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Faculty Stories

This section of the IMEX Lab site aims to give our faculty clients from across the Commonwealth a space to share their stories: where their teaching activities came from, what goals they had for their students and how immersive technologies helped bring it all together.

To schedule a consultation, plan an assignment or a training session for your class please get in touch.

CRIMJ 412 at Penn State Greater Allegheny

Kate Mclean teaches as an Associate Professor of Administration of Justice and Criminal Justice at Penn State Greater Allegheny. Her research explores the intersection between criminal justice and public health; her past and present projects specifically consider how the simultaneous criminalization and medicalization of illicit drug use impact individual identity, community health, and other social institutions.

Dr Mclean leveraged immersive technology in her CRIMJ 412 course to enable her students to empathize with prisoners reentering society, particularly after spending time within solitary confinement.

Greater Allegheny VR Class

Education Abroad in Eberly College of Science

Joel Waters serves as the Study Abroad Coordinator within the Eberly College of Science, a role that sees him not only teaching a seminar course on the global education experience but also leading a program to Italy that looks the history, culture and science of anatomy. He’s a committed traveler and shares his passion for learning through international experiences with students through all manner of events around the University Park campus and the Commonwealth.

Through 360º video and immersive headsets, Joel has found a way of connecting potential participants to embodied experiences of study abroad captured by their peers. These 360º videos are building an ever-growing library that gives a first-hand view of the many opportunities available to STEM students through Study Abroad.

Education Aboard Photo

BIOL 164 at Penn State Behrend

Dr Lisa Mangel teaches in the School of Science’s Biology department at Penn State Behrend. In her BIOL 164 (Anatomy and Physiology II) course, she has historically provided students with a variety of hands on activities during lab periods to encourage learning in as many modalities as possible. When approached with an offer to try Human Anatomy VR from Virtual Medicine, she was eager to give her class an even more immersive tool for practicing and perfecting knowledge of the human body.

Dr Mangel’s participation in an IMEX Lab pilot, supported by her local VAR Lab team, allowed her to envision how a new tool could expand her teaching. She intends to further integrate Human Anatomy VR in future courses with students acting as “camera operators”, creating guided tours that they can annotate for one another as well as potential patients

Human Anatomy VR Model

HORT 269 + 368 at University Park

Dr Margaret Crowley Hoffman was able to successfully integrate immersive content into her Landscape Contracting coursework as part of a two year-long Faculty Fellows project, offering a 360º tour viewing activity as well as two 360º tour creation activities across two Fall semester HORT 269 and two Spring HORT 368 classes. Dr Hoffman developed and revised the creation assignments and rubrics tailored to working first with Google Tours and then with Thinglink. Students in HORT 368 integrated the Thinglink tours into their final client design proposal presentations, merging on-site content capture with 3D rendering output and live demonstration.

Dr Hoffman continues her Faculty Fellows work with ongoing formal IRB approved research and classroom instruction around immersive content with support from IMEX Lab and Learning Design staff. Margaret is also actively pursuing future-facing technologies through exploration with the Interactive Experiences team that includes augmented and virtual reality tools with applications to Landscape Contracting. 

PILLAR Project Site

Biology 220W at Beaver

Dr Cassandra Miller-Butterworth brings immersive experiences into her Biology 220W (Populations & Communities) for several reasons. Students traditionally found the multiple-weeks lectures on global biomes to be tedious and the visual aids to be less than memorable when it came time to test their knowledge. By leveraging 360º videos of terrestrial and aquatic environments, Dr Miller-Butterworth is able to not only increase engagement with the course content, but also retention of facts about each or the biomes presented.

The immersive content is packaged together by IMEX Lab with an online resource, the HHMI BiomeViewer, that allows students to put video content in context on a globe. Cassandra also provides a “field notebook” activity encouraging students to reflect on their experiences and make observations about the places they visit through headsets in and out of class. In so doing, she is able to reduce the number of formal lectures on the topic of biomes to one as well.

BIOL 220W Activity Page

Let’s Hear Your Story…

If you’ve been using immersive activities to help your students engage with the topics of the course you teach, why not share your experiences with your colleagues across the Commonwealth? Whether you’ve been working with IMEX Lab to start this endeavor or you’ve just recently partnered up with us, we’d be happy to get your story online.

There are a few easy ways to get started: You can either run off the four quick questions, find someone to ask them and stop by a One Button Studio on campus, set up in your home office with our One Button Studio at Home guidance – or contact your location’s consultant to film your responses as a recorded Zoom meeting. Our team will handle the editing and uploading.