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UCM to Offer New Virtual Course Focusing on Augmented and Virtual Reality

By Janice Phelan, January 15, 2021

Mixed Reality Gigabit Lab

The University of Central Missouri (UCM) will launch a new course focusing on the emerging technologies of augmented and virtual reality this spring. The class, Introduction to Augmented and Virtual Reality is designed for pre-kindergarten through 12th-grade teachers, corporate trainers, instructional designers and post-secondary educators.


Adult learners completing the course will earn one continuing education unit (CEU) for professional development credit.


The online, instructor-led course is offered March 29 through April 30 and is taught by Dr. Lauren Hays, assistant professor of Educational Technology. Hays earned a Ph.D. in educational leadership from Northwest Nazarene University and has focused her research on topics such as the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, digital literacy, information literacy and educational development.


During November, UCM premiered its Mixed Reality Studio, located at the university’s Lee’s Summit campus. The studio’s goals are to advance state-of-the-art technology in VR and AR by developing new applications and educating the next generation of researchers, developers, entrepreneurs and technologists while collaborating with industry. The facility is equipped with various software and design platforms, multiple headset configurations, workstations, filming and graphic resources.


Introduction to Augmented and Virtual Reality will be UCM’s first course focusing on this growing technology. This instructor-led, engaging class begins with the history of AR and VR as well as future possibilities. Each module will introduce participants to examples of how to use augmented and virtual reality in educational settings.


Within educational environments, AR and VR provide numerous opportunities for students to engage in content, learn concepts, explore faraway places and be creative. Technology tools explored during the course include ClassVR, Merge Cube, Merge Headset, Google Cardboard, Microsoft Hololens, Oculus Quest, Magic Leap 2, HTC Vive Trackers, Lightform LF2 and HTC Vive.


In addition to this spring virtual course, UCM will offer a more advanced face-to-face course, Using Augmented and Virtual Reality in Education, tentatively planned for summer 2021. This hands-on course is designed for educators and trainers who have completed the introductory course as well as individuals with previous experience in AR and VR instruction. The course will be offered at UCM’s new Mixed Reality Studio at the Lee’s Summit campus with Dr. Lauren Hays serving as instructor. More information about this course will be available soon.


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