The Virtual Reality Specialization on Coursera is a set of five courses to teach the basics of using virtual reality. The courses don’t focus on using virtual reality in education; however, many of the concepts learned in the courses can be used in many fields. While virtual reality is commonly associated with video games, the courses in virtual reality specialization don’t cover video games that much. One of the main focuses on using virtual reality the the lectures cover is the use of virtual reality in therapy. Some lectures do cover video game basics and terms such as talking about affordance, different types of camera angles, such as third and first-person cameras, and controller input types.
Each course in the specialization is listed as lasting four weeks and the main specialization page states that you should plan on spending five hours a week for six months to complete all of the classes. However, the courses can be completed much quicker than that. If you chose the paid option, you can take the provided quizzes and submit assignments to be graded by your peers. You peers also grade your assignments so all assignments are peer-graded besides the automatically graded multiple choice questions. These assignments and quizzes do have due dates is you are doing the paid option. However, you can take the classes at a faster pace if you want. The only that that will slow you down is waiting to get your assignment graded and waiting to grade other peers’ assignments because you have to grade three assignments before the section is marked complete.
But you can take the courses without paying. You can audit the courses, but if you do so, you cannot take the quizzes or submit assignments. You can, however, watch all of the lectures and participate in the discussions. Because you can’t complete all the assignments if you audit the courses, you won’t receive a certificate of completion once you finish.
What do I need to take the courses?
The main program that is used in the lectures is the Unity game engine. The engine is free to download. You will also need a smartphone or a virtual reality headset such as the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive. That said, a majority of the content in the courses can be made and used on any smartphone. If you are using a phone for this class, you will also need a VR mount to put your phone in. Google cardboard is a cheap way to get started. However, Google cardboard can get a little messy from the oil on your skin and quickly become something that you really don’t want to stick on your face and something that you wouldn’t want to share with somebody. If you want to spend a little bit more, I suggest you get a plastic head mounted display for your phone.
Coursera Virtual Reality Course Reviews
Each of the courses in the virtual reality specialization lasts four weeks. Since you can go at your own pace, you can complete them as fast or as slow as you want. For example, if you are already familiar with using the game engine Unity, then you may just speed through some of the sections. The courses use Unity to build virtual reality apps; however there is no coding involved, so you can start the courses with no prior coding or game making experience.
Introduction to Virtual Reality: Course review
This is the first course of the specialization. The course mainly involves the theory or virtual reality and the history of virtual reality. The different types VR of headsets are also covered. Please check back for a full review of this course.
3D Models for Virtual Reality: Course review
The second course in the VR specialization covers 3D models and how 3D environments are built. This course introduces you to Unity, how to navigate the program, and how to build 3D environments for virtual reality. To read a full review of this course and what is covered in it, click here.
3D interaction Design in Virtual Reality
This course is where things really start getting fun. In this course you will learn the different ways how people can interact with things in virtual reality. You will also learn how to implement some of these things in Unity. For example, you’ll learn how to open doors and move your player just by looking at certain objects. This course provides resources from the Unity Asset Store to implement these features so you don’t have to do any coding. To read more about this course, check out the full review.
Building Interactive 3D Characters and Social VR: Course Review
This course covers social VR. The lectures cover how communication is done in the real world and the problems with implementing lifelike virtual avatars in a virtual reality environment. The course also provides practical tips for using Unity such as character animation. Check back for the full review.
Making Your First Virtual Reality Game: Course Review
This course involves putting together everything you learned in the previous courses in order to make a virtual reality game. Check back later for the full review.