- College of Life Science and Biotechnology Adopts VR Contents in Lab Courses July 12, 2021
"Biological experiments can be repeated multiple times with virtual reality."
Students are moving their hands up and down carefully in the air―equipped with a virtual reality (VR) headset and a controller. On the media wall located at the back, a virtual hand with nitrile gloves moves in sync with the student's movement as it carries the heated tube to the side cradle.
The College of Life Science and Biotechnology (Dean: Professor Kwon Young-Guen) of Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea introduced VR contents to general biology lab courses in the summer semester of 2021. There are precedents of courses using realistic media contents as an assistant educational tool being conducted on campus, but this is the first time VR itself has been used as an official tool. Freshmen in science and engineering majors will now be exposed to three basic experiment contents: protein quantitative, enzyme activity measurement, and somatic cell division.
The following project is under the support of the Republic of Korea Ministry of Education's University Innovation Support Project. Ten experiment contents created last year are currently undergoing quality upgrading, with another then scheduled to be created this year. "We are currently focusing on increasing the level of precision so that students can experience experiments as realistically as possible, especially considering the current COVID-19 pandemic where even lab courses are forced to be carried out non-face-to-face," stated Professor Yang Seong Wook (College of Life Science and Biotechnology), who is over all in-charge of the content creation. "We plan to gradually expand the utilization of VR contents to increase the autonomy of students in their pursuit of learning."
Yonsei University has shown prolonged efforts to expand the media-based education infrastructure, recognizing realistic media as the quintessential tool of educational innovation in the era of the fourth industrial revolution. The Media Commons, located in the Yonsei-Samsung Library, is equipped with a multi-media hall capable of conducting virtual remote education and experiential exhibitions, along with a studio for online lectures contents creation to provide an optimal environment for immersive experiential education for students. Furthermore, the XR Lab, which provides lecture support services using realistic media educational content, is ensuring the smooth facilitation of education in the COVID-19 era.
"Because I'm familiar with VR games, I can better concentrate in class with more enthusiasm, and because I can practice specific procedures within an experiment that I am unsure of, I was able to clear the frustration I used to have when attending non-face-to-face classes," said Lee Ju-hee, a bioengineering student who is participating in the production of VR contents in general biology. Yonsei University plans to expand its incorporation of virtual reality content in lectures to more majors in the future.