Joining Minghao Rostami’s prestigious National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER grant, which started this August and runs for five years, three other professors in the Department of Mathematics—Jani Onninen, Dan Coman and Lixin Shen—were awarded NSF grants for their ongoing work, and two…
Jason Webb G’18 Receives Virtual Reality Grant from Unity and Meta Immersive Learning
Jason Webb G ’18, an instructional analyst with ITS Online Learning Services, adjunct professor in the Newhouse School and instructor in the College of Visual and Performing Arts, recently received a “Create with VR” grant from Unity and Meta Immersive Learning. As part of the grant, Webb will receive 15 virtual reality (VR) headsets. The grant is awarded by three-dimensional (3D) content platform Unity and Meta, the parent company of virtual reality brand Oculus, as well as Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and other apps and services.
Webb plans to use the VR headsets to “help introduce students in the 3D animation and visual effects class to new ways to tell stories using 3D models along with trainings for faculty to help introduce VR to the classroom,” he says. “For my research, it will help dive into how educators can use VR to immerse students in the content.”
The grant comes at a time when extended reality is becoming more common in higher education, both in physical and virtual classrooms and in research and creative settings.
“Over the last few years, we have seen a huge swing in the use of XR (extended reality) in the classrooms, whether it be for medical, industrial, storytelling or STEM classes,” Webb says. “With increases in technology power and design, it is getting easier to access the technology for consumption and development.”
In addition to receiving the grant, Webb is now certified as a VR Educator in Unity. This semester, he will be a keynote panelist at the Inclusive Campus of the Future Conference and give a presentation on the topic of “Extended Reality in Research” at the EDUCAUSE Annual Conference.
Webb also is an active participant in the Extended Reality (XR) group at Syracuse University.
“Students and faculty can join our XR at Syracuse group that meets virtually online twice a semester, and they can reach out to me (firstname.lastname@example.org) to join the group,” says Webb. “We also have the extendedreality.syr.edu website that updates information on XR projects on campus.”