CIVS Develops Underwater VR with College of the Florida Keys

September 28, 2020

CIVS is developing a series of underwater VR lab modules for Marine Science and Technology courses through the NSF-sponsored DREAM STEM project (Developing Reliable Educational Avenues to STEM Careers). The project is being led by the College of the Florida Keys (CFK) and seeks to increase student interest, retention, and transition into STEM careers. As part of the project, CIVS researchers and students are working with CFK staff and instructors to develop immersive underwater labs to enhance existing courses.

Using VR headsets, students in the labs will conduct virtual underwater dives to learn and practice skills necessary for such topics as conducting surveys of coral reef habitats and assessing fish populations. The virtual lab modules mimic the conditions and activities carried out in the field and are expected to promote interest and improve student capabilities for conducting live dives in the field. The DREAM STEM project is part of NSF’s HSI program (Award #1928591) and is estimated to run through the end of 2024.