VizLab hosts the 1st Hands-On Virtual Reality Workshop

On October 11th, the VizLab hosted the first Hands-on Virtual Reality Workshop, sponsored by the Minnesota State university system.

These days it’s all about the Oculus Quest

The workshop began with an educational portion that focused on forming a common understanding of what VR is and what its implications are in educational contexts.   Attendees  were  for  the  most  part,  faculty  members  from  other  MN  State  schools. They  were  interested  in  learning  how  VR  is  being  used  in  other  schools.

After the orientation to VR, workshop members were split up into 2 groups.  One group went to the VizLab production space to get some hands-on experience with the Oculus Quest, and some commonly available apps, like Beat Saber and Richie’s Plank Experience.

The other group got to try out the first public demonstration of the MN-NICE prototype.  4 users shared a virtual space, which was mapped to a physical lab on the ISELF 2nd floor.   First they were presented with a duplicate of the lab space they were in, except the virtual lab was filled with puzzles such as a physical Towers of Hanoi puzzle.  Users are able to see avatars of each other, and work together in the same virtual space.


The virtual scene then switched to a space station where users could view models of the solar system, the brain, the heart, a Jellyfish.   This is an attempt to prove the concept of the shared virtual space as an effective educational medium.


We worked diligently up to the reveal of MN NICE—careful preparation was key in being able to do MN NICE justice for this presentation. We were thrilled to receive a very positive response from workshop members on the MN NICE framework.

The MN NICE framework also provides a ‘presenter client’, or  the Game Master as we’re calling it, which allows a presenter to control the environment the users share.   The presenter can control the environment the user share; switching scenes, changing the lighting, controlling animations and other scripted events.

The VR in Education Workshop wrapped up with a concluding speech on the expansion and implementation of VR technologies in the Minnesota State university system, along with some final words from Minnesota State’s Open Education and Innovation Program Coordinator, Stephen Kelly.

Mr. Kelly announced a new program established by Minnesota State: Extended Reality (XR) Community of Practice (CoP). The CoP is an educational forum dedicated to the sharing of information regarding advancements in virtual (VR), augmented (AR), and mixed reality (MR). Stay tuned for more info on this exciting development in the Minnesota State university system.

We’d like to thank everyone who came and brought their enthusiasm and passion for technologies that are shaping our world. The Hands-On Virtual reality workshop will be repeated again, Friday October 25th at the Rochester Community Technical College.

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