The Virtual Immersive Teaching and Learning (VITaL) initiative at San Diego State University (SDSU), launched in 2017, was honored with the Reimagine Education Silver Award in Virtual/Augmented Reality. The awards, billed as the Oscars for higher education, are presented through a partnership between a British education company and the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business. The global competition included 16 categories and this year featured 1,184 projects from 39 countries that were evaluated by 160 international judges.
As a finalist in the Virtual Reality/Augmented Reality (VR/AR) category, SDSU’s Senior Academic Technology Officer, Dr. James Frazee, was invited to the Reimagine Education Conference in San Francisco, to pitch VITaL’s ability to improve teaching and learning and to leverage quality learning. Boiling nearly two years of immersive learning research, involving a variety of VR/AR and mixed-reality platforms, into a lightning-fast, seven-minute presentation was no simple feat.
Dr. Frazee was successful with his demonstration of SDSU’s rapid rise as an international leader in the field, and Instructional Technology Services (ITS) took home Silver, second only to Labster, the Gold winner and Danish company whose business is built around the development of interactive lab simulations which are now being utilized at Arizona State University in support of an online Bachelor of Science degree in Biology. When asked about the potential for VR/AR to disrupt education, Dr. Frazee said, “These environments enable low frequency, high risk experiences that would be impossible for learners to have in a conventional learning space.” He went on to say, “In 10-15 years, faculty from many disciplines will wonder how we ever taught without these enabling technologies.”
Frazee attributes the Reimagine Education win to the contributions and support the ITS Team made toward the inception of VITaL, particularly, Faculty Fellow Dr. Harsimran Baweja, and Instructional Design and Academic Media Lead Dr. Sean Hauze. As we continue to innovate and discover what is possible within immersive technologies for teaching, ITS looks forward to sharing what we learn with the greater SDSU and higher education communities.
For more information about the VITaL Initiative at SDSU, please visit https://its.sdsu.edu/vital/.