professor helping a student set up the goggles for virtual reality

Experiencing Virtual Reality

By Andronica Owens
Web Content Contributor

On Oct. 16 students at Texas State University had the opportunity to immerse themselves into the world of virtual reality during a Virtual Reality Workshop during Mass Comm Week.

Mass Comm Week is an annual event hosted by the School of Journalism and Mass Communication (SJMC) at Texas State University. Each year the school brings in media professionals to host panels and events available to students to use as resources. The interactive panels gave students the opportunity to engage with the speakers and be part of the conversation surrounding life as a media professional.

The Virtual Reality Workshop allowed students interested in digital technology to utilize digital tools to experience a virtual reality. It was held on Tuesday and Thursday in the Innovation Lab in Old Main.

Jon Zmikly, senior lecturer, lead the workshop. Students were able to reserve a time slot and choose the virtual reality program they wanted to experience. The reservations were made available to students all over campus interested in trying out the new technology.

“This workshop serves as an opportunity for students outside of our department to come experience VR,” Zmikly said. “I wanted to make this a campus wide event to get everyone involved, not just the students in my class.”

The workshop was designed to give students a chance to experience a virtual reality and explore the resources available to students in the Innovation Lab. The HTC Vive and Samsung 360 were some of the tools offered to students during the workshop.

Juan Garcia Jimenez, junior, is a transfer student to Texas State and got to experience the new technology firsthand.

student using HTC goggles to play archery game
Students had the opportunity to experience virtual reality during Mass Comm Week. Photo by Andronica Owens.

“I’ve seen these from afar, but actually using them is completely different,” Garcia said. “They’re super immersive and fun to use. It’s almost like you forget where you are.”

According to the SJMC website, the MiLab allows students to use up and coming technologies such as drones, sensors and 360 video. The School of Journalism and Mass Comm also offers courses to students interested in digital technology during the fall and spring semesters.

“Since I have tried it myself, I thought it’d be really cool to allow students to learn about VR by teaching it in a storytelling capacity,” Zmikly said. “A lot of news organizations are experimenting with it, so I thought we should experiment with it too.”

While Mass Comm Week happens annually, the Innovation Lab located in Old Main is open to students throughout the academic year. Students interested in the latest digital tools are encouraged to visit the lab and experience the ones here at Texas State. For more information about the lab please visit the website.

Featured photo by Andronica Owens.

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