A new series of Virtual Reality courses developed by world renowned academics launches

21 September 2017

Coursera, the global leader in online education and learning, today launched its first series of courses on Virtual Reality developed by the University of London.

The Virtual Reality Specialisation, comprising five course modules, has been developed by Dr Sylvia Pan and Dr Marco Gillies from Goldsmiths, University of London, based on a combined 25 years’ experience in some of the world’s most prominent Virtual Reality research labs.

Their expertise in Virtual Reality centres on the generation of interactive and engaging virtual characters, one of the focus areas in the new Specialisation they teach on Coursera.

“Many of the mistakes made by Virtual Reality content creators come from not understanding the psychology of how VR works and what it means for how we create content, which is an important feature of this Specialisation,” said Dr Marco Gillies “In Virtual Reality users need to physically interact so they feel present in the surrounding environment. This means other characters must respond in the same way they would in the real world. These courses combine theory - the basic psychology of how VR works - with practical production skills. All the time learners are doing the practical work, they are also having to think about the psychology behind it.”

“Another important part of this Specialisation is Social VR. Social interactions in Virtual Reality are such a powerful experience; Users are sharing the space with someone who is life size, so the body language works in a way it doesn't on a regular screen.”

Learners in this Specialisation will get hands-on experience using many of the leading technology tools for Virtual Reality content development, and in particular the world leading game development project Unity.

"The potential for Virtual Reality to change the way we work, learn, and play is significant, but we need more people educated in VR technologies and design to get there," said Jessica Lindl, Unity's Global Head of Education. "This series of courses from the University of London is a great example of a credential that can really help anyone interested in applying Virtual Reality in the work that they do."

Dr Sylvia Pan, Lecturer in Graphics at Goldsmiths, University of London, said, “The launch of the Virtual Reality Specialisation presents a real opportunity to use online learning to grow the number of people equipped with the skills required to become VR content creators. Learners will take the skills developed in each of the preceding courses and put these into practice to develop their own Virtual Reality game.”

“The development of Virtual Reality courses is pivotal to cementing the role the technology will play in everyday life and across enterprises. The creative industry has naturally become the first sector to integrate Virtual Reality. However, the potential applications range across many industries, including healthcare, engineering, online collaboration, and more. The medium of Virtual Reality is developing rapidly and those making content now are creating the fundamentals of the technology. We are really excited that our learners will be able to contribute to the future of Virtual Reality.”

To enrol in the Virtual Reality Specialisation being delivered by the University of London International Programmes through Coursera, visit https://coursera.org/specializations/virtual-reality

Notes to editors

Contact

Binda Rai
Head of Corporate Affairs, University of London International Programmes
University of London international Programmes
Email: binda.rai@london.ac.uk
Mobile: +44 (0)7920 476 483

About the Virtual Reality MOOC Specialisation

The Specialisation comes in five courses that will be released starting on September 25th:

  1. Introduction to Virtual Reality
  2. 3D Models for Virtual Reality
  3. 3D Interaction Design in Virtual Reality
  4. Building Interactive 3D Characters and Social VR
  5. Creating Your First Virtual Reality Game.

About the University of London

  • The University of London was established in 1836 by Royal Charter. It is made up of 18 Member Institutions, including the LSE and nine research institutes. 
  • The University of London is the world’s oldest provider of academic awards through flexible learning, dating back to 1858, when the University of London was awarded a Royal Charter by Queen Victoria. http://www.londoninternational.ac.uk/
  • In 1858 Charles Dickens described the University of London as ‘The People’s University’ when its 1858 Royal Charter extended access to degrees to those who could not come to London to study.
  • Today, students of the University of London International Programmes can choose to study from a suite of 100+ academic programmes either through self-study or through a support from local teaching institutions.
  • The University of London, through the University of London International Programmes is the ‘world’s largest classroom’, with 51,000 students in 180 countries, and over 1.3million learners studying its short courses through the Coursera online platform.
  • Further information about the University of London is available at http://www.london.ac.uk/

About Coursera

Coursera is an online education company that offers courses and learning experiences from the world’s top universities and education institutions including Stanford University, University of Pennsylvania, Duke University, University of Virginia, and University of Michigan.

Coursera has more than 27 million registered learners worldwide who can access over 2,000 courses and Specializations in dozens of topics including business, technology, social sciences, health, and art.

Coursera empowers learners around the world to achieve their career, educational, and personal enrichment goals throughout their lives.

Coursera is backed by leading VCs such as Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, New Enterprise Associates, GSV Capital, International Finance Corporation, Laureate Education Inc., and Learn Capital.