Environments

Guiding Faculty into Immersive Environments

Guiding Faculty into Immersive Environments

In 2015, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University's Institute for Creativity, Arts and Technology (ICAT) launched the Cube, an adaptable space for research and experimentation housed in the campus's Moss Arts Center.

One of the first things ICAT did was to hire an immersive environment specialist to help faculty members who were incorporating the new space into their curricula.

"I remember Ben Knapp, ICAT's director, used the term 'concierge' when he came up with the position," recalled Zach Duer, who served in the job for a year and a half before becoming an assistant professor in the school of visual arts. "That's because he envisioned multiple levels of service. Someone could come in just needing to hook up a video and I could help them do that," Duer said, "or they could come in with a full project that is going to take two years to develop and I could help them with that, too."

According to Duer, it's a common problem that universities invest in new technologies such as immersive learning spaces but fail to create positions like his to help faculty learn how to use them. "Before I worked here, there was a constant problem of reinventing the wheel because one project would come up with something that would work in the Cube, and they would use it for that project, and then the next group would come in and have to do the same thing," he said. "Part of my job was to become a centralized resource to help make tools and then turn them into publicly available resources."

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