Education

Drawing lessons from ancient art and new technologies, Husson U. launches Extended Reality Degree

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There are many digital gadgets that can make users feel as if they are traveling through time and space.But being immersed in another era or a different field feels better than VR headsets today.

The origin of this experience may come from an ancient art form: drama.

“As a set designer, I would essentially consider recreating the experience of augmented reality,” said Brave Williams, an associate professor at Hasson University in Maine. “This is an augmentation of reality for thousands of years.”

Now, Williams is helping his organization break through the boundaries of Shakespeare’s famous saying “The whole world is a stage.”

The professor used his experience in designing sets for the Shakespeare Festival in Alabama and teaching set design to college students to help Husson launch a new Extended Reality Bachelor’s Degree Program. This is the first one to put the organization in Drexel University with Savannah College of Art and Design.

The seeds for the degree program were sown in 2016, when Husson received an anonymous donation of $1 million to support research and teaching in virtual reality.This gift caused iEX Center On campus, a center for expanded reality research and learning.

At that time, Williams had integrated interactive media into his set design curriculum. But this donation inspired him to dig deeper into extended reality, which he defined as a media that is registered in a 3D space, interacts in real time, and combines real and virtual elements.

“I have been researching, participating in conferences-doing my best to absorb everything, reading everything I can read, observing everyone I can see,” said Williams, who is now the director of the iEX Center.

In order to expand the influence of the center, the university leaders decided to incorporate the extended reality into the university curriculum.An example is the development of AR Stagecraft, which is an application Transform students’ set design into an immersive experience What would the scenery look like if it were built on an empty stage.

An application that transforms a set design into an immersive experience. Provided by Husson University.

In the fall of 2018, Husson began developing a series of extended reality courses. One is an introductory course, which is now available online and is being used by high school students. The university then launched a multi-course certificate program designed for professionals who may be interested in incorporating XR into their work.right now Full degree program Mathematics, coding, communication and design courses will be combined, and tools such as i​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

The goal of creating programs with different intensity levels is to provide everyone with what Williams calls “seamlessly extended reality.”

“This [extended reality] The industry is developing very rapidly, but few people can keep up with understanding it and applying it in a useful way. This is a really big problem,” Williams said. “The students we are training can enter the school district and help them, or enter the company and help them understand that this is not as difficult as they thought. ”

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