Virtual reality devices arrive as JSU launches Mississippi’s first university VR Academy.

By Vera Anderson On the SIDE 0 Comments

Jackson State University, March 27, 2019

Anthony Gomes, a JSU graduate student in computer science from Bangladesh, is experimenting with various applications. He is the JSU Innovation Center’s first Innovation Fellow who will train to become a VR curator and teach others. (Photo by L.A. Warren/JSU)

After flirting with the idea late last year of incorporating virtual reality into the classroom, Jackson State University installed new equipment last week to launch Mississippi’s first “University VR Academy.”

After just a mere few months of deliberating and consulting with virtual reality company Lobaki, JSU is now the state’s academic and research VR leader. This new development is poised to change teaching methods and spur academic, entrepreneurial and economic successes.

The campus academy, which has 15 stations in the H.T. Sampson Library, is the first for an institution of higher learning in the Magnolia state and the largest in the South.

Dr. Whittaker

Dr. Joseph A. Whittaker, associate provost and vice president for Research and Economic Development, said, “As one considers the pace at which the world is moving and the changing technology, it’s important that we prepare our students and faculty to potentially work in the landscape.” As such, JSU moved quickly to put the wheels in motion.

“WE want them to lead the university rather than playing catch up. With that in mind, we developed this facility so students and faculty can become critical thinkers and do things that 10 years ago we could only imagine,” Whittaker said.

“This new academy allows us to assess, test ideas, build prototypes and reimagine what today and the future will look like.”

Dr. Campbell

Dr. Almesha Campbell, director of JSU’s Technology Transfer, Commercialization and Research Communications in the Office of Research and Economic Development, oversees the project.

“We officially installed the virtual reality academy in the new innovation space on the second floor of the H.T. Sampson Library. We have 15 VR stations that we will use to train faculty and students on how to build virtual worlds as well as to immerse themselves into virtual reality.  VR is not new, but now it’s really taking off in the U.S., and we want JSU to be a leader in the area.” Campbell said she envisions a future of unimaginable growth on many levels.

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