Virtual Reality at Notre Dame de Namur by Erick M. Mora-Hernandez

NDNU is a leader in higher education when it comes to using digital technologies to improve learning and to conduct advanced world class research with the help of Dr. Barry’s vision and NDNU administration.

Notre Dame de Namur University’s progressive thinking to support the creation and development of a mixed reality lab adds a remarkable dimension to its learning community. NDNU has been adjusting well to its high in technology and fast pace community which allows it to keep up and have the VR Center it does today.

The most important reason behind the creation of this lab was to meet student basic learning needs which it has been proving to do very well. In this data and technology driven community, students need to be experience and be adept with emerging technologies in order to succeed. NDNU students are being given the opportunity to become adept and be creative in this increasingly digitally mediated world.

“Our lab mission is to have every NDNU student become a competent user of emerging society, relevant technology, and to support the development of every student to be a responsible and ethical citizen when in the digital world,” said Dr. Barry.

The VR Center has hosted a digital art course for the graduate art department this semester. It’s one of the first fully digital art courses to be held in a Masters of Art Therapy program in the country at a small private university. They will be taking digital art and 3D printing to a San Francisco Bay area public art exhibit in October.

The lab offers science students learning experiences in virtual reality, augmented reality, and holographic computing. Most notably, anatomy courses are held in the lab multiple times per week. Math students can use programs where they can write equations anywhere, see graphs and shapes and manipulate them however they want.They also support learning in business, psychology, history, environmental studies, political science, philosophy and sociology.

“No matter what major, students can find something in virtual reality that they can use to improve their knowledge and to have fun learning,” said Mohammad “Wing” Baslamh, student at NDNU.

It also focuses on non-academic skills such as team building, meditation, and collaborative and individual play. Event day is held on wednesdays, students use the lab for whatever games they want and have fun. The VR Center team, Dr. Barry, Maria, Wing, Alex, Richard, and Jorge, want to make it useful for students who want to do something for fun and destress.

Numerous students visit the VR Center to play and explore immersive video games and environments as well to relax and unwind from the stress of a university day.

“This is a special place where the energy and the connection people have through the shared use of technology is ineffable. You have to experience it to understand what alternative reality based  learning and play is about.” Dr. Barry

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