Torrens University Australia has won a 2022 Catalyst Award in the Teaching and Learning category for its work in virtual reality. The real-world experience of a working fashion studio has been meticulously designed into a new extended reality (XR) Virtual Design Studio. This allows students to experience activities that typically occur in real-world environments.
Eoghan Hogan, Director of Product Innovation at Torrens University, said the Catalyst Awards program recognises innovation and excellence to support student success in the global education community.
“At Torrens University Australia we have a commitment to deliver immersive, authentic, industry-based learning, and we are also passionately committed to exceeding the possibilities of classroom learning through digital innovation,” said Mr Hogan.
“Winning this award, in a field that included universities like John Hopkins University and Texas Tech University, is recognition of this commitment and of the incredible talent of our staff who are taking the student experience to a new level.”
The Virtual Design Studio was launched in May this year and allows Billy Blue College of Design at Torrens University Australia’s Branded Fashion Design students to immerse themselves in an XR environment and engage in a variety of interactive scenarios and demonstrations covering sewing and garment construction, as well as an introduction to different tools, equipment, and machinery.
Fashion Program Director Russell Ponting, Billy Blue College of Design said that embedding technological innovation in pedagogy is important as students enter an increasingly networked and virtual world.
“The COVID pandemic has accelerated digital innovation in the fashion industry, and it is now common to hear talk of digital fashion, virtual catwalks, collaborations between fashion and gaming companies, and customised avatars so bringing that innovation into the classroom is vital,” he said.
“Technological innovation like our Virtual Design Studio allows students to engage in a greater range of experiences and gives them more flexibility to interact with their course and with their classmates, extending the notion of shared knowledge beyond the confines of a traditional classroom.”
Paul Brafield, Vice President Global and Digital Enterprise said the Virtual Fashion Studio was just one example of how Torrens University was designing the future of learning.
“The tertiary education sector is changing, and the trajectory towards the future has been accelerated by COVID-19. We are committed to designing the future of learning, so our students are empowered and equipped to navigate an increasingly complex and changing world of work,” said Mr Brafield.
“The Virtual Design Studio uses immersive learning technology to extend learning beyond physical borders, advances students’ digital literacy and competitive advantage in contemporary workplaces and gives students agency over their learning.”