Using Virtual Environments in the Teaching of Computer Graphics
Bowman, Doug A.
Pinho, Marcio S.
Wheeler, Kristin J.
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Education has long been touted as an appropriate application area for immersive virtual environments (VEs), but few immersive applications have actually been used in the classroom, and even fewer have been compared empirically with other teaching methods. This paper presents VENTS, a novel immersive VE application intended to teach the concept of the three-dimensional (3D) normalizing transformation in an undergraduate computer graphics class. VENTS was developed based on key principles for the use of VEs in education, systematically evaluated for usability, and refined based on the results of this evaluation. Students in a university course used VENTS, and their learning was compared to that of other students who either attended a lecture on the topic or used a 3D desktop application covering the same material. The results of pre- and post-tests showed a larger percent increase in test score for the VE group than the desktop or lecture groups, although these differences are not statistically significant.