Once the domain of science fiction, virtual reality is coming to labs and lecture halls at UWC to produce graduates ready to face the Fourth Industrial Revolution, a world-changing synthesis of humanity and machines.
The university is now offering a postgraduate diploma in e-Skills that incorporates augmented reality and virtual reality.
Augmented reality superimposes a computer-generated imaging over the real world, while virtual reality replaces the user’s real world with a computer-simulated one.
The Postgraduate Diploma in Immersive Technologies is a one-year programme built on a collaboration between immersive technology company, EON Reality and UWC’s Department of Computer Science in Information Systems.
The university held an open day at the weekend to show off the technology on offer in the programme.
Professor Antoine Bagula, head of the Computer Science Programme at UWC, said the programme was important for South Africa because it offered enhanced learning that was not possible without the AR/VR technologies.
“Some studies around the world have revealed that learning in an immersive environment leads to improved success rates compared to traditional ways of learning,” he said.
A recent study in South Africa on the Fourth Industrial Revolution had found that all sectors of industry were planning to use AR/VR to increase their productivity. They included retail, mining, construction, engineering, IT software and services, health, education, logistics, finance, real estate, manufacturing and training simulations.
Dr Mmaki Jantjies, senior lecturer in Information Systems, said: “UWC, in understanding the need to develop skills in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, looked at partnering with EON Reality to upskill young and upcoming Africans in a skill that is much needed – AR and VR.
Students will be able to learn to develop the technology for immersive platforms like head-mounted gears and mobile phones.”