Your Name and Title: Jonathan Bradley, PhD - Head of Studios and Innovative Technologies
Library, School, or Organization Name: University Libraries at Virginia Tech
Co-Presenter Name(s): N/A
Area of the World from Which You Will Present: Blacksburg, Virginia - United States
Language in Which You Will Present: English
Target Audience(s): Higher-Ed library faculty and staff, K-12 technology professionals
Short Session Description (one line): Libraries are poised to become the center for collaboration on immersive environments projects on University campuses by bringing in and connecting the varied talent spread across a campus that is required to develop a virtual reality experience.
Full Session Description (as long as you would like): Creating a virtual reality experience requires more skills than any one unit on a college campus teaches. It requires UI designers, game designers, 3D artists, coders, and project leaders. Most departments on campus can struggle to find collaborators within other departments to help make their research or development projects come to fruition, which is where libraries can act as a hub for collaboration and bring these varying talents together. At the University Libraries at Virginia Tech, we've built strong programming around immersive environments, including 3 spaces that provide development, testing, and high-end research tools to the community, a tech-lending program that makes much of the same equipment available outside the library, expert consults on topics related to immersive environments, an immersive environments workshop series, and an in-house research program that facilitates collaborations internal to VT and manages external grant and business partnerships. Since building this programming, we've facilitated numerous internal and external grants, corporate sponsered research, dozens of students learning and working on immersive environments projects as part of employment with the Libraries, and the training, planning and execution of many individual student research or personal projects. This work has also allowed us to work with local K-12 organizations, including helping build virtual reality spaces in a local middle school, training local teachers on virtual reality and development software like Unity, and bringing University-created educational experiences into those classrooms. In this session, I'll discuss what it took to build this program, how each part of our programming brings projects and researchers together, and ways to push this work outside of the University campus and into the surrounding communities.
Websites / URLs Associated with Your Session: https://lib.vt.edu/create-share/virtual-environments.html