Five Edmonton universities and colleges came together on October 17th to showcase the innovations in learning provided by virtual reality and augmented reality technology.  

The event, hosted at NorQuest College, incorporated rapid-fire presentations from the presenting partners and an exhibition space for product demonstration and information. Presenters included:  

Jennifer Mah, Dean Faculty of Health & Community Studies-NorQuest College
Dr. Jodi Abbott, President & CEO-NorQuest College
Reg Joseph, CEO-Health City Edmonton
Dr. Martin Ferguson-Pell, Professor with the Faculty of Rehabilitation-Medicine-UofA
Nathanial Madea, Director of Technical Operations, Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine-UofA
Cecilia Bukutu, Director of Public Health-Concordia University Edmonton
Graham Werstiuk, Director Centre for Advanced Medical Simulation-NAIT
Dustin Chan, Manager Projects & Innovation-NorQuest College
Phil Switzer, Educational Technology Consultant–NorQuest College
Preetumsingh Gowd, Instructor, Health Care Aide Program–NorQuest College 

While sharing the uses of VR technology for students in their accelerated Environmental Health Program at Concordia University,  Cecilia Bukutu stated, “we wondered whether technology would be able to offer some solutions to us in terms of providing [supplementary] inspections for our students, so we turned to some of the faculty that teach in some of the programs that are related to IT and computer science. We also contacted a vendor and worked, as well, with public health inspectors in the field to see what we could develop so that we could actually get our students having more inspections and more variety of inspections before they go into the field.”  

Graham Werstiuk demonstrated NAIT’s use of an immersive environment called the NAIT Holodeck for field training for their First Responder students. They have been able to expand the technology to help partners, such as the Edmonton Police Department, train their personnel in a safe environment. “One of the key benefits of a tool like this is we can teach the situational awareness; we can prepare them for the context they wouldn’t experience otherwise, but in a controlled setting, Graham shared. 

NorQuest presented their employment of a technology called Z-Space to provide students active experience with the human body. “Ultimately, what the technology showed me was it is truly a hands-on and minds-on learning experience,” stated Phil SwitzerPreetumsingh Gowd added, “One of the greatest parts of it is it’s actually interactive with you when I grab the heart, you can actually feel the heart. You can actually feel the vibration of it every time it beats.” 

Following the rapid-fire presentations, attendees had the chance to try the technology for themselves. Twitter user Bev Fuhr Suntjens (@BevSuntjens) wrote, “It’s a fantastic evening @NorQuest for VR After Dark! We are joining our partners and vendors in stepping forward with incredible technology that I wish I had as a student!”  



See what others had to say about the event:  







For more information on Health City and VR After Dark, visit our events page.