Behind the Scenes of an Online VR Initiative: An Instructional Design Perspective

Concurrent Session 1

Session Materials

Brief Abstract

Explore the behind the scenes approach to designing, producing, and delivering VR inspired 360 videos in online courses from an instructional design perspective. Use cases along with the technology used will be discussed and demonstrated providing attendees with insight on best practices and challenges related to pursuing a VR initiative.


As a Senior Instructional Designer with Penn State University's World Campus, Bill specializes in designing and developing effective instruction for online and blended learning environments for a variety of graduate and undergraduate disciplines. Bill has over eight years of instructional design and educational technology experience in both K-12 and higher education. Prior to joining World Campus, Bill worked as the educational technology and design specialist for a grade 6-12 cyber charter school in Pennsylvania. Bill received his bachelors degree in Marketing from the University of Pittsburgh and his M.Ed. in Business Education from Bloomsburg University.

Extended Abstract

Instructional Designers at Penn State World Campus have taken an exploratory approach to a VR initiative in online learning. It began with the basic exploration of VR and Google Cardboard. It soon evolved into the production and delivery of immersive 360 video content into online courses. Recently, VR Headsets were provided to students as part of a pilot to gauge interest and feedback into the usability of VR hardware in an online learning environment. As we work towards evaluating what the role of “true Virtual Reality” is in online education, the exploration has moved to the production of interactive immersive content through platforms such as WebVR.  Through iterative design and piloting, we developed a framework with best practices that can be used to scale the integration of immersive video content across online programs.

In this session, we will review the evolution of the VR exploration with use cases and technology being demonstrated.  Collected IRB approved data and student feedback used to inform the direction of the VR initiative will also be shared and discussed. The goal of this presentation will be to share experiences with VR and to generate a conversation with attendees about the practical application of VR in online learning.