Real-life skills for a virtual world

By Kirkwood Community College

An Iowa college launches a course that embraces emerging technology

Kirkwood Community College has created an augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) certificate course that has potential to dramatically impact regional workforce training and conferencing capabilities as well as how employees complete tasks remotely. The new offering, which began Jan. 25, is a mixture of lecture, hands-on exercises and lab experiences.

As AR and VR become more affordable, the technologies have become more feasible and widely used across multiple sectors. From manufacturing to healthcare to hospitality, as well as many other industries, businesses and organizations are beginning to realize the promising possibilities of implementing the technologies for a variety of uses. As 5G networks continue to grow across the world, the number of ways AR and VR are used will also become more prevalent.

To Kirkwood Program Developer Erin Brokel, with the explosion of remote working due to the pandemic, now is the right time to invest in these exciting and emerging technologies.

“The new certificate course is all about advancing the future of the region through the opportunities that AR and VR are going to continue to provide,” said Brokel. “As more and more industries realize the limitless potential of this technology, its use will spread into areas we never thought possible. It’s really going to be a driver of the growing automation and digitization of the workforce. This certificate will prepare someone to be an integral part of that transformation.”

Students will be able to explore the different immersive reality options, including augmented, virtual and 360° virtual video. Using the latest development tools, learners will discover coding techniques specific to creating AR and VR projects. In addition, those in the course will be able to take projects from beginning to end and share them through multiple mediums including mobile and wearable devices.

Removing barriers

For those who need it, tuition assistance is available and may fund up to 100% of the cost of the program. According to Brokel, that kind of support is just another example of Kirkwood’s commitment to the regional workforce and the people it serves in the institution’s seven-county area.

“Kirkwood has always done everything it can to eliminate the barriers to getting an education,” said Brokel. “Cost is obviously a major obstacle for some people. Tuition assistance ensures that everyone has access to the technology and the ability to learn how to make an impact with these groundbreaking tools.”

This article originally appeared here.

Kirkwood Community College

is located in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.