The Big, Virtual Apple


Virtual and Augmented Reality is here, with more than ten million of systems floating around the United States alone. Students in this course will learn all about VR, everything ranging from its roots from science fiction to how to engineer experiences. Each week will include a field trip to a VR installation and a subsequent workshop where we break down that VR experience in terms of its usefulness, its fidelity, and its narrative quality. The goal of these field trips is not just to experience the cutting edge of VR, but to use the lessons learned to hone our own VR experience. At the end of 10 weeks, students will each produce a VR “Storyboard”, that is, a scene-by-scene script of all people, objects, and logic sequences for a complete VR experience. Confirmed field trips include: The VR Storyscape at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival, The New York Times VR division, Google’s Jigsaw team, Madison Square Garden’s NY Ranger Fan Experience, and the videogame arcade at VR World.

Meet the Instructor(s)

Jeremy Bailenson

Jeremy Bailenson

Jeremy Bailenson is founding director of Stanford University’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab, Thomas More Storke Professor in the Department of Communication, Professor (by courtesy) of Education, Professor (by courtesy) Program in Symbolic Systems, a Senior Fellow at the Woods Institute for the Environment, and a Faculty Leader at Stanford’s Center for Longevity. He earned a B.A. cum laude from the University of Michigan in 1994 and a Ph.D. in cognitive psychology from Northwestern University in 1999. He spent four years at the University of California, Santa Barbara as a Post-Doctoral Fellow and then an Assistant Research Professor.

Bailenson studies the psychology of Virtual Reality (VR), in particular how virtual experiences lead to changes in perceptions of self and others. His lab builds and studies systems that allow people to meet in virtual space, and explores the changes in the nature of social interaction. His most recent research focuses on how VR can transform education, environmental conservation, empathy, and health. He is the recipient of the Dean’s Award for Distinguished Teaching at Stanford.

He has published more than 100 academic papers, in interdisciplinary journals such as Science and PLoS One, as well domain-specific journals in the fields of communication, computer science, education, environmental science, law, marketing, medicine, political science, and psychology. His work has been continuously funded by the National Science Foundation for 15 years.

Bailenson consults pro bono on VR policy for government agencies including the State Department, the US Senate, Congress, the California Supreme Court, the Federal Communication Committee, the U.S. Army, Navy, and Air Force, the Department of Defense, the Department of Energy, the National Research Council, and the National Institutes of Health.

His first book Infinite Reality, co-authored with Jim Blascovich, was quoted by the U.S. Supreme Court outlining the effects of immersive media. His new book, “Experience on Demand”, was reviewed by The New York TimesThe Wall Street JournalThe Washington PostNature, and The Times of London, and was an Amazon Best-seller.

He has written opinion pieces for The Washington PostCNNPBS NewsHourWired, National GeographicSlateThe San Francisco Chronicle, and The Chronicle of Higher Education, and has produced or directed five VR documentary experiences which were official selections at the Tribeca Film Festival. His lab’s research has exhibited publicly at museums and aquariums, including a permanent installation at the San Jose Tech Museum.