CH 222: Organic Chemistry Labs in Virtual Reality

As an Exploratory Grant, this project explored the benefits of immersive technology to help address limited access to lab-based education to a diverse population of students, such as deployed military and pregnant students. The team worked to capture five different face-to-face organic chemistry experiences in virtual reality. The experience transports the user into the lab room as if they were there in person.

Instructional Challenges

  • Several factors can keep students from attending labs in person, like military service, pregnancy and disabilities.
  • Remote students traditionally do not receive the help or benefits of working with a TA.
  • Remote students needed a way to participate in student-focused, experienced-based learning without being there in person.

Highlights/Solutions

  • Create comprehensive lab experiences in virtual reality.
    • Feature graphics, animations and videos to deliver information in a direct and engaging way.
  • Include trained TA’s in VR instruction to provide remote students with the support typically found in face-to-face labs.
    • TA’s that are chosen will have experience teaching the lab in person.
    • TA’s cover diverse populations, similar to the people you’d encounter every day on NC State’s campus and relatable to undergraduate students.
  • Capture a student’s point of view to emulate the face-to-face experience.
    • A GoPro Fusion 360° camera rests above a student stand-in’s nose, and body movement is limited to preserve the quality of the final experience.
    • Incorporate dynamic graphics and animations to demonstrate concepts.
    • “Pop up” graphics appear for students based on their progress and interaction.
  • Deliver a perfect lab scenario, complete with the resources of a traditional lab, but free from distractions and lengthy set ups.

Related Links:

DELTA News Article: Virtualizing Organic Chemistry Labs

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