Virtual reality prepares Ohio State students for the real world

As students at Ohio State University learn their trades, virtual reality can play an important role in preparing them for the environments and situations they will encounter in the workplace, administrators say.

At the College of Education and Human Ecology (EHE), students preparing to become junior high and high school English and journalism teachers use virtual reality to visualize the concepts they are studying, Professor Detra Price-Dennis said .

“The focus of our course is on new media and journalism,” she said. “One way to help them think about new media journalism is to actually have a lot of media creation experience and think about using the storytelling tool.”

Price-Dennis curated a virtual gallery based on concepts related to new media and journalism.

After the students explored the virtual gallery using VR headsets, Price-Dennis gave them “the opportunity to create a portal to their personal space, where they curated a collection of artifacts they made throughout the course and which reflect their understanding of the potential.” and the role of new media and journalism with their pedagogy.”

Price-Dennis said she encourages her students to think about the opportunities virtual reality offers to enhance the learning environment, as well as the challenges faced by students in counties with limited access to advanced technology.

When designing the curriculum, future teachers should “think about the benefits of this particular tool and the barriers it might create for different groups of students,” she said. “As prospective teachers, do they need a really grounded, engaging experience (with virtual reality) so they can think about how to integrate the curriculum with this technology?”

Nurse-led research to improve patient outcomes

The College of Nursing is using virtual reality as a method to educate future healthcare professionals, said Michael Ackerman, clinical professor and director of the Master of Healthcare Innovation Program.

“We have a long history of simulation in college and we had the traditional simulation center where the simulation is really based on puppets,” he said, referring to medical devices that simulate human bodies. “About two or three years ago I really thought that we need to move towards — we call it augmented reality — because it’s not just virtual reality, it’s a continuum of different kinds of reality.”

The College of Nursing received a grant from the American Nurses Association’s Reimagining Nursing Initiative. According to the organization’s website, the college was one of only 10 honorees nationwide, who received a total of $14 million to develop nurse-led projects to improve patient access, care and outcomes.

The College of Nursing has partnered with College of Engineering Professor Mike Rayo to deliver a program he developed to help nurses analyze patient data and predict future treatment needs.

“Each of our 670 undergraduate students had at least one simulation, and most of them had other simulations in virtual reality, from patient scenarios to soft skill training to community health,” Ackerman said. “We have a scenario about homelessness and what it’s like to be a homeless person. That was the project and we are starting the second year.”

Collaborate across disciplines

The College of Arts and Sciences Advanced Computing Center for the Arts and Design (ACCAD) also manages several research projects involving virtual reality components. One of those projects, Eyes of Mariam VR, is an interactive experience that follows the journey of a fictional character named Mariam. The character is an African teenage girl who faces traumatic events that jeopardize her goal of getting an education. The project is supported by an interdisciplinary research pilot award from the Ohio State Translational Data Analytics Institute.

“The power of virtual reality, compared to other mediums, lies in the ability to truly step into another person’s shoes and experience reality from another person’s perspective,” said Shadrick Addy, an assistant professor in the Department of Design, who is from Liberia originates . In the Eyes of Mariam VR project, “in a sense, you have an experience of dealing with the consequences of not having access to education at a traumatic time for these students.”

Other projects ACCAD supports include Vascular Surgery VR, which allows medical residents to analyze data for training purposes.

“One thing about using virtual reality is that it requires expertise from multiple disciplines,” Addy said. “Working on these projects allows me to work with people from computer science, statistics, communication departments, etc. This allows us to truly collaborate and expand our reach. The more minds you have, the more expertise you have in the team working on these projects, the more meaningful it becomes.”

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