Creating a new “reality” for medical education: the Nexus Reality Lab for virtual reality
Keywords:Virtual Reality, Emerging Technologies, Medical Education, JMLA Virtual Projects
Background: The Technology Team at the Ruth Lilly Medical Library, Indiana University (IU), first started exploring virtual reality (VR) in 2016. In 2017, we began offering weekly sessions dubbed VRidays (“VR Fridays”) to give students an opportunity to experience the technology. We also purchased a portable VR setup that allowed us to demonstrate VR at our regional campuses.
Description: To lower the entry barrier to VR, the Technology Team collaborated with the IU Advanced Visualization Lab to establish a reality lab in our collaborative learning space. The lab opened in the fall of 2018 and consists of four high-end VR stations that are accessible to students at any time, but they can also make an appointment for a more guided experience. Information and instructions are available on a LibGuide.
Conclusion: We are currently collecting data on the number of unique users and evaluating application usage. We are working on a feedback mechanism and looking to develop collaborative partnerships across the university.
Virtual Projects are published on an annual basis in the Journal of the Medical Library Association (JMLA) following an annual call for virtual projects in MLAConnect and announcements to encourage submissions from all types of libraries. An advisory committee of recognized technology experts selects project entries based on their currency, innovation, and contribution to health sciences librarianship.