Teaching Conscientious Design: How Learning VR Development Can Lead to Greater Understanding of Sustainability
When teaching a class about design, instructors have an opportunity to structure projects in a way that combines fundamental skills with topics that allow students to hone their skill while addressing real-world problems. The class I designed and taught, vaguely titled Interactive Immersive Art II due to its listing in the department of Art and Art History, is an upper-level practical course where students were asked to design a “vertical slice” for a virtual reality (VR) game based on a concept related to sustainability. In 2018 I had the opportunity to create a two-course sequence, where the first class would introduce the basics of design, and the second, upper-level course would require students to work in teams to research, design, and build a complete VR experience from the ground up in ten weeks. This chapter will showcase the an overview of the content that was presented to students in the second, upper-level course, three examples of student projects, and qualitative outcomes from the class.