Virtual Reality (ATS 4135) is a studio course with a heavy-hand of theory focusing on interactive immersive media topics. Through the course, students will consider various artworks and projects realized in virtual reality, and how they inform public consciousness of spaces. Accompanying readings are but a sample of current endeavors meant to open up a common discourse on issues of immersion and human experience, such as metaphors of space, dynamic form in three dimensions, perception and representation, simulation, information, mapping, embodiment, and telepresence.

The course will be a combination of lectures, discussions, and hands-on experimentation with virtual reality in two forms: tethered (HTC Vive) and mobile (Google Cardboard). Readings, lab sessions, and studies are assigned to match the week's topic.

To be covered:

  • History of virtual reality;
  • Relevant theory for VR development;
  • Skills to use emerging VR technologies;
  • Practical proficiencies including basic knowledge of
    • Unity3D
    • HTC Vive
    • Google Cardboard

Instructor: Jas Brooks
Teaching assistant: Zhong Ren
Room: MacLean 402
Course times: Wednesdays, 9:00am–12:00pm + 1:00pm–4:00pm

Jas's Office Hours: Mondays, 11:00am-2:00pm, Flex Space (4th floor of MacLean).
Zhong's Office Hours: By appointment.


There are no course prerequisites. However, experience in 3D modeling, programming, game development, installation, painting, etc. can help enormously in their own ways.


If you must miss any portion of a course, please contact and coordinate with me before the day of the class. In cases of family emergencies (eg deaths), please loop in your academic advisor to help relieve stress; any resultant absences will not impact attendance record.

In general, attendance follows:

  • More than 3 absences results in No Credit (NCR).
  • 3 late arrivals (15+ minutes) count as 1 absence.
  • 6 or more unexcused late arrivals or early departures results in NCR.
If you are close to receiving an NCR, I will either reach out to you directly or issue a Class Progress Report (CPR).

Academic Misconduct

From the SAIC Student Handbook:

Academic misconduct includes both plagiarism and cheating, and may consist of: the submission of the work of another as one’s own; unauthorized assistance on a test or assignment; submission of the same work for more than one class without the knowledge and consent of all instructors; or the failure to properly cite texts or ideas from other sources. Academic misconduct also includes the falsification of academic or student-related records, such as transcripts, evaluations and letters of recommendation.

Academic misconduct extends to all spaces on campus, including satellite locations and online education. Academic integrity is expected in all coursework, including online learning. It is assumed that the person receiving the credit for the course is the person completing the work. SAIC has processes in place, including LDAP authentication, to verify student identity.

Specific procedures for faculty to follow in the case of academic misconduct are detailed in both the Student Handbook and SAIC Bulletin.

Additional resources for students:

  • Read "Plagiarism: How to Recognize It and Avoid It": a short guide prepared by the Faculty Senate Student Life Subcommittee in 2004.
  • Read the Flaxman Library’s quick guide titled "When to give credit."


Accommodations for Students with Disabilities: SAIC is committed to full compliance with all laws regarding equal opportunities for students with disabilities. Students with known or suspected disabilities, such as a Reading/Writing Disorder, ADD/ADHD, and/or a mental health condition who think they would benefit from assistance or accommodations should first contact the Disability and Learning Resource Center (DLRC) to schedule an appointment. DLRC staff will review your disability documentation and work with you to determine reasonable accommodations. They will then provide you with a letter outlining the approved accommodations for you to deliver to your instructors (here, Jas). This letter must be presented before any accommodations will be implemented. You should contact the DLRC as earlyin the semester as possible. The DLRC is located within the Wellness Center on the 13th floor of 116 S Michigan Ave. and can be reached via phone at 312.499.4278 or email at

Syllabus Updates

The schedule and studies are liable to change during the semester. Please check the website regularly, and make not of any changes flagged or announced by Jas in class.


This curriculum would not be possible without crucial input from: Lect. Brenda Lopez (SAIC, ATS), Prof. Pedro Lopes (UChicago), Li Yao (SAIC, MFA 18), and Snow Xu (SAIC, BFA 19). A big thank you to you all! :)