Virtual Reality technology enabling the distance lab education to address the challenges caused by COVID-19 pandemic
Virtual Reality (VR) is innovative technology enabling the immersive learning environment that can be like the real world but with add-on digital features, or it can be of total simulation. It is emerging to be the next step for the evolution of the 21st century education. For example, VR can enhance student pharmacists’ participation by creating clinical but virtual scenarios that immerse the learners in such an interactive manner that can motivate them to better understand the clinical subjects.
Continuing from our prior efforts of applying VR to lab safety training, patient simulation and prospective student interviews, we expanded our VR-based teaching platform to Pharm Compounding Laboratory (83979 - PHSC 336) in the Fall semester of 2020. It became an integral part of our exercising of distance education to address the challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. For the whole semester, we have made a total of fourteen VR teaching videos of compounding demonstration ranging from the solid dosage powder form by Dr. Akala (the 1st lab) to the sulfur form by Dr. Karla (the last lab). Drs. Adesina, Pather, Habib, Kumar had also joined the efforts, with the assistance from Ms. Jasmine Taylor as the lab technician, Dr. Wang and graduate teaching assistants.
The current VR teaching videos are of 4K UHD quality, enabling the student’s 360-degree presence next to the demonstration with special headsets at home, or as the regular high-quality videos accessible by PC, Macintosh and mobile devices. In addition to addressing the pandemic crisis, our VR-teaching platform provides alternative means of access to multimedia content in formats that meet the needs of diverse learners thus promote the achievement of the learning objectives or competencies for individual courses.