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Virtual and Augmented Reality Now Available in the Library

Thursday, Dec. 07, 2017

person wearing virtual reality glasses

Utah State University students and faculty now have full access to virtual reality in the USU Merrill-Cazier Library. Faculty are encouraged to incorporate virtual reality in their curriculum, giving students the ability to learn course material in a more hands-on approach.

“Virtual and augmented reality are going to have a huge impact on higher education, and USU is at the forefront of implementing it,” said Todd Hugie, director of Library Information Technology. “This technology allows students the ability to be in an environment where they live and interact with what they are learning. It is becoming available in almost all subjects taught at USU.”

Using more technology in a class increases student engagement and success in mastering course content. Piotr Runge, a mathematics lecturer at USU-Tooele, believes one reason many students struggle with math is because they are 3D concepts being taught in 2D. Virtual reality allows students to view these concepts in 3D so they can visualize and grasp the information easier.

Hugie believes the amount of money invested in these technologies is proof of their future impact. “The technology industry invested over $2 billion in virtual and augmented reality research and development in 2016, and they are predicted to generate $150 billion by 2020. In other words, virtual and augmented reality are going to be huge.”

Three departments worked together to make virtual and augmented reality available in the library: Library Information Technologies, Academic & Instructional Services, and Information Technology Computer Labs. Each pulled their resources and have created a space where students can work with the new technology.

To gain access to the virtual and augmented reality, students simply log into the Library’s Group Study reservation system and reserve room 113. Students then go to the circulation desk and check out the virtual reality controllers. The rest of the equipment is set up and ready to use, and IT Computer Labs have a desk outside of the room where help and instructions can be obtained.

Contact: Gary Egbert, 435-797-1476

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