Virtual Reality and 3D Interaction
Instructor: Evan Suma Rosenberg (he/him/his)
Office Hours: T/Th 4:00-5:00pm
Location: Keller Hall 6-201
Email: suma at umn dot edu
TA: Daniel Keyes (he/him/his)
Location: Keller Hall 2-208
Email: keyes135 at umn dot edu
The goal of this course to provide a comprehensive overview of the state-of-the art in virtual reality technologies and user interfaces. Classroom topics will include 3D display systems, motion tracking, spatial interaction techniques (navigation, selection, manipulation, system control), and virtual experience design. Students will learn how to develop virtual reality applications through hands-on programming assignments using Oculus Quest headsets and by playing and critically discussing commercial VR games. Theoretical knowledge gained during the first half of the course will be evaluated through a midterm exam and applied practically in a final project. There will be no final exam in this course.
Students will gain a deep understanding of the theoretical foundations, hardware/software technologies, and design principles for the creation of virtual reality experiences. Major learning objectives include:
- Understanding immersive input/output devices and systems
- Design and implementation of spatial interaction techniques, including:
- System control
- Learning to think critically about what makes a virtual reality experience effective and compelling (and conversely, what doesn’t)
- Gaining experience in designing and developing a virtual reality project that applies 3D user interface best practices
Students must be self-motivated, interested in thinking critically about 3D interaction, and willing to commit approximately 4-6 hours per week outside of class on assigned readings, virtual reality programming assignments, and project development. Familiarity with basic concepts of computer graphics and/or prior experience with the Unity game engine is beneficial, but not required.
Understanding Virtual Reality (Second Edition)
Paperback ISBN: 9780128183991
eBook ISBN: 9780128010389
Note: Students can download a digital version of the textbook for free at the link above through the university library’s subscription to ScienceDirect. Purchase of a hard copy is completely optional.
- 40% – Programming Assignments
- 25% – Midterm Exam
- 25% – Final Project
- 10% – Class Participation
Regular attendance is expected in this course; class participation will count towards the final grade. However, students will not be penalized for absence during the semester due to unavoidable or legitimate circumstances, including: verified illness, participation in intercollegiate athletic events, subpoenas, jury duty, military service, bereavement, and religious observances. Students are encouraged to discuss potential absences with the instructor in advance and provide documentation, if applicable.
Assignments in this course will have an explicitly defined grace period during which late work will be accepted. Late assignments can be submitted up until the end of this grace period with a penalty of 20%. No assignments will be accepted after the grace period deadline without prior permission from the instructor.
The instructor understands that factors beyond a student’s control can sometimes result in missed classes or coursework. If you anticipate trouble in submitting an assignment on time, you are encouraged to contact the instructor to discuss your situation as early as possible, preferably before the deadline. For additional information, please refer to the University’s policy on Makeup Work for Legitimate Absences.
The University seeks to establish an environment that promotes academic achievement and integrity, is protective of free inquiry, and serves its educational mission. Similarly, the University seeks a community that is free from violence, threats, and intimidation; that is respectful of the rights, opportunities, and welfare of students, faculty, staff, and guests of the University; and that does not threaten the physical or mental health or safety of members of the University community. As a student at the University, you are expected to adhere to the student conduct code and familiarize yourself with student responsibilities regarding teaching and learning. More information about these policies can be found at the links below.
Academic integrity is essential to a positive teaching and learning environment. All students enrolled in university courses are expected to complete coursework responsibilities with fairness and honesty. Failure to do so by seeking unfair advantage over others or misrepresenting someone else’s work as your own, can result in disciplinary action. The University Student Conduct Code defines scholastic dishonesty as follows: Scholastic dishonesty means plagiarizing; cheating on assignments or examinations; engaging in unauthorized collaboration on academic work; taking, acquiring, or using course materials without faculty permission; submitting false or incomplete records of academic achievement; acting alone or in cooperation with another to falsify records or to obtain dishonestly grades, honors, awards, or professional endorsement; altering, forging, or misusing a University academic record; or fabricating or falsifying data, research procedures, or data analysis. Within this course, a student responsible for scholastic dishonesty can be assigned a penalty up to and including an F or N for the course. If you have any questions regarding the expectations for a specific assignment or exam, ask.
For assignments and projects involving programming, it may be acceptable to use third party software libraries, art assets, or code only if the following conditions are met: (1) the assignment explicitly states that third party content is permitted, (2) the third party content is not utilized to solve the portion of the assignment that is required to be implemented solely by the student, and (3) all third party content is disclosed, including its source (e.g. link to website, github repository, or asset store), in the documentation submitted with the assignment. All other uses of third party content will be treated as a form of scholastic dishonesty. Again, if you have any questions about the usage of third party content in a programming assignment or project, ask.
This course will follow the University’s policies on Grading and Transcripts and Expected Student Academic Work per Credit. Students are encouraged to review these policies so they are familiar with the general expectations for the course.
Students should be aware that a grade of I (incomplete) can be assigned only under extraordinary circumstances: to be eligible, a student must have kept up with all of the required coursework to date and must have been prevented by an unforeseeable emergency from completing the remainder of the coursework on time.
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