STILLWATER, Okla. (KFOR) — For the first time, some OSU Media and Strategic Communication students are putting on their headsets and plugging into the booming industry of virtual reality for college credit.
The professor said it’s not about getting more video game hours in, it’s about teaching students how to apply VR to their future careers.
“It’s a giant industry. It’s $1,000,000,000 industry,” said Skye Cooley, an OSU Strategic Communications Professor.
“I would be like silly not to take this opportunity,” said Hayden Holland, a VR student.
Professor Cooley said each student gets a $400 headset for free during the specialized eSports class.
“First thought was, what? This is too good to be true,” said Holland.
If you’re not familiar with virtual reality, Professor Cooley says VR is like walking into a picture, movie, or video game.
“You can actually move and interact with things just like it is reality. The only difference, of course, is that it is virtual,” said Cooley.
This semester, his students will learn the basics.
“Here’s how you put it on. Here’s how you reduce some of the strain on the optic nerve,” said Cooley.
Along with the not-so basics…
“How to move objects, how to resize things, how to color them in, and then eventually how to like, you know, make them intractable,” said Cooley.
However, the real challenge is applying these skills to other careers.
“It’s applicable in a lot of different fields,” said Alejandro Cavazos, another student enrolled in the course.
Holland and Cavazos are exploring the VR Metaverse, from Meta Platforms formerly known as Facebook, during class. They said their futures, however, are in media and marketing, not video games. But, they’re already seeing opportunities.
“There’s already marketing being done in the Metaverse,” said Covazos.
“I think we are on the cusp of something big,” said Lynn Boorady, an OSU professor in the Design and Merchandising Department.
Boorady said the department recently started their own special program in VR because that’s where the industry is going.
“I heard from industry that they’re starting to hire gaming professionals,” said Boorady. “They need people immediately who are versed in 3D design, in virtual reality, and in making all this work in real life for them.”
Boorady said her students have been using 3D technology to make clothes fit someone perfectly. However, when COVID hit, they couldn’t bring models into showrooms.
“They started all using virtual models, which has accelerated their use of 3D in the production part of apparel design, to the point where many of them are not going back,” said Booradt.
Both Boorady and Cooley told News 4 this is just a taste of what’s on the horizon.
“This technology is here. It’s not going anywhere. And our virtual reality and augmented reality are coming for us all,” said Cooley.