A new course being offered by Stanford University garnered some attention in the last few weeks for being the institution’s first class taught and held entirely in VR using Meta Quest 2 headsets.
Taught by Professor Jeremy Bailenson, Communication 166 deals with the various angles of emerging VR technology and its use cases. Bailenson, who you discusses the course in the video above, is the author of the seminal VR text Experience on Demand, which also is one of the class’ assigned readings.
Here’s a course description:
Virtual Reality is becoming mainstream, with more than ten million systems being used in the United States alone. This class examines VR from the viewpoint of various disciplines, including popular culture, engineering, behavioral science, and communication. Each student will receive an Oculus Quest 2 headset, and the bulk of our learning will occur while immersed in VR.
According to the course structure, students will sometimes use lecture time to take part in VR experiences by themselves (such as watching a 360 degree video in VR) or as a group (such as attending a meditation session in Altspace as a group). Class discussions take place in VR too, using Engage.
According to this site, 263 students took the course in 2021 using their own VR headsets and spent a shared 200,000 minutes in VR for the course.
The course attracted some attention last week when it was mentioned by Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg on his Facebook profile, where he revealed that the students are all using Quest 2 headsets.
Stanford University has a strong history with VR, with the Stanford VR Experience tour playing a strong role in Mark Zuckerberg’s decision to purchase Oculus in 2014.