Ever wonder what a winter session course looks like at Virginia Tech? Take a peek into the virtual world that students immersed in for two weeks during the 2018 winter session.

For the second year, the Cube located in the Moss Arts Center, has been center stage for the University Honors Immersive Virtual Environment for Art, Data, and Research course. A collaboration between Honors College and the Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology (ICAT), more than a dozen students teamed up to explore the facility and work on projects making use of at least two of the Cube's sytems: motion capture, virtual reality, immersive projection, and spatial audio.

Zach Duer, assistant professor in creative technologies at the School of Visual Arts, and Tanner Upthegrove, media engineer at ICAT, co-taught the course. "I am so impressed with the students who came in having no prior knowledge of the room's capabilities and in two weeks created a project from start to finish," said Duer. He and Upthegrove hope to see the students return in the coming semesters to further hone their skills. 

This is the only time during the academic year that a course is taught solely in the Cube, giving it an extra appeal for students to take it during the winter session. 

Students suit up and play the motion capture game created by Team T-Rex.
Students suit up and play the motion capture game created by Team T-Rex.

Some of the student teams chose a game interface, complete with virtual reality backpacks, goggles, and motion tracking system. The two-week course gave them a taste of the possibilities and insight into new features that could tap into to further expand their game's capabilities. 

Winter session 2018  featured 146 courses offered on campus, online, and abroad. This year saw a 24-percent increase from last year's winter session with 2,279 enrollments. Close to 450 students enrolled in more than one course. 

Students challenge themselves to get through the various rooms as quickly as they can in the Escape the Cube puzzle game.
Students challenge themselves to get through the various rooms as quickly as they can in the Escape the Cube puzzle game.
The Cube provides an array of immersive environments for students and faculty to experience collectively.
The Cube provides an array of immersive environments for students and faculty to experience collectively.

Photos and video by William McKenzie