The Division of Continuing Education announced yesterday that it is adding a new format to the ever-growing list of class modalities: virtual reality. The new format will roll out beginning Fall 2021.
“In Fall 2019, we learned that the campus was interested in absorbing our online credit programming,” said Scott Battle, Assistant Dean for Online Learning, “and we were like, ‘Why take our online? There’s nothing stopping you from offering your own online classes. Offer all the online you want!’”
After wiping away a single tear, Battle explained, “Of course, we were pretty confident that the campus would never offer online on their own – we were all snickering under our breath. We had no way of anticipating a global pandemic.” In response to COVID-19, the campus shifted the vast majority of its classes to either fully or partially remote and online formats.
“Once we saw how comfortable main campus faculty were with online instruction, we knew that we could no longer rely on online to set us apart,” said Battle.
Continuing Education will launch 20 virtual reality classes in the fall, each of which passed a grueling set of carefully considered criteria as part of the approval process for the initial round of course offerings. “I call it the Ka-Pow Rubric,” said Ted Rockwell, Senior Director for Marketing, “which basically just asks, ‘When I hear the description of the VR course, do I feel like I just got roundhouse kicked in the face by Batman?’ If so, it makes the cut!”
Rockwell outlined the unique marketing strategy, saying that Continuing Education will target the bulk of their campaign to virtual reality and gaming subreddits, Discord, College of Engineering listservs, and fraternities. “Of course,” said Rockwell, “these classes will market themselves. After all, who doesn’t want to dig for lost cities in The Archaeology of Human History, or cross the Alps with Hannibal and his war elephants in The Rise and Fall of Ancient Rome, or touch brains in Systems Neuroscience?”
Continuing Education enrollment opens in early April. Students can rent virtual reality headsets from the CU Book Store, but supplies are limited.