MCC virtual reality class offers students real life benefits

Margaret Hurlbert
Margaret Hurlbert
Margaret Hurlbert works as the Editor of Discover Muscatine Newspaper.

Muscatine Living

MUSCATINE, Iowa-Though the COVID-19 pandemic has interrupted many traditional summer learning opportunities, students in high school and college can gain high quality hands-on assisted and virtual reality experience from the safety and comfort of their own homes. For a month this summer, Muscatine Community College will offer a four week Survey of AVR (augmented virtual reality) class, allowing students to gain job skills and college credits wherever they find themselves.

Tyler Halterman, a professor with Eastern Iowa Community Colleges (which Muscatine Community College belongs to) looks forward to leading the class as it will offer students an opportunity to develop skills that will help them regardless of whether they become software designers or not. “At this time, we are seeing how impactful AVR technology can be in a social distancing world; by offering this course, we are introducing the youth to a new career path that is on the rise,” said Halterman: “Graduates in this program learn skills to be web designers, video artists, application programmers, project managers, and much more. In addition to the technical skills we teach, students will learn highly valued soft skills used in the workforce,” he elaborated.

During the month the program runs, students will explore many aspects of creating augmented reality and virtual reality applications. These include learning each step of the development process, such as animating, coding with C#, programming a game engine, and modeling in 3-D. Because this work takes place virtually, students can have a fully interactive experience without ever having to go out at all. “This class offers students a hands-on project based learning format that allows them creative freedom to create something special,” explained Halterman. “They will be able to get a taste of what goes into AVR development and if this is truly something they want to pursue as a career.” As an additional benefit, students can earn three college credits from the class as well.

MCC’s Survey of AVR course runs from June 29 through July 24, Monday through Thursday from noon to 4 p. m. Those interested in registering, either for fun or for college credit, should contact Concurrent Enrollment Project Manager Anthony Bielski at [email protected] or 563-441-4368 no later than June 25. Anyone looking to transfer credits to their high school or college should contact their advisor or guidance counselor to ensure their credit will count.

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