Forget Zoom school. For some students, class is in session in VR
By Rachel Metz, CNN Business
Updated 8:21 AM ET, Thu January 27, 2022
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Jeremy Bailenson has studied virtual reality for decades. But it wasn't until last year that the Stanford professor felt the technology was good enough that he could actually teach a class in VR.Over the summer and again in the fall, Bailenson, the founding director of Stanford's Virtual Human Interaction Lab, taught more than 260 students in his "Virtual People" class, which explores various aspects of virtual reality. Some days, the class discussed assigned readings over Zoom; other days, students and instructors gathered in VR for a virtual journey that might include a group meditation session or a digital exhibit of past art from the Burning Man festival. Students' customizable avatars participated in discussion panels in VR and created a final project for the course — a full-fledged VR scene that others could visit virtually.Teaching his course this way, Bailenson told CNN Business, "has been a dream of mine." But only recently did he feel the headsets were cheap enough — the Quest 2, which Stanford purchased in bulk for the class, starts at $299 — and the software was capable enough for him to truly do it.