The XLab course was founded in 2018, and has been providing quality virtual reality content for viewers to use. Located in St. Thomas Aquinas College, XLab holds a select amount of students with different majors to join this course. These students work on all different types of project in many departments to create the perfect experience for the audience
Xlab is an experiential project-based course that relies on agile development methodologies to enable learning and the application of knowledge. Students from a variety of programs apply their specific areas of interest, knowledge and experience to the creation of a significant virtual reality industry-strength product. The mission of XLab is to create an inclusive small-group learning environment.
Based on Agile/Scrum methodology, the course structure is designed to optimize flexibility, creativity, and productivity. Students create self-organizing teams that choose how best to accomplish their work, rather than being directed by faculty. The overall product reflects the effort, contribution and quality of everyone’s combined efforts.
In Xlab, faculty members serve as subject area experts who will provide materials and support to students to facilitate just-in-time learning that is applicable to the task(s) at hand during each sprint within the project. Students select the theme of the project and its application and work throughout the semester to complete a prototype. Examples include a VR simulation of the effects of extreme weather conditions, specifically the effect of storm surges on the Philadelphia metro area, and a VR time-travel narrative allowing the player to enter events in and around World War II.
XLAB 2022 explores using technology to model experiences of discrimination and external bias. Participants walk around a virtual mall and encounter different forms of discrimination depending on which storefront they enter. Only after the scenario is completed are the physical characteristics of the participants revealed, allowing them to experience what it’s like to jump into someone else’s body. Students used motion capture technology to make the characters as realistic as possible, designed the environment, and wrote and recorded the scenarios. This collaboration brought together students and faculty in computer science, psychology, english, and theater.