Faculty News
February 16, 2018
iSchool Instructors Chosen for Immersive Learning Institute

Two iSchool faculty members have been selected to participate in the San José State University eCampus Immersive Learning Institute where they will learn about innovative augmented reality and virtual reality technologies and pedagogies that create immersive learning opportunities to improve students’ engagement and critical thinking.

During the first Immersive Learning Institute workshop held in early February, Dr. Debbie Weissmann and Diane K. Kovacs were able to use Anatomy 4-D, painting with Tiltbrush, and science labs with the EON Experience, as well as stargaze with Star Chart, explore museums with Boulevard, and travel the globe with Google Earth.

Weissmann said immersive technology is a “perfect fit” for her INFO 287 Gamifying Information course offered in the iSchool’s Master of Library and Information Science online program.

“I had an AR experience on the Gamifying Information syllabus before I even knew about the ILI. And now that we’ve had our first meeting, I’m not anticipating changes to my curriculum as much as having an even better first AR experience with the support of the ILI group.

“I’m hoping that my students will see my game and think, ‘Hey, I can do (better than) that!’ and that they will be inspired to use AR platforms to make information games for their places of work,” she said.

Weissmann believes AR/VR technologies open up possibilities for libraries and archives to make information-specific AR experiences, and she predicts libraries will soon be offering VR sets as part of reference collections or homework help resources.

“It’s really exciting. VR is quickly becoming affordable,” Weissmann said. “I see it as the next step in adding sensory experiences to explore information repositories and to engage with the content.”

Kovacs shares Weissmann’s enthusiasm and is interested in learning what others in the field are doing. She said she plans to apply the new technologies and create immersive learning activities for her design/instructional course. In INFO 285 Web Usability, students learn about the user experience framework for developing information systems in addition to the principles of user-centric design and style for particular circumstances and populations.

The semester-long program includes four workshops and is set to complete in May 2018. To read more about the SJSU eCampus Immersive Learning Institute, visit the program web page.