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Getting the Most out of the Experience Catalogue

helpful tips + classroom examples

Starting with the Basics

Whether using it as part of an in-class activity or having your students access Experience Catalogue items on their own to enhance their understanding of course topics, these tips should help you make the most our resources and ensure a smooth interaction.

Choose Your Experiences

The Experience Catalogue has lots of 360º video clips and VR apps, both chosen by the IMEX Lab team as well as suggested by faculty across the University. Select your Discipline and browse the clips that are already available to get started. Adding the Catalogue items to your Canvas course or, in the case of 360º, the videos themselves to a YouTube playlist is a great way of getting organized and guiding your students right to what they need to see.

Not seeing what you would like in the Catalogue?

If you can’t find a 360º video or VR app that suits your course or project, let us know: The IMEX Lab team wants to grow the Experience Catalogue based on the community’s needs as an item added for one instructor will almost certainly help someone else in the Commonwealth teaching similar courses. Fill out our Experience Suggestion form today.

Will we be helping your class?

If you will be bringing your students to the IMEX Lab or one of our consultants will be visiting your classroom, please let us know what Experience Catalogue items you would like to have them view. The team will work with you to best organize content for the most impactful class activity.

Get Familiar with Your Headset

The IMEX Lab has several different headsets available and students who will be using the space will always have the help of a dedicated consultant while working with these devices. However, if you are using headsets in your classroom, the Library, etc it may be helpful to take a few moments to familiarize yourself with their operation before you get started.

Using View Master, Etc Headsets in Cardboard Mode

For an overview video of using Cardboard devices more generally, check out this demonstration.

When using the View Master headset, it is important that students load the 360º video content in the YouTube app as this is the only way to trigger Cardboard mode. This is what they’ll do:

After Loading a Video in the YouTube App

Cardboard Mode Button
Tap on the Cardboard mode icon in the lower right of the video playback interface.

In Cardboard Mode

You will now see a stereoscopic view of the video, ready to be placed in a headset. The View Master has a line on the inside that corresponds to the center line in Cardboard mode. Line these up, close the headset and use the trigger on the outside to press Play.

View Master

Use the QR Codes

If you are using the Experience Catalogue in your classroom and guiding students to the clips by having them open the items there, be sure to look for the Watch in Class toggle on each. Clicking on this toggle will present you with a QR code that students can quickly scan from the screen at the front of the room, lab computers or their own laptop.

Scanning QR Codes on iOS (iPhone)

iPhone’s iOS operating system includes QR code scanning in the native Camera app. To scan a code from the Watch in Class toggle, simply:

After Loading the Experience Catalogue Item

Open Toggle
Click on the Watch in Class toggle to show the QR code.

Camera App (Landscape)
Open the Camera app and point it at the QR code, moving closer (or using zoom) if instructed to do so. Highlight the code in the yellow box. Tap the Open in YouTube suggestion that appears.

Item in YouTube

The item will now open in the YouTube app, ready to be placed in Cardboard mode, if needed.

Scanning QR Codes on Android

Many Android phones do not have built in QR code reading functions. For this reason, a separate app is required. We recommend the free QR Code Reader (by TWMobile).

Note: Some Android phone models (like the Pixel) do have QR code reading built-in to the native Camera app. If yours fits this category, skip to the next section and look for this shade of blue.

Downloading and Preparing QR Code Reader

QR Code Reader Download

Search for the app via the Google Play store and tap Install.

Allow Access

Launch the QR Code Reader app and, when prompted, Allow access to the camera.

After Loading the Experience Catalogue Item

Catalogue Item
Click on the Watch in Class toggle to show the QR code.

QR Code Reader Scan

With the QR Code Reade app open, point your phone at the QR code, moving closer (or using zoom) if instructed to do so. Highlight the code in the box that appears.

YouTube URI

Tap the Browse website button when the YouTube link suggestion appears.

Pixel Camera

On Pixel, Etc Devices: With the Camera app open, point your device at the QR code.

Google Lens Icon

When it is detected, a link will become available. To open in the YouTube app, tap on the Google Lens icon.

Tap the Text

Tap the link that appears once Lens has read the QR code to open the video in the YouTube app.

YouTube App

The item will now open in the YouTube app, ready to be placed in Cardboard mode, if needed.

Building Assignments

Creating an encompassing assignment that makes use of Experience Catalogue items is a great way to get your class to engage more deeply with immersive content. Get inspired by various ways instructors across the Commonwealth have worked with IMEX Lab to develop their own activities. 

Real World Examples

COMM 260W + 370

News Tours + Autism Empathy


Students in Rosemary Martinelli’s concurrent Communications courses, 260W (Newswriting) and 370 (Public Relations) used 360º video as a means of getting closer to course subject matter. For the news-focused course, tours of broadcast facility, press briefing rooms, film backlots and more provided insider views of how media is made. In the PR class, students working with a non-profit that provides services to young adults on the Autism spectrum leveraged simulations to better understand the experience typical of someone with the disorder. This opportunity for empathy will help inform their understanding of the community served by their client while they create a PR strategy.


Understanding Global Biomes

Description + Materials

Students in BIOL 220W begin their course by studying all of the planet’s biomes. To further connect the HHMI BiomeViewer tool to the real world, Cassandra Miller-Butterworth asked IMEX Lab to add 360º videos representative of the 12 terrestrial (+ 6 marine) biomes. In-class, students used the BiomeViewer to find the coordinates of each clip, learn more about its characteristics and then pay a visit before taking notes on a hand out sheet.

Visit Activity | Download Handout

AFAM 409

20th Century America Field Trip


Students in AFAM 409 were given the opportunity to explore significant moments in 20th Century American history through 360º video clips. During class, students gathered at the Library where they worked in pairs of two to select 3 videos from the 12 clips (6 suggested by their instructor) in the Experience Catalogue that related to class, then write a short reflection for each.


Women in Different Worlds


Students in WMNST 105N were exploring the concept of “women in different worlds” throughout the entire course. To help take her students out of Erie, PA and around the globe, Audrey Thompson had IMEX Lab add to the Experience Catalogue 9 videos representing women who are typical (or notably unusual) for each the regions that were covered in class. Students then worked in pairs to view them in-class on View Masters.

IMEXcursions + Tagline

Let’s use immersive technologies to get out of the same four walls and explore the world around us.

IMEX[cursions] aim to do just that: By leveraging 360º Video, Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality, each field trip will take viewers to the far corners of the globe, allowing for up-close and hands-on discovery of other cultures – their historical landmarks, cultural traditions, favorite cuisines and much more.

Take IMEX[cursions] to your class. 🍏

Are you an instructor looking to bring one of the IMEX[cursion] experiences into your classroom? Our sample assignment, broadly centered on any IMEX[cursion], presents useful ideas for structuring in-or-out of class activities that can be completed by students working in a variety of instructional modalities.

Sharing Feedback

If you have used the Experience Catalogue in or out of the classroom with your students, we would love to hear from you (and them). We will be continually improving our resources for supporting immersive content in teaching and learning and your feedback goes a long way towards that goal. At the end of an activity, please feel free to have your students fill out our Experience Catalogue Feedback form.

Share Your Thoughts with IMEX Lab