OSU Introduces New VR Media Education Course for eSports Certificate Program | Local News


Oklahoma State University’s School of Media and Strategic Communications has incorporated a Virtual Reality Media Primer into the curriculum of the new Esports Certificate Program.

The course was first introduced this fall semester.

The Esports Certificate Program aims to provide OSU students with an introduction to the world of esports from a business and event planning perspective. Professor Skye Cooley takes an innovative approach to providing students in the program with the opportunity to engage with the evolution of virtual reality technology.

“OSU is one of the few major media programs in the country that has an esports component,” Cooley said. “I think we are, if not the first, certainly one of the first to essentially offer what is an all-virtual reality classroom.”

Students in the Esports Certificate Program are required to complete three special esports themed courses. The Virtual Reality Media Literacy course is offered as a special topic class.

The course is completely online and asynchronous in virtual reality. Students taking the course will receive a VR headset to use during the semester through the SMSC.

The course is designed to accommodate all VR skill levels. Students will learn everything from the basics of VR to more advanced components of VR. Course assignments include learning how to adjust the headset for comfort, creating an avatar, creating a home screen, inviting friends into virtual spaces, watching movies and virtual reality television, visiting worlds in the Metaverse, and creating a world in Horizon Worlds.

The Metaverse is a network of 3D virtual worlds accessible through a browser or headset. Meta Platforms Inc., formerly known as Facebook, created Meta Horizon Worlds as a VR platform where users can explore virtual worlds and interact with each other.

Students learn to work in teams through interactive games and multiplayer experiences. Throughout the semester, students begin by completing solo assignments before moving on to team work and games.

There are two options for the final project depending on the students’ abilities.

“The class splits into two trajectories at the end, where students who are really good gamers are challenged to get into Unreal Engine and design an actual game,” Cooley said. “And then, for students who don’t know any of this, we learn how to build our own world in Horizon Worlds.”

Through the Esports Certificate Program, students learn to combine computer and gaming skills with media, advertising, and branding theories to open up new job opportunities.

“Students who earn this certificate will be among the first to really synergize that thinking about new job potentials and career paths,” Cooley said. “That’s the kind of thing that students who take this certificate will be able to do, they’ll have this idea of ​​the mix.”

Alejandro Cavazos is a student in the Fall 2022 VR Media Education course. Cavazos explained that he had an interest in and experience with virtual reality before taking the course.

“I’ve followed the growth of VR technology since the days of the Oculus Rift in 2013, but my first real introduction to VR was PlayStation VR,” Cavazos said. “I’ve spent a lot of time using this headset and had been considering buying an Oculus Quest for a long time, I just couldn’t afford it. Luckily this course sort of solved that for me.

The Oculus Rift, Oculus Quest, and Playstation VR are all VR gaming headsets that allow the user to be fully immersed in a simulated VR environment.

Not only is the Virtual Reality Media Literacy course a fun way for students to learn about VR technology and games, but it can also prepare students for a career in VR.

“So with VR technology still in its infancy, I could definitely see this kind of technology starting to be incorporated into a number of different areas that haven’t used it before,” Cavazos said. “I’m a strategic communications specialist looking to work in sales or marketing and I could totally see virtual reality becoming so mainstream in our daily lives that sales made in a virtual space could be possible. and for marketing, I think it’s already something due to the fact that this new virtual space serves as another form of media to spread a message.

Esports careers are growing rapidly in scope and availability. Students wishing to pursue a career in esports will benefit from familiarity with the latest technologies.

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