USPSheffield to pioneer virtual/augmented reality technologies in urban design teaching

Students will soon be creating virtual solutions to real life planning problems as part of an innovative learning & teaching project embedding cutting-edge visualisation technology in the Department’s learning and teaching.

Bryony Olney and Dr Bobby Nisha from the Department will lead the 18 month project entitled ‘Developing Design Consultants of the Future: Embedding Augmented Reality in Learning & Teaching’. The project has received £50,000 worth of funding from the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE). It will see students on this year’s MA Urban Design and Planning course pilot using augmented, virtual and mixed reality technologies as part of their studies. These technologies will allow them to create immersive visualisations of their designs, viewed through virtual reality headsets, to accurately simulate solutions for real life planning issues.

Bryony Olney, Learning Technologist, said: “We are starting to see the adoption of these types of immersive technologies within the industry.

“We hope this project will provide students with a glimpse of its potential and the skills to prepare them for the new and exciting ways the planning and design industry is starting to engage with stakeholders and end users.”

Dr. Bobby Nisha, Programme Director of MA Urban Design and Planning, said “The project is firmly centred on enhancing the learning experience for students and ensuring the curriculum of design education is upbeat with cutting edge technology.

“The interdisciplinary approach combines cognitive research on perception of space, design psychology, learning pedagogies and technology. With this we can contribute to enhanced design learning in terms of comprehension and expression, where a student with immersive learning can shift base from being a passive recipient to active participant and co-producer of the learning resource.”

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