The Enterprisers Project: University CIO says simplicity is key for AR/VR adoption in education

This fall, students at Oral Roberts University (ORU) will immerse themselves in their studies, even though some of them may never set foot on campus. The University in Tulsa, Oklahoma is launching a new augmented and virtual reality platform that will play a big part in helping the university make good on its goal to bring its curriculum to anyone, anywhere on the globe. Beyond that, it’s just plain cool.

ORU is building its AR/VR initiative on top of the EON Reality Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality platform, says Michael Mathews, CIO at ORU. It bought the platform as part of the $8 million debt free Global Learning Center, which donors gave to allow the university to make no little plans and “do something phenomenal,” he says.

So ORU built a new Global Learning Center, an eight-classroom building that also includes a 700+-seat theater and an EON Icube virtual environment, in which participants can experience VR.

While that’s all well and good, the cool part is that the EON platform enables ORU to bring an AR/VR experience to anyone with a reasonably good internet connection. A simple piece of paper, akin to a business card, is the ticket to some 8,000 virtual objects that live in ORU’s EON library. Hold the paper up to a smartphone and the graphics card on the phone can “read” the library, enabling the user to open up any of the learning objects.

For example, Mathews filmed a video of himself accessing a virtual eyeball. In practice, a student could open up the eyeball and examine it, pulling off layers to see what’s underneath.

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2016-12-07T10:15:51+00:00