On Thursday, February 27., more than 75 Purdue University Global graduates will participate in the first-of-its-kind virtual reality (VR) commencement ceremony, while around 400-plus Purdue University Global graduates will take part in the graduation live in Los Angeles.
The virtual graduates will walk onto the stage and see their pictures displayed on an overhead big screen. In Los Angeles, a camera operator will provide 360-degree views via an Insta360 Pro 2 camera and a live stream on YouTube 360.
The students getting the virtual experience will receive a VR headset, a diploma cover, tassel, Purdue Global bumper sticker, 360-degree camera feed, and an honor cord, if applicable. More than that, it doesn’t cost the students anything.
Patti Pelletier, director of the learning and leadership community for Purdue Global, tells Parentology about the excitement of having graduation in a virtual setting for the students who can’t make the graduation in-person.
“We wanted them to feel like they were really there,” Pelletier says. “We wanted them to feel like the other graduates there, in the seats, listening to the speakers.”
VR Graduation Brought to Life
Pelletier and other Purdue Global officials worked with George Takahashi, lead visualization scientist for ITaP’s Research Computing Envision Center on the Purdue University West Lafayette campus, on their vision for the virtual commencement center.
“We started the process two years ago, initially to find a way to offer conferences for professional development,” Pelletier says. “A lot of people can’t travel to these conferences, and it costs a lot of money. As a virtual university, we wanted a virtual conference center for anyone to attend. In investigating that, we looked into virtual graduation.”
Takahashi and Pelletier worked with students to bring Purdue University’s VR graduation to life.
“Five students were on George’s [Takahashi] team looking into what technology was out right now and what we could do with augmented reality,” Pelletier says. “No one has done a 360-degree feed, being a virtually online university, we wanted to provide this experience.”
While the in-person West Coast Regional Ceremony will take place in Los Angeles’ Skirball Cultural Center, remote graduates will get the grad-experiences from different locations around the world.
Purdue University VR — Sources
Patti Pelletier, director of the learning and leadership community for Purdue Global
Purdue University VR Experience
Purdue University Global commencement to include first-of-its-kind virtual reality component