Extended Reality (XR), Interactive Design, and Coding Spaces

Our extended reality (XR), interactive design, and coding spaces give students the tools, skills, and mindsets to explore interaction with systems and the virtual. We interact with designed systems and live much of our lives in virtual spaces: spaces framed by computer screens, phones, and frameless virtual spaces afforded by augmented and virtual reality devices. How do we think and talk in and about the virtual? How do we elevate the human in systems designed by humans for humans? We provide the space, tools, skills, and languages for this conversation.

What is Interactive Design?

Interactive design is the practice of applying design methodologies (brainstorming, prototyping, iteration, etc.) to interactive systems. These might include computer-mediated digital systems (video games, simulations, web sites, etc.) or they might be "analog" systems (board games, role playing games, mechanical systems, etc.) A system becomes interactive when a player is able to change the state of the system without simply disordering it (i.e. ripping a page out of a book would not make the book interactive unless the book was designed for that purpose). 

We are curious how interactive design and coding fit into UVA's liberal arts education and resonate with the intention to educate citizens who will do good in the world.

What is XR?

Extended Reality (XR) encompasses the following:

  • Virtual Reality (VR)

    Definition: An experience of a totally virtual world, distinct from reality, using a VR headset. 
  • Augmented Reality (AR)

    Definition: An experience of reality, but with additional information on a virtual layer, most commonly using smartphone cameras and screens. 
  • Mixed Reality (MR)

    Definition: Mixed Reality combines Virtual Reality with reality, for a blended experience of dual realities. 

How is XR used in Education?

XR is primarily used for technical training and simulations, however we seek novel ways to use existing software as well as prototype new software for liberal arts education. 

Readily-available XR technologies have only been available for the last decade; our thinking around these technologies for education is in its infancy.

How are XR and "Immersive Learning" Different?

XR and "Immersive" are often used the same way, but "Immersive Learning" does not require specific technologies (e.g. immersive language learning in a specific language community). In the context of XR technologies, we use the term "Immersive Learning" to encompass all types of learning that might use these technologies.

Our Spaces:

Interactive Media Studio

Wilson 207

Learn more

STEM Immersive Room

Chemistry 201

Opening Fall 2021



Learn more about XR, interactive design, and coding
Jason Bennett Photo

Jason Bennett

Project Manager & Maker Space Specialist

Extended Reality (XR) Tools

Extended Reality (XR) includes Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), and Mixed Reality (MR). We have XR hardware and also support software prototyping for XR.
Woman wearing VR goggles