Published on 23 September 2015
A $37.2 million purpose-built facility packed with world-class technology to transform student learning and staff teaching at the University of the Sunshine Coast will be officially opened on Friday 25 September.
Australian Special Minister of State, Minister for Defence Materiel and Science, and Federal Member for Fisher Mal Brough will open the three-storey Engineering Learning Hub for a host of guests at a function from 10am to noon.
It is one of only four facilities in the world with the CAVE2TM, a massive, 320-degree immersive environment that combines visualisation techniques with three-dimensional and virtual reality technology.
Media are welcome to attend the opening, which will include guest tours of the very visual CAVE2TM environment in operation.
USC Vice-Chancellor Professor Greg Hill said the University was the first in the world to use the technology for teaching and learning, rather than solely for research.
“This is part of the technology revolution in education,” Professor Hill said. “Our new hub is capable of totally reimagining teaching, learning and research across diverse faculties and disciplines, starting with engineering.
“Visualisation using 3D and virtual reality allows students to see and interact with complex data in more easily understood ways, reinforcing powerful learning.
“For example, aspiring engineers can ‘look inside’ walls or engines to devise innovative solutions to problems.
“It is catering to the workforce needs of both this region and the world, especially in the era of digital disruption.”
Another feature of the hub is its Collaboration Studio, with a huge 2D/3D touch-enabled screen that can connect with multiple sources such as laptops, tablets and phones.
The building is a joint initiative of the University and the Australian Government’s Education Investment Fund, which contributed $30 million to the project.
The principal systems integrator for the visualisation facilities was Mechdyne Corporation, a US-based company that is a leading global provider of high-end, audio visual, virtual reality systems and simulators.
Mechdyne CEO Chris Clover said USC was leading the way in innovation as it combined immersive and collaboration technology in teaching environments.
“This facility is truly world class and one that we are honoured to have helped co-create and continue to support,” Mr Clover said. “We are excited about our partnership with USC and look forward to enabling discovery among the students, faculty and staff.”
The University is making the facilities available to the wider Sunshine Coast community, from schools and TAFE to business, industry and community groups, to further advance the region and economy.
— Julie Schomberg