Immerse Yourself in Virtual Reality and the Metaverse

Immerse Yourself in Virtual Reality and the Metaverse

Often when we imagine immersive media, science fiction is top of mind. Whether it is The Matrix’s expansive 3D virtual universe or the strange HMDs like the Meta Quest 2 released over the past seven years, immersive and interactive media conjures up notions of gamers and strange new worlds. In truth, our lives are becoming increasingly virtual: we congregate in remote internet spaces like Zoom; major social media platforms like Meta and Apple are investing heavily in VR/AR technologies as the next generation of personal computation devices. Athletes, artists, and others anticipate an unprecedented, persistent “metaverse,” with virtual property, NFTs and even currencies like blockchain. Even political representatives like Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez reach out to their constituents in virtual games like Animal Crossing.

This FIG serves two purposes. First, and foremost, it is meant to get you into virtual reality. We plan to meet in VR, do activities in the metaverse and engage with all things immersive, from the tools used to build virtual reality to thinking about the future of work and meetings. Second, it will introduce students to immersive media’s rich foundational scholarship, which stretches from theorists like Plato, through 20th-century thinkers like Susanne Langer, to contemporary pioneers in media psychology. Not contained in a vacuum, the study of these technologies opens a window into grounded communications and media studies concepts, ranging from the diffusion of innovations to issues of access, power and control.

Students explore the intersection of topics by taking the following course package:

UGST 109 First-Year Experience Seminar - 1-credit

J 201 Media and Society - CoreEd or major satisfying course, 4-credits

What is the relationship between media industry and media content? How does popular culture articulate cultural beliefs and practices? How do we analyze and interpret the media industries? This course is designed to equip students with the key concepts, theories, and methods to undertake their own critical analyses of media and the industries that make them. It will examine how media emerge within specific social and historical contexts and how they participate in ideological practices with wide-reaching cultural consequences.