Virtual Reality has arrived to the Pre-Health program!

By Tara Hayes

In the spring of 2022, Sheridan applied for a College Equipment and Renewal Fund (CERF) from the Ontario Ministry of Colleges and Universities and in the fall of 2022, it was announced that Sheridan was successful with the application. Thanks to Dr. Dalia Hanna, the Pre-Health program was fortunate enough to be included in the application and the work to incorporate Virtual Reality (VR) into the program began.

Dr. Tara Hayes was tasked with researching and selecting the VR headsets and the appropriate software within a very tight deadline of December 2022. The headsets selected were the HTC VIVE Focus 3, which are top-of-the-line untethered VR headsets, along with the educational software package Victory XR. The Pre-Health program is the first Canadian post-secondary institution to adopt the Victory XR educational software, which is seen as an industry-leader in the United States. The Pre-Health program purchased a PowerCart which not only provides a secure way to charge UV and clean the headsets and controllers, but it is also equipped with wheels, so it allows for ease of transportation of the equipment to the designated classroom to deliver the experience.

This past year Dr. Hayes was engaged with the development of the VR course which also included the preparation of the VR headsets.  Dr. Tara Hayes and Dr. Sipa Chansavang worked to ensure that the VR headsets firmware was updated, and the software was loaded on the class set. In addition to this the VR headsets were required to be placed on the allowlist to access the Sheridan secure WIFI which Dr. Hayes worked with the Sheridan IT department to create a solution to permit access. 

The Pre-Health program is thrilled to announce the launch of the Virtual Reality Explorations for the Pre-Health Sciences – SCIE18236 course, which is currently running its inaugural semester, this Winter 2024. Both Dr. Sipa Chansavang and Dr. Andreas Evangelou are excited to be instructing the five sections of eager Pre-Health students. These students are not only being exposed to the VR technology but have the opportunity to learn through interactive games in the fields of biology, chemistry and physics. 

It certainly has put the ‘fun’ back into fundamental learning and the overall student feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.  Incorporating this new and emerging technology into the Pre-Health program has provided yet another delineator to allow Sheridan’s Pre-Health program to standout in the province of Ontario.