NC State Shares Immersive Learning Across the Country

Mike Cuales (front left) and David Woodbury (front right) give a presentation at San Diego State University about immersive learning technologies and spaces. Cuales and Woodbury are at the front of the room and there are participants sitting at tables engaged in their presentation.

Mike Cuales (front left) and David Woodbury (front right) give a presentation at San Diego State University about immersive learning technologies and spaces. Photo courtesy of San Diego State University.

NC State’s exploration and implementation of immersive learning technologies are being shared far and wide. 

With a recent invitation to visit San Diego State University (SDSU), DELTA’s Creative Director Mike Cuales and NC State University Libraries’ Department Head of Learning Spaces and Services David Woodbury expanded on NC State’s initiatives related to immersive technologies and learning spaces.  

The pair toured SDSU’s Virtual Immersive Teaching and Learning (VITaL) environments in addition to giving a presentation on topics such as design and development of immersive learning projects with faculty collaboration, technology lending, content sharing and hands-on demonstrations of virtual and augmented reality projects.

SDSU’s Chief Academic Technology Officer and Associate Vice President for Instructional Technology James Frazee, Ph.D., extended the invite in the spirit of continuous improvement surrounding immersive learning with experiential technologies such as augmented, virtual and mixed reality. 

“I was blown away by the generosity of Frazee and his team,” Cuales says. 

Woodbury adds, “It was inspiring to see the enthusiasm and excitement of the leadership transmit across all staff.” 

Key Takeaways 

In addition to the tour and presentation, Cuales and Woodbury attended the 2019 Cal State Tech Conference where Cuales served on a panel titled “VITaL and the SDSU VR Club: A Collaborative, Student Centered Approach to Immersive Simulation Development.”

Mike Cuales shows a participant the GD 303 augmented reality application. Both people are looking down at a phone screen.
Mike Cuales shows a participant the GD 303 augmented reality application. Photo courtesy of San Diego State University.

Woodbury described how the VITaL team allows the student VR club to use the state-of-the-art facilities to develop their own mixed reality applications. 

Cuales adds, “The SDSU VR Club was really impressive. The students are producing the same sort of work that we are doing here.” The student club at SDSU is inspiring Cuales and Woodbury to think about the next steps for facilitating and supporting students here at NC State.

Overall, Cuales and Woodbury note the remarkable lab spaces at SDSU and their exploration in cutting-edge immersive technology specifically in volumetric video for learning. 

“It’s validating to see what we’re working on and how other universities are doing it. They are working on very impressive immersive technology projects driven by real-world challenges,” Cuales adds. 

The folks from SDSU also had a positive reaction to the projects and initiatives at NC State. 

“We have support for the faculty to dream big and have their dreams realized through DELTA, then the Libraries provides spaces and technology to get these innovations into the hands of students and faculty,” Woodbury says. 

Keeping an Open Line of Communication

The partnership and idea sharing between NC State and SDSU doesn’t end here. 

Cuales notes the impact of feedback from a completely different audience. “There’s a common thread of what we’re trying to tackle with a lot of solutions and ways to accomplish the goal,” he says. “Having another institution and network of people who are doing great stuff, and being able to reach out and receive honest and informed answers from trusted partners is invaluable.” 

Along with candid conversations and feedback, the two institutions will link up again at the EDUCAUSE Annual Conference 2019. 

Woodbury will be giving an interactive presentation with Frazee and others from SDSU, Sonoma State University and Penn State University about the projects, initiatives and cross-campus partnerships related to XR teaching and learning coming out of NC State.