University of Minnesota
5619: Virtual Reality and 3D Interaction

Fall 2018

Meeting time and place:
      Mondays, 6:30pm-9:00pm, Keller Hall 3-125.


   Dr. Victoria Interrante (pronouns: she/her)
   office hours: Mondays 5:30pm-6:15pm, and by appointment
   Keller Hall 6-185; (612) 625-3543
   email: interran{at}


   Bridger Herman (pronouns: he/him)
   office hours: Wednesdays 5:30-6:30pm, Thursdays 1:30-2:30pm and by appointment
   Keller Hall 1-254 Lab
   email: herma582{at}

Moodle web page:

Course overview:
Through a combination of lectures, class discussion, hands-on demos, in-depth topic presentations, and diverse readings from the current literature, students will be exposed to a wide range of interesting and exciting cross-disciplinary research in the broadly-defined fields of virtual and augmented reality, 3D user interaction and spatial user interfaces. Students will have the opportunity to conduct a semester-long term project, working hands-on with leading edge virtual reality hardware such as the Oculus Rift if desired. This course satisfies one half of the project requirement for the CS Master's Plan C degree.

Course activities:
      Students will be responsible for attending class, reading papers from the current and historical literature in the field of virtual reality, participating in class discussions, and submitting brief written reflections related to these activities (less than 1 page) on a weekly basis.
      During the first third of the semester, students will be responsible for completing three basic assignments, which will be initiated in class through hands-on activities. These assignments will provide an introduction to working with a variety of VR software and technology.
      In addition, each student will be responsible for choosing a topic, in consultation with the professor, on which they will perform an in-depth independent literature review. Each student will also be responsible for preparing a 15-minute presentation on their chosen topic, or a related one, for the rest of the class. When multiple students elect to research the same general topic, students will be asked to coordinate to avoid overlap.
      Most importantly, each student will be responsible for implementing a self-defined term project, making use of available virtual reality equipment as appropriate. Students are encouraged to work in teams of 2-3 on this project, in order to be able to achieve something more extraordinary than would be possible to accomplish by working alone. Each student will receive an independent grade on the final project regardless of the team size. The term project is expected to be a semester-long effort, involving a minimum of 45-60 hours of work per team member.

Students must be self-motivated, and willing to put in at least 4-6 hours/week of effort on project development, outside of class, on a regular basis. Familiarity with basic concepts in computer graphics is a plus but is not required.

Assigned readings will be drawn from a variety of sources including books, journals, technical reports and conference proceedings, and will be made available via links on the website.

            Class Participation and Written Reflections ......... 12%
            Hands-on Exercises ............................................. 13%
            Topic Presentation ............................................... 10%
            Literature Review ................................................. 15%
            Final Project ......................................................... 50%

There will be no midterm or final exam in this class.

Coursework Policies:
Regular class attendance is expected in this course and class participation will count towards the final grade. Students will not be penalized for absence during the semester due to unavoidable or legitimate circumstances, including: verified illness, participation in intercollegiate athletic events, subpoenas, jury duty, military service, bereavement, and religious observances. (For complete information, please see: All lectures will be recorded by UNITE and available for viewing by any enrolled student via after a 10-day delay.
      Written reflections will be graded on a three point scale. For full credit the report should contain thoughtful content that demonstrates a nuanced understanding of the material. Reflections must be submitted via Moodle within 4 days of the corresponding class session. Late reports will earn half credit.
      All assignments will be due on the posted deadlines. Up to three days in total of "grace days" may be used in the event that additional time is needed. After this, late assignments will be penalized 10% per day.
      The term project may either be done individually or in collaboration with 1-2 other students. The scope expected of collaborative projects will be proportional to the size of the team.

Student Conduct
The University seeks to establish an environment that promotes academic achievement and integrity, that is protective of free inquiry, and that serves the educational mission of the University. Similarly, the University seeks a community that is free from violence, threats, and intimidation; that is respectful of the rights, opportunities, and welfare of students, faculty, staff, and guests of the University; and that does not threaten the physical or mental health or safety of members of the University community.
      As a student at the University you are expected adhere to Board of Regents Policy: Student Conduct Code, which can be found at:
      Note that the conduct code specifically addresses disruptive classroom conduct, which means "engaging in behavior that substantially or repeatedly interrupts either the instructor's ability to teach or student learning. The classroom extends to any setting where a student is engaged in work toward academic credit or satisfaction of program-based requirements or related activities."
      In addition, the University's policy on student learning and student responsibilities can be found at
      A student is not permitted to submit extra work in an attempt to raise his or her grade, unless the instructor has specified at the outset of the class such opportunities will be afforded to all students.

Academic Honesty:
Scholastic misconduct is broadly defined as "any act that violates the right of another student in academic work or that involves misrepresentation of your own work. Scholastic dishonesty includes, (but is not necessarily limited to): cheating on assignments or examinations; plagiarizing, which means misrepresenting as your own work any part of work done by another; submitting the same paper, or substantially similar papers, to meet the requirements of more than one course without the approval and consent of all instructors concerned; depriving another student of necessary course materials; or interfering with another student's work."
      All of the work submitted for credit in this class must either be the product of the original effort of the submitter, or clearly attributed to its original creator. Any code that is obtained from others must be clearly commented to acknowledge the source, and the provenance of any such borrowed or open-source code must also be clearly documented. All written prose, in the reflections, literature review, and final project report must be the submitter's own original expression. All sources used must be clearly referenced. This includes the sources of all images and videos shown in topic presentations. Image and video credits must be given on the same slide as the image or video appears.
      Copying code or prose from others, either from fellow students or off the internet, or from any other source, and misrepresenting it as one's own, is considered plagiarism and is subject to serious penalties. Per CS departmental policy, any form of academic dishonesty by graduate students is grounds for permanent termination of all forms of financial support, including teaching and research assistantships, and may be grounds for expulsion from the program. Further information about the CS Department's policy on Academic Conduct can be found here.
      In addition, the Office for Community Standards has compiled a useful list of Frequently Asked Questions pertaining to scholastic dishonesty:

Grading Policy:
This course will follow the University's Uniform Grading and Transcription Policies, and the University's policy on the amount of academic work expected per credit.
      The amount and quality of work required for a grade of S will not be less than the amount and quality of work required for a C-. You are urged to check your registration for accuracy of course and section numbers and grading options.

Incompletes and Withdrawals:
A grade of I can be assigned only under extraordinary circumstances: to be elegible, a student must have kept up with all of the required coursework to date and must have been prevented by an unforseeable emergency from completing the remainder of the coursework on time.
      Students should be aware that there is a time limit on when they may request that a grade in a course be changed to a W (withdrawal). A student may petition a college scholastic committee or other appropriate body concerning any of the provisions of the grading policy but may not initiate an appeal of the grade earned in a course more than one calendar year after the grade was assigned--and changing a grade to a W is subject to the one-year limitation on appeal as well. Students are not permitted to withdraw from a class to avoid a grade of F resulting from an incidence of academic dishonesty.

Disabiliy Accommodation:
The University of Minnesota is committed to providing equitable access to learning opportunities for all students. Disability Services (DS) is the campus office that collaborates with students who have disabilities to provide and/or arrange reasonable accommodations.
      If you have, or think you may have, a disability (e.g., mental health, attentional, learning, chronic health, sensory, or physical), please contact DS at 612-626-1333 to arrange a confidential discussion regarding equitable access and reasonable accommodations.
      If you are registered with DS and have a current letter requesting reasonable accommodations, please contact me early in the semester to review how the accommodations will be applied.

Mental Health:
As a student you may experience a range of issues that can cause barriers to learning, such as strained relationships, increased anxiety, alcohol/drug problems, video game addiction, feeling down, difficulty concentrating, and/or lack of motivation. These mental health concerns or stressful events may lead to diminished academic performance or reduce your ability to participate in daily activities. University of Minnesota services are available to assist you with addressing these and other concerns you may be experiencing. You can learn more about the broad range of confidential mental health services available on campus via

Sexual Misconduct:
The University of Minnesota is committed to responding compassionately and discreetly when it learns that a University member may have experienced sexual misconduct. A new policy was instituted in January 2018 that requires all University employees to report any sexual misconduct that they might learn about to the campus Title IX office ( Upon receiving a report, the campus Title IX office will not share an impacted person's information or initiate an investigation unless the impacted person wants this, except in the rare circumstance where there is a significant danger to campus safety or where a University employee may have engaged in sexual misconduct.
      Confidential assistance for victims of sexual assault is available from the Aurora Center.

Conflict Resolution:
For assistance with any University-based conflicts or complaints please contact the Student Conflict Resolution Center at or call 612-624-7272.