Interior design senior student capstone showcase in immersive virtual reality platform

SPDC’s Linda Nubani designed and hosted the first-ever virtual reality platform for her interior design senior student capstone presentations, a pandemic-inspired innovation that reached an international audience.

Linda Nubani, assistant professor of interior design, showcased her senior student’s capstone projects through a customized immersive virtual reality platform on NEXTMEET TM. The IDES 452 Interior Design Synthesis III is a required course for senior interior design students where they develop full design proposals for existing places within the state of Michigan. This year, students worked with the City of Lansing’s Department of Economic Development and Planning to develop proposals for the retail level of the North Capitol Ramp in Downtown Lansing, Michigan.

On April 29, 2021, students presented their capstone projects live to an audience. Visitors joined the virtual reality gallery from all over the world, interacted live with students and gave constructive feedback on their work. The live demonstrations were followed by a reception with celebratory speeches, music and dance. Professor Nubani indicated that the work produced by the Class of 2021 was exemplary, professional and exceeded her expectations, especially with limited access to resources or computer labs on campus. The event was also livestreamed on Facebook to enable more people to experience the space.

Nubani commented: “I was so pleased with the outcome. We received over 300 visitors over the week-long gallery from 10 different countries, making this event a truly global one. I believe that virtual reality is the future. I interacted with professors and students from different institutions and different architectural firms. One architectural firm from Dubai joined the space and found the showcase to be a great opportunity to recruit talented students.”

The feedback from the virtual audience showed that the event was a resounding success:

· David Boeck, an Associate Professor of Architecture at the University of Oklahoma, visited the showcase multiple times. He commented: “From the time I “walked” into the gallery in my avatar it was an experience that I could never have imagined! Walking “up” to one of the students and their exhibit was so realistic and almost natural. . . The COVID has changed for good the way we will teach and interact in the future with our students on campus and especially with our students in other places. Virtual reality gives all the opportunity to meet and interact in a way that will support what goes on or has gone on in the past with presentations and learning and make the classroom experience truly international - linking us together wherever we are in a way to enhance learning.”

· Sophia Tiglao’s father was one of the guests. He commented: "It was wonderful to be able to see my daughter's work and the opportunity for her and her classmates to present it to their friends and family especially during these unprecedented times."

· Eunsil Lee, Director of Interior Design Program at Michigan State University said: “We are so proud to be one of the first Interior Design programs in the world to bring the senior showcase experience to life online in an avatar-based virtual reality setting. We appreciate Dr. Nubani's tremendous efforts to make this unique and innovative event successful.”

· Kristy Kellom, an instructor in the interior design program, commented: “After a year of built-up zoom fatigue, this interactive avatar-based event brought excitement back to working from a distance! What I really enjoyed most was the audio zones feature, which enabled me to explore informal one-on-one conversations, or choose to join large group events dependent upon where my avatar body moved around the gallery.”

· Mohammad Alfarwati, a student from the American University in Cairo, said: “I entered the space, I didn’t know what to expect, I thought it was amazing. We can talk like in real life. The project is completely organized, good sense of choosing materials.”

Nubani added: “I like to think of this event as the first student showcase ever run using virtual reality. I am definitely interested in organizing the same gallery again using virtual reality even after the pandemic is over.”

For more information about this virtual showcase, please contact Linda Nubani at nubanili@msu.edu

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