CS 5754: Virtual Environments


Announcements & syllabus




    Literature review

    IRB information

    List of current projects


    Final report



Final Exam



March 26: There have been several changes to the class schedule. On April 8, class will be held in the Black Lab at the KW2 building. Class is cancelled for April 10. In addition, the deadline for project phase 4 has been changed to Monday, April 7.


January 15: The first class meeting will be held on Tuesday January 15 at 3:30 pm.

CS 5754

Spring 2008

McBryde Hall, room 232

TR 3:30-4:45 PM

CRN 16833


Course Description

This class will introduce students to the technology and techniques used in virtual environments (also known as virtual reality). Students will gain knowledge about the latest innovations in this field, will understand the important research issues and methodologies for VEs, and will have the opportunity to gain practical experience with the hardware and software used to create VE applications.


There are no official prerequisites for this class. It is assumed, however, that students will have a background in general human-computer interaction and user interface design, and that students will be familiar with basic principles of 3D computer graphics.


Doug A. Bowman


AIM: dougb0@mac.com

VT Knowledgeworks II room 134 (information on CRC shuttle)


Office Hours: TR 12:30-2:00 in McBryde 637, or by appointment in KW2

NOTE: email is by far the easiest way to contact me, and the method that I prefer. The office phone number above should only be used for extremely time-critical matters.

Teaching Assistant



Required: Bowman, Kruijff, LaViola, and Poupyrev, 3D User Interfaces: Theory and Practice. Addison-Wesley, 2005. ISBN 0-201-75867-9. This link will take you to the book's official website. To provide feedback on the book, please fill out this survey.

Readings/Course Notes

Lecture notes and additional readings will be available on the schedule page. Readings should be prepared in advance of the class for which they are listed. Lecture notes may be printed and brought to class for your own personal notes if you wish.



The instructor will use the listserv to post important class-related announcements - be sure to check your email regularly. Anyone in the class may post a message to the listserv. Use the listserv to post messages of relevance to the entire class, such as questions from readings or lectures, clarification questions on class policies, or links to VE information on the web. Do not post advertisements, irrelevant discussion, or flames on the class listserv.



All class announcements, policies, schedule changes, lecture notes, etc. will be posted on the website. Check it regularly!


Log in to Blackboard to check your grades.

Grading will be based on:

1.     Class Projects (50%)

The main assessment component of this class will be a semester-long project. You are encouraged to work in groups of either two or three. For more information on choosing and managing a project, and how projects will be graded, see this page.

2.     Paper Discussions (10%)

Each student in the class will serve as a discussant once or twice during the semester - he/she will be responsible for leading the discussion of one of the papers assigned to the class. For more information on how to sign up for a paper, how to prepare to lead a discussion, and how discussants will be graded, see this page.

3.     Class Participation (20%)

The participation grade will be based on two components:

  • preparation of a short written summary of each assigned reading (10%)
  • participation in the group discussions of the various topics (10%)

For more information on how the participation grade will be calculated, see this page.

4.     Final Exam (20%)

The final exam in this class will be a take-home exam, handed out in class on April 29, and due on May 5. The final exam will cover the cumulative information of the entire semester, and will assess both factual knowledge and understanding/insight into the material. See this page for format and review information for the final exam.

Additional Information

Schedule of In-Class Activities

This course meets on a Tuesday/Thursday schedule. Typically, the instructor will lecture on Tuesdays, and the class will discuss that week's readings on Thursdays. However, be alert for changes to the schedule.


Attendance at all classes will be necessary for students to succeed in this course. Please show respect for the instructor and the other students by arriving on time and prepared.

Honor Code

All work in this course is to be your own, and the university honor code is in effect. Groups will collaborate on projects, but the other three graded aspects of the course are based on individual work. You will be required to sign an honor code statement on the final exam.

Special Needs

If you have any special needs or circumstances (disability accommodations, religious holidays that will cause you to miss class, etc.) please feel free to visit the instructor during his office hours.