Limestone Students Present Virtual Reality Research At Symposium

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Tuesday, January 31, 2017 - 9:15am

Envision a world where, without leaving your living room, you can visit exotic locations, improve your athletic training, receive psychological therapy, or experience story-telling without picking up a book.

Imagine it no more. That world is a reality, as Limestone College students proved during a symposium held last semester at the A.J. Eastwood Library.

Four students from Dr. Randy Nichols' Digital Literacies I class presented research on the developing medium of Virtual Reality at the Student Research Symposium in December.

Virtual Reality (VR) is an emerging field characterized by applications that provide users with a heightened sense of presence in a virtual environment. The technology may be in its infancy, but Limestone has already begun testing the limits of the equipment.

Using an off-the-shelf VR headset that works with their smartphones, the students showed how people can take part in Virtual Reality scenarios that are creating shifts in the way they communicate, learn, work, and interact with each other.

“Our students' research reveals the many promises and possibilities of the emerging field of Virtual Reality,” Dr. Nichols explained. “Their presentations showed that the future is, in many ways, already here.

“Virtual Reality has so many workplace applications that can increase organizations’ productivity and profitability,” he continued, “The research presented at the symposium shows how our students are keeping current in the ever-shifting technological landscape of the 21st century. This symposium is evidence of our commitment in the Professional Communication program at Limestone to prepare students to engage and impact their future fields in the increasingly-digital world of communications.”

At the symposium, the Limestone students explained the implications of the up-and-coming medium. Shalyn Dougherty presented on the impact of VR on the Travel Industry, while Brandon Rivera presented on the current uses of Virtual Reality in sports training. Alexis Harris (seen in accompanying photo) showed how VR is used in psychological therapy, and Ryan Velo presented on the effects of Virtual Reality on story-telling.

The students incorporated social media applications as research tools, using Flipboard, Pinterest, and other apps, to aggregate and archive their research findings. They also displayed their research via the Pecha Kucha format, with each presenting 20 slides for 20 seconds each.

Students had headsets on hand for symposium visitors to experience Virtual Reality first hand.

The presentations will soon be available through Limestone's Digital Collections, and shared with colleges and universities internationally via the Shared Shelf platform.