University set to create virtual reality classrooms and teaching resources

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Credit: Tony Webster on flickr

Kelton Holsen
Reporter

Project Mobius will be piloted over the next three years.

The University of Glasgow Centre for the Study of Perceptual Experience, and Glasgow-based VR startup Sublime have announced plans to create virtual reality classrooms and teaching resources. The initiative has been named Project Mobius; it will be piloted over the course of the next three years and will feature two VR labs that can be used by 15 students at once.

The project will cost the university £1 million and it will be funded by a grant from Innovate UK. The purpose of Mobius is to study and enhance how students learn. The data gathered from the project will be anonymous and will be used to shape upcoming VR experiences in higher education to ensure for the best possible learning outcomes.

Dr Neil McDonnell, Lord Kelvin Adam Smith Research Fellow in Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality (Philosophy), said: “This is a very exciting project which will help us gain a deeper understanding of how people learn and retain information. This technology will allow university students to travel inside a human body or take a visit to an important geological area from their lecture.

“The more students use the VR classrooms, the more data is generated on how students grasp and understand what they are being taught through this medium. This allows us to respond, evolve our approach and build exceptional teaching resources.”

Project Director for Sublime Fergus Bruce said: “Sublime are thrilled to be the recipients of such a significant innovation grant – which is key to projects like this getting off the ground – and to be collaborating with one of the world’s leading universities, right on our doorstep.

“On one hand, there is much still to be understood about the nature of the learning process, and how we can change and improve it; and on the other, education per se contains some of the more immediate, difference-making use cases to be found amongst the huge opportunities offered by new visualisation technology.”

After the initial testing of the project, its data will be used to build a platform to support the myriad applications that will be needed in order to make use of VR learning across disciplines. The eventual aim is to translate these VR resources into other languages and make it available to universities worldwide.