VR-based Delivery of Instructional Materials using Intuitive HCI in STEM Curriculum

Magesh Chandramouli


— This paper explains the design of a prototype desktop and augmented Virtual Reality (VR) framework as a medium to deliver instructional materials to the students in an introductory computer animation course. This framework was developed as part of a Teaching Innovation Grant at a Midwestern University to propose some cost-effective and innovative instructional frameworks to engage and stimulate students. This paper presents VR modules and assessments with some modified techniques to the earlier version presented at the annual conference. In this paper, the authors also show the relevance of the methods used in the context of other STEM curriculum in addition to graphics and modeling couses.   Furthermore, the authors present a  Desktop VR has been chosen as a medium for this study due to the ease-of-access and affordability; this framework can be visualized and accessed with the available computers in PC labs available in university campuses.   Various STEM concepts including manufacturing education, nanotechnology, chemistry, and biology are presented in addition to ‘computer graphics, modeling & animation’, instead of being presented using conventional methods such as notes or power point presentations, are presented in an interactive manner on a desktop display. This framework allows the users to interact with the objects on the display not only via the standard mouse and keyboard, but also using multiple forms of HCI such as Touchscreen, Touchpad, and 3D Mouse.  Hence, the modules were developed from scratch for access via regular desktop PCs.  Such a framework helps effective pedagogical strategies such as active learning (AL) and project-based learning (PBL), which are especially relevant to a highly lab-oriented course such as this course titled ‘Introduction to Animation’. Finally, the framework has also been tested on a range of VR media to check its accessibility. On the whole, this proposed framework can be used to not only teach basic modeling and animation concepts such as spatial coordinates, coordinate systems, transformation, and parametric curves, but it is also used to teach basic graphics programming concepts. 

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