VR Lab: Enable Online Laboratory Teaching through Virtual Reality

VR Lab: Enable Online Laboratory Teaching through Virtual Reality

School:  Engineering

Team Members:  Quan Li, Caroline Kirk, Florian Fusseis


Due to Covid-19, most courses have been transformed to online teaching, while many lab-based courses are furloughed. These courses involve instrument-based activities, which are almost impossible to complete online. Consequently, our students lose hands-on experience and this significantly affects their learning outcomes as well as the accreditation status.

This VR Lab project will apply the 3D virtual reality (VR) technology to enable online laboratory teaching, so that students based off campus are able to gain equivalent lab experience. VR is a simulated environment. It can simulate 3D motion graphics that appear to be realistic, and this can be used to reproduce the laboratory environment. This project will use several labs across the School of Engineering, School of Chemistry and School of GeoSciences as examples to demonstrate the VR Lab. We aim to integrate various elements from our existing labs and transform them into a 3D VR lab that students can watch on their mobile phones. If successful, this project will lay the foundation to make online lab teaching possible for a wider range of disciplines across the whole University of Edinburgh. The VR lab project will further develop online teaching into a more advanced level, and it will greatly support the delivery of teaching and enhance students’ learning experiences.