University of Oregon

Immersive Communication

The next media frontier is immersive.

Introduction, Exploration and Design Fundamentals of Immersive Communication

Oregon Reality (OR) Lab–Portland Campus

Has been postponed until June, 2021.

This course is a week-long bootcamp 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. Throughout the week, participants will gain 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 (June 22)-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.

Creating for the Virtual World (June 23–26)-taught by Nikki Dunsire:

During this part of the 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 and Unreal Engine) to design their first interactive VR scenes in addition to using third party applications and content editing software to create mobile augmented visuals for print media (example: business cards). They will explore off the shelf resources to get them started quickly as well as examine the steps needed to create custom objects and environments for their original ideas. Students will become familiar with software applications used in the industry and examine the production pipeline for creating proper computer-generated (CG) content for real-time rendering environments. At the end, students will have a foundational understanding of what it takes to innovate and create for immersive spaces. Software applications used: Unity, Epic’s Unreal Engine, Autodesk Maya, Adobe Photoshop.

Cost: $895

Registration includes the full week, 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 and the Oregon Reality Lab at SOJC-Portland. She brings more than 25 years of 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.

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. She worked as a Production Coordinator and 3D Technical Director for Animation Dynamics Inc., a visual effects and animation studio focused on commercial advertising, direct response television, entertainment and business-to-business marketing for clients ranging from Fortune 500 firms to independent film and game producers. She’s taught courses on media and game production for 12 years as a faculty member at several northwest colleges and universities and was a part of the Microsoft HoloLens Academic Research Grant for developing Augmented Reality applications for trade-based education environments through Clackamas Community College and Oregon Storyboard.

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.