The Six Styles of Immersive Experience

April 3, 2020
Immersive Learning at WPU means trying new things

6 Styles of Experience

What if you don’t have the time or energy it might take for an immersive opportunity?  It might be easier to skip out on them and stick to the lecture classes, write your papers and be done.  Why participate in immersive learning (IL) if it’s just going to take more time and money for the same thing, right?

WRONG.

I think a common misconception of immersive learning is that it needs to be extravagant. It needs to involve crossing borders, weekends at school, or have an extensive budget.  Although sometimes it can, immersive learning covers a wide scale of experiences.  To really show what IL looks like at Peace, I’m giving you 6 different styles of immersive learning. 

#1 Simulations

Sarah Boone, senior business major, is making big-  time business decisions for a real tech company.  She chooses price, design, product quality, marketing, budgets, financing- all of the essential decisions companies have to make to survive.

All of this is true except for the fact it’s not real.  Instead of a real company, it’s a simulation.

Glo-bus Simulation is used in Dr. Carolyn Nye’s Business Policy class.  It is the capstone course for the business program.  Each student is given a company and a partner, and it is survival of the fittest from there.

Each company makes the business decisions weekly, which is “yearly” in the simulation.  Each company is then graded by the program based on results of things like “earning per share, stock price, revenue, etc.

‘Working on the Globus simulation has helped me build leadership skills due to my ability to act as co-manager of a company… working with the simulation provides the opportunity to explore decision-making within a company,” said Boone.

Students wrap up their degree by reflecting on and applying all the information they built up gradually.  It truly pinpoints what was learned and what needs practicing, and adds to the ever- building list of experience.

#2 Partnerships

What’s better than a simulation? Creating a live project.  To actually create and produce something that can be used by that partner.  Such partners can offer working insights and add a different perspective.

In the Spring semester of 2018, Peace partnered with the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema.  Alamo was opening a brand new location in Raleigh that coming April, so what’s needed when a new company opens?  Public Relations.

Prior to opening, Dr. Kate Maddalena’s Public Relations technique course partnered with Alamo and spent their Spring semester promoting the opening and spreading brand awareness.  They did so through hosting an “ interactive movie party” on campus, sending professional new releases, creating visual content, and much more.  They even made it on the radio.

Erienne Dickman, senior communication major, was a student in this course.  She held a big role in actively updating the target market and handling social media.

“I was able to gain real world knowledge by creating a Snapchat filter that allowed the WPU student body and local community members to be interactive on social media,” said Dickman. “I have been able to apply the skills I learned during the Alamo Drafthouse project to the marketing position I’m in now.”

She is now an event coordinator and multimedia marketer for a nonprofit and uses her PR skills on the job all the time.

#3 Project-Based

This goes beyond a typical project.  This means blood, sweat, and tears. This means sleepless nights and fighting the will not to quit.

Okay, maybe not that intense, but it does involve an in-depth project that in the end, concludes the class content in some way.  It is a working model of what you learned and it’s applied in some way.  One example of this is the senior communication capstone course, Communication Agency.

Co- taught by Professors Roger Christman and Marti Maguire and worth a whopping 25% of the grade, students are put into three groups to make a new broadcast.  In each of the three groups, there’s six roles: Producer, anchor, script- writer, editor, and video and audio.

Caylan Harrison, senior communications major, was a co-anchor and reporter in her group’s newscast, Pacer News Network.

“We weren’t learning anything new, we were just applying what we’ve already learned,” said Harrison.  “The purpose was to have a final product we’re proud to include in our portfolios and proud to show employers…we created a real product based on professional TV standards.”

Harrison shared it went beyond simulating a real news room, but it also showed the real working life of collaboration and schedule chaos.

“We all had to work around our busy schedules and have a plan for when everything needed to be completed so collaboration and teamwork were super important skills we were practicing,” said Harrison.

Check out their student produced newscast here.

#4 Leadership- Training

College aims at learning different concepts and topics. But what’s not talked about often is that it’s about learning about yourself.

Deciding what you want to do is hard enough, but navigating leadership style and personal leadership capacity can be harder.  No matter what job a student ends up in, leadership skills are relevant and can potentially separate them from the rest.

How do you become an effective leader?  Wait until you get a leadership position and see how you do…. Or get started with throughout leadership training before you graduate college.

Leadership and Management Studies is a minor and a concentration option for the business program.  One of the classes required is Dr. Heidi Gailor’s Leadership course.  With this course there is a Leadership Lab offered where students spend a weekend at Camp Rockfish focusing on leadership, team- building and personal growth.

Steven Wiggley, senior Business major concentrating in Leadership and Management, participated in Spring 2019.

“We spent the weekend talking and participating in activities with one another and sharing past experiences,” said Wiggley.  “The challenges we faced forced us to learn how to work effectively as a group to overcome our obstacles.”

#5 Service Learning

Scrubbing dishes.  Learning the pros and cons of volunteering.  What makes you grateful for life.  What makes you grateful for education.

Mo Zoror, senior business major, completed his service learning project at A Place at The Table.

A Place at the Table is a “pay- what- you- can- cafe,” which means customers can either pay half price, pay with a food token, or volunteer for their meal.  This experience involved working with others and serving those across different ages, races, classes, educational backgrounds, and many other factors.

“Prior to this course, my idea of diversity was based on physical characteristics. This project introduced me to the many layers of diversity, showing me that people can be separated in many ways,” Zoror said.  “I got to see the theories in action, and I saw more than what could be shown in the classroom.”

Talking about serving others and actually serving others are entirely different.  Can you truly understand that without doing?

#6 Study Offsite

No, not “study abroad.”  I think that is the most obvious form.  But like I said, it doesn’t need to be extravagant.

I think “study abroad” can be changed to “study offsite.”  Peace is also known to use it’s backyard of Downtown Raleigh and has some trips to different cities and states.  I think traveling anywhere that offers a different sense of culture, perspective, or context is immersive learning.

Downtown Raleigh. New York City.  Mexico.  Italy.  Spain.  Japan.  The list keeps going…

Peace hosts a variety of study abroad trips though, and most offer student scholarships and a full- time guide.  Deja Gainey, senior double major in global studies and political science, has participated in several study abroad trips.

“It allowed me to completely immerse myself in a culture that I only read about in my courses,” said Gainey.  “Studying abroad is one of the best decisions that a student can make because it allows you to become more aware of the world around you and be a global citizen.”

Each WPU student will get experience through IL in some way.  There’s too many options to put on here.  Think about what experience put you above the rest when starting your career, and stay tuned to see how Peace gets students in the ring.


Shannon Turner WPU senior 300x300 - The Six Styles of Immersive ExperienceThis is the second in a series of posts by senior, Shannon Turner | Student Body Vice President. 

First Post: So, What is Immersive Learning?