This story is from the category Education
Date posted: 03/09/2004
Students in Purdue?s CGT 519V class attend school in Iowa every week without ever leaving campus. The class is titled "Introduction to Virtual Environments" and meets every Tuesday and Thursday with a sister class from Iowa State through a real-time audiovisual link.
The jump is made possible through a virtual learning environment known as the Access Grid in the Envision Center for Data Perceptualization at Purdue.
The Access Grid is a classroom with two cameras facing the students and one camera facing the front. At each table there are several microphones that can be activated if a student wishes to be heard.
Lectures are traded off between the Iowa State instructor, Dr. Carolina Cruz-Neira, and the Purdue instructor, Laura Arns.
"This is the first time a full, four-credit course has been offered in the Access Grid learning environment," said Arns.
"We?re still exploring all the possibilities. We?d like to try connecting with a guest lecturer at some point who is from neither Purdue nor Iowa State."
The content of the course deals directly with virtual reality technology and applications. Connecting with the Iowa State class illustrates the benefits of a long-distance, virtual classroom, as Cruz-Neira is an expert in virtual reality applications.
"The best part about this class is having access to multiple professors simultaneously," said Adam Santone, a graduate student.
"Also, class size is no longer limited by the physical space of the classroom."
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