Continuing and Professional Education

Immersive Media

The next media frontier is immersive.

Introduction, Exploration and Design Fundamentals of Immersive Media

Oregon Reality (OR) Lab–Portland Campus

10:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. every Friday, July 12–August 30, 2019

This course offers three-segments over eight weeks in the University of Oregon’s exciting and innovative Oregon Reality (OR) Lab in Portland. The program is designed to take participants on a journey through the evolution of social VR, explore immersive platforms and learn the foundations of building content for virtual environments. Each segment builds upon the other to give participants a well-rounded introduction to using and creating content for immersive technology in order to build communities, tell stories, educate audiences, market brands and bring about social change. **No Prior experience needed**

What to expect

Building Communities and Brands in Social VR (July 12, 19) - taught by Donna Davis:

Part I will offer insights into the history and evolution of social VR from its early stages in the game space to the emerging social platforms designed for immersion in virtual reality headsets. Students will explore and experience a number of platforms with an expectation of critically analyzing current and potential use of immersive VR in community building, storytelling, marketing, design, education and more. Students will also be challenged to consider the ethical implications of this technology as well as potential impacts on equity and inclusion.

Exploring Immersive Platforms (July 26, Aug 02, 09) - taught by Maxwell Foxman:

During the second segment of this course, students will get an introduction to the ways, means and tools for designing and building for virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) experiences. They will work with game engines (Unity) to design their first interactive VR scene, make a mobile augmented reality (AR) project for their phone and understand how to bring such projects to life through animation. The course will also introduce off-the-shelf resources that communications professionals are already using in offices across the nation to design avatars, make apps and distribute their experiences to users. This segment ultimately will provide a hands-on overview for them to begin to pursue their own VR, AR, XR, or WebXR projects.

Creating for the Virtual World (Aug 16, 23, 30) - taught by Nikki Dunsire:

In the final section of the course, students will take a deep dive into the process of bringing original ideas to life in VR. They will explore the steps needed to create custom objects and environments for immersive applications as well as setting up a system for teleporting and interacting with elements in their virtual scenes. Students will become familiar with software applications used in the industry and examine the production pipeline for creating proper 3D models and textures for integration into a real-time rendering environment. At the end of this section, students will have a foundational understanding of what it takes to innovate and create for virtual spaces. Software applications used: Unity, Maya, Photoshop.

Cost: $895

Registration includes all eight sessions, classes meeting and lab hours in the Oregon Reality (OR) Lab, and a certificate of completion.

For payment options and plans, please contact Continuing and Professional Education. Final payments are required by the first day of class.


White Stag Block
70 NW Couch Street, Suite 405
The Oregon Reality (OR) Lab

Meet the Instructors

Donna Davis, PhD

Photograph of instructor Donna Davis.

Donna Z. Davis joined the SOJC faculty in fall 2010 when she taught in Eugene for one year before moving to Portland. She now directs the Strategic Communication master’s program at the George S. Portland Turnbull Center. She brings more than 25 years experience in public relations, fundraising, and nonprofit communication to the classroom, including 10 years as producer and host of Family Album Radio, an award-winning, daily, two-minute radio program distributed through NPR.

Davis earned her Ph.D. in mass communication from the University of Florida, where she studied relationship formation in 3D immersive virtual environments. Her ethnographic research continues to focus on the potential uses of virtual worlds, gamification, and other emerging social media, with a special interest in marginalized and vulnerable communities. Her research on embodied experience and identity among people with disabilities in virtual reality was funded through a grant from the National Science Foundation. She was also an inaugural faculty fellow for the SOJC Agora Journalism Center for Innovation and Civic Engagement, extending her work with people with Parkinson’s disease who find and build support in the virtual world.

Maxwell Foxman, PhD

Photograph of instructor Maxwell Foxman.

Maxwell Foxman earned his Ph.D. in communications at Columbia University and has come to the SOJC as an assistant professor of media studies with a focus on game studies. His dissertation analyzed early adopters, developers and content creators of commercial virtual reality and other immersive technologies. He also researches how games and play are used in non-game environments, including politics, social media and the news.

Nikki Dunsire, MSc

Photograph of instructor Nikki Dunsire.

Nikki Dunsire is an industry professional and longtime educator in the fields of Media, Animation and Game Arts. Being involved in the creation of media, exploring new practices and techniques, collaborating, sharing and finding ways to tell stories and entertain others have always been passions of Nikki’s.

Nikki has a Bachelor of Arts in Digital Media Studies with an Art and Design minor from the University of Denver, a Bachelor of Science in Media Arts and Animation from The Art Institute of Portland, and a Master’s of Science in Computer Science with an emphasis in Technical Direction and Development from DePaul University in Chicago, IL.