Creating Virtual Reality Models for BSCI 3440

Structures of Building-II to Improve Conceptual Clarity of Architecture and Building Science Students

Creating Virtual Reality Models for BSCI 3440

Virtual Reality (VR) is a three-dimensional, computer-generated environment which can be explored and interacted with by a person wearing a VR headset. That person becomes part of the virtual world or is immersed within the environment, while being at his/her home/classroom/office etc. VR is being integrated in many ways in various architecture/construction schools and industries around the world. One can create virtual objects and step inside to see, hear, touch, and modify them. Currently, at McWhorter School of Building Science, Auburn University, 2D drawings and/or field trips are used to teach students about design complexities in steel structures especially various types of steel connections. Teaching through field trips has been very effective as students learn more when they see the objects in reality. However, it is not always feasible to take a large class to field trips due to time, safety, and cost constraints. Creating 3D VR models and immersing students in the virtual world could provide an engaging and meaningful experience to both Building Science and Architecture students. This research study focused on creating different 3D VR enabled steel connection models and testing them using a VR headset called Oculus Go. This project had three goals: 1) creating a VR model of a steel sculpture showing different steel connections; 2) deploying the VR model in BSCI 3440: Structures of Building-II course; and 3) evaluating the efficacy of the VR model through students’ feedback. The project was funded by a McWhorter Fund for Excellence Grant.

Amna Salman is an adjunct faculty and doctoral student and Salman Azhar is the William A. Hunt Endowed Professor and Graduate Programs Chair in the McWhorter School of Building Science. Mary English is Assistant Professor of Architecture in the School of Architecture, Planning, and Landscape Architecture.

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