Over 75 Purdue University Students Will Attend Their Commencement Ceremonies In VR

Viewers will “march down” the procession line alongside their peers via a mobile 360-degree camera.

This Thursday over 400 students at Purdue University Global will participate in their final commencement ceremonies. Of those graduating, over 75 will have done so remotely over the internet, and therefore will not be there in-person to walk the stage.

This year, a new pilot program led by Purdue Global’s director of learning and leadership community, Patti Pelletier, is offering remote students the chance to “attend” their ceremonies in VR.

“We are proud to be the first university to offer students who otherwise would not be able to attend the opportunity to share the excitement of graduation in a virtual setting,” said Pelletier, in an official release

During commencement ceremonies this Thursday in Los Angeles, a professional camera operator will record every second of the action in 360-degrees via an Insta360 Pro 2 camera. This footage will then be streamed live in VR to YouTube VR as well as in standard 2D via PG Connect, the university’s personal conference platform, and Facebook Live. Over 75 graduates tuning in remotely will then insert their smartphone devices into custom Purdue Global branded cardboard headsets and join their fellow classmates on stage. The 360-degree camera will be marched out on stage as if it were a normal student, at which point graduates will hear their names called and then receive their diplomas.

“The graduates will see and hear everything as if they were sitting in the Skirball Cultural Center,” Pelletier said. “When the ceremony begins, they will feel like they are in the procession line marching with the on-site graduates. They will sit with their fellow graduates and watch everything that is happening around them during the ceremony. The virtual graduates will walk onto the stage, hear their name announced and see their picture displayed before returning to their seat.”

According to George Takahashi, the lead visualization scientist for ITaP’s Research Computing Envision Center at Purdue who worked alongside Pelletier on the project, a small group of university students also played a hand in its development. 

“Our undergraduate and graduate students at the Envision Center are deeply involved in exploring new technologies and the development of interactive visualization and simulation tools for research and learning,” explained Takahashi. “Through our time working with Patti, five of our students explored consumer virtual reality platforms and enterprise 360 video recording and streaming technologies with the objective of providing an accessible immersive graduation experience to those who would otherwise be unable to attend.”

The VR ceremony takes place on February 27th at 3pm PT (Concord Law School and the schools of Business, Technology, and Health Sciences) and 6pm PT (Schools of Education, Nursing, and Social Behavioral Sciences). 

For more information visit here.

“We are excited to offer this virtual reality opportunity to our students, and likewise, we are delighted to celebrate the successful joint endeavor between technologists at Purdue West Lafayette and our staff at Purdue Global,” said Betty Vandenbosch, Purdue Global chancellor.

Image Credit: Purdue University

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Former Writer (Kyle Melnick)

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