VR Tutorial

Engineering and Honors College Librarian

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Jay McAllister

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With the advancement of educational technologies, educators and institutions should look to incorporate these technologies into classroom experiences. These technologies can expand the possibilities for learning, enhancing collaboration and hands-on learning. This tutorial aims to provide a comprehensive guide on how you can start developing VR applications for Meta Quest VR devices. This tutorial is also aimed at helping any educators make a decision on whether it would be worth translating any assignments into a VR application. 

To best understand VR development and to demonstrate the benefits of VR technology in an educational setting, we implemented a simple lab assignment into a VR application. We will periodically refer to this application when trying to explain the concepts of VR development with Unity. 

This tutorial is separated into two main sections: Setup and Core Unity Concepts. These two sections represent the two distinct portions of VR development. Each section contains multiple subsections for the different processes and concepts in the section. 

The Setup section covers downloading and setting up necessary software, creating and setting up a project, and navigating through the project. This section is ordered sequentially, so it should be followed in this order as well. Doing so will allow your setup process to proceed smoothly.

The Core Unity Concepts section covers the fundamental concepts of development using the Unity engine. Each subsection is ordered by importance and covers what we believe to be the most important concepts. It can be read sequentially, however jumping around each subsection is also fine. Of course this does not cover every concept regarding development in Unity but can be regarded as the minimum or fundamental concepts that every developer should understand before beginning development.

Virtual Reality

Virtual Reality, often abbreviated as VR, is a virtual three-dimensional environment created with the use of computer modeling and simulation (Britannica). Users experience can VR via virtual reality headsets and similar devices. The devices have a display and special lenses that separate the display and the user's eyes. The lenses distort the display to make the image appear three-dimensional to the user (XR Today). The device also tracks the user's head movement using sensors to immerse the user in the virtual world by altering the display to match the movements. Headsets often have controllers or hand-tracking to allow the user to perform actions in the virtual world, which increases both immersion and functionality in applications. 

VR is most often used for entertainment purposes like playing games or viewing 360 degree videos. However, VR is also used in all sorts of ways in all sorts of industries, such as training, healthcare, and retail (Techtarget). VR technology can also serve as a source of innovation in the growing field of educational technology, offering virtual experiences that expand access to educational opportunities that are otherwise limited by cost, accessibility, and safety concerns and increase learning through heightened immersion (VirtualSpeech).