866-266-7496 imex@psu.edu

Bring the World into Your Classroom with the Experience Catalogue

Each summer, Media Commons/Maker Commons/Immersive Experiences Lab takes on a series of summer projects that seek to improve existing services and resources, create wholly new opportunities for our communities or explore emerging tools and trends to see where they might offer applications in and around teaching and learning.

As he’s worked in the IMEX Lab, watched students experiment with the hardware and talked with faculty about their ideas for integrating 360º video and VR into courses, consultant Dan Getz recognized that there would be a real need for a clearinghouse of vetted materials to share when requests were made. Dan brought the start of this idea with him to our summer staff retreat and kick off for the long (78 items) list of ideas we had amassed to tackle before the Fall and, after sharing it with Nick Smerker, western campuses consultant, the Experience Catalogue began to take shape.

A sample of 360º content from mid-Summer 2018

It became clear early on that 360º content and VR materials would need to be separated owing to the differing hardware requirements and amount of interactivity implicit in the two classes of content. It was also evident that being able to filter within those subsets by something like a teaching discipline would be desirable. With this in mind, a basic sketch of how individual items would be populating a main gallery took form.

However, it quickly became abundantly obvious that using literal colleges and academic programs would get more and more out of hand the further in we went. Luckily, reference librarian, Amy E Rustic suggested using the Undergraduate Admissions office’s Majors by Area of Interest as a much more succinct alternative. Back on course, we continued refining the template we would use for each curated experience that we found.

A complete view of a single 360º experience

Delving further into posting these videos and apps, we discovered that it would be in a lot of ways beneficial to make clear, at a glance, how guided (360º) or interactive (VR) each experience is. Enter the Level of Guidance/Interactivity meter, with accompanying explanation, that can quickly reveal how involved the creator was in imbuing the content with a sense of directionality or, in the case of VR, how much the viewer can affect the world into which they are placed.

As the template was modified for use with VR, it was also given a set of quick download buttons for the various Platforms that are currently supported by IMEX Lab and available to students, faculty and staff there-in.

Tailored change to the template allows for easy identification of Level of Guidance (360º) and fast downloads for various Platforms (VR)

So, where to from here? Well, we know that a key to success is going to be getting useful, consistent metadata attached to each and every experience, so we are having a conversation with Ruth Tillman in the cataloging and metadata services area of University Libraries and are excited to see how this expertise can improve our resource.

We are also really interested in hearing from you about what content you would most benefit from in your classes. We’ve put together a suggestion submission form and would love to have your input on how you want to see the Experience Catalogue grow.