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Effectiveness Of Virtual Reality Applications In Teaching Engineering Management Curriculum

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2008 Annual Conference & Exposition


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008



Conference Session

New Trends in Engineering Management Education

Tagged Division

Engineering Management

Page Count


Page Numbers

13.472.1 - 13.472.15



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Paper Authors

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Ertunga Ozelkan University of North Carolina at Charlotte


Agnes Galambosi University of North Carolina at Charlotte

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Agnes Galambosi earned her PhD in Systems and Industrial Engineering from the University of
Arizona in Tucson. She also hold two MS degrees: one in Systems Engineering from the University of Arizona in Tucson, one in Meteorology from Eotvos Lorand University in Budapest, Hungary. She currently teaches at the Mechanical Engineering and Engineering Science Department at the University of North Carolina Charlotte. Her research interests include a wide range of topics from educational games in college teaching to engineering management and optimization problems and applying systems methods to climate change modelling.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Effectiveness of Virtual Reality Applications in Teaching Engineering and Engineering Management Curriculum


Virtual reality applications have been becoming more popular over the past several years. Many universities are investigating possibilities of adopting “virtual reality” as a support tool or as an alternate means of teaching students. While there is some potential of using virtual reality, it is not clear how applicable it can be in different programs. The purpose of this paper is to review benefits and challenges related to virtual reality teaching and to discuss potential areas where it can be more applicable. We present the results of a survey analysis that aims to assess the value of virtual reality in engineering and engineering management programs. The survey data is analyzed using design of experiments techniques.

Introduction and Motivation

The purpose of this paper is to overview the potential of virtual reality applications in a university teaching environment, particularly in engineering and engineering management programs. In order to assess the learning value of virtual reality applications for these students, an online survey has been conducted among the entire engineering student population at University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and the results of this survey are analyzed and presented here.

Education is changing rapidly with the latest advances in technology, which were only the creation of a wild imagination a few decades ago. Learning is not about passively listening to the instructor any more but about actively participating in class using the technology available to achieve this goal. Classrooms today are multi-media learning centers where students can understand, learn and apply their skills to deepen their knowledge.

Virtual reality is a computer-simulated environment, which allows real-time interactive online participation in simulated three-dimensional (i.e. virtual) settings with interactive chat possibilities. The particular activities depend on the actual virtual reality environment but in general, many activities in the “real” world can be carried out in the virtual environment. One example of such a place is Second Life, where users are represented in the virtual world using their avatars (customized graphical representations of the users). Possible activities include social interactions, group activities, trade, and even real estate transactions. Second Life is a simulated environment where users from anywhere can control the events in the virtual world. It is not like a game in the sense that it does not require keeping scores or collecting points and it does not even have winners. .

Applications of virtual reality for education are still in their early stages but there are already examples of applications from delivering a lecture, participating in projects or creating simulated business situations in the virtual world, to ER simulations for training nurses in emergency situations or virtual tours of an otherwise non-accessible place like the human heart or the tomb of a pharaoh. Unlike the current methods of online education, which can include online live

Ozelkan, E., & Galambosi, A. (2008, June), Effectiveness Of Virtual Reality Applications In Teaching Engineering Management Curriculum Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--3777

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