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CDU’s HIVE of virtual learning

HIVE Team
The HIVE team checks out the latest VR teaching aids

Students at Charles Darwin University (CDU) are using the latest virtual and augmented reality technologies in their health education studies.

The Health Immersive Virtual Education (HIVE) project is using new VR/AR teaching tools that allow students to explore highly complex subjects in a virtual environment, engaging all their senses.

HIVE is the work of the  College of Health and Human Sciences and involves college staff and learning technologists, the university’s Innovative Media Production Studio and external companies.

College Manager Gus Diaz said the team was committed to taking  health education to a new level – beyond textbooks and traditional audio-vsual resources.

“The feedback from students has been overwhelmingly positive,” he said.

In Semester One, the College began trialling immersive realities in anatomy and physiology units. Students explored inside the human body, selecting organs such as the heart or brain, sick or healthy and could see what the differences were.

The team also produced an immersive counselling session, allowing students to experience being in particularly challenging situations. The first tool produced was a volatile and potentially dangerous situation involving a couple.

“Students can go into the room where there’s a couple fighting and a domestic violence issue that’s about to erupt and safely experience what it feels like to be in that room, and how best to deal with the situation,” Mr Diaz said.

Other learning tools are under development.

Current developments include tools for creative therapies, social work, exercise and sport science, and medical laboratory science. In 2020, the HIVE will incorporate all subject areas within the College of Health and Human Sciences, including newly developed courses such as speech pathology, occupational therapy and nutrition.