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Unit information: Introduction to Immersive Technologies and Arts in 2022/23

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Introduction to Immersive Technologies and Arts
Unit code COMSM0126
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Paul Clarke
Open unit status Not open
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School/department Department of Computer Science
Faculty Faculty of Engineering

Unit Information

Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) are driving the next technological revolution expanding their use into numerous sectors. Within this unit you will acquire an understanding of what these technologies are, their history, how they’re being used, and how they’ll affect consumers both personally and professionally in the very near future. Whether your goal is to build immersive experiences as a fun hobby, launch a career in this exciting, fast-growing field, or pivot your organisation to have an immersive product as part of your offering this unit will give you the knowledge you need to undertake the first steps to reach your goals.

Within this unit we take a broad look at these immersive technologies giving you a bird’s eye view of what you can expect as they continue to take the world by storm. This unit will bring you up-to-date on the pulse of these fast-changing technologies through exploring the many ways that AR and VR are being utilised in diverse fields and sectors such as healthcare, education, simulation and entertainment through a series of case-studies and hands-on experiences with a range of immersive technologies. This unit builds up your foundational knowledge and competency of immersive technologies and arts within the MSc Immersive Technologies (Virtual and Augmented Reality) and MA Immersive Arts (Virtual and Augmented Reality) programmes.

Your learning on this unit

Within this unit you will learn how immersive technologies have evolved including the histories of immersive and interactive media (including VR, AR, immersive performance and experiences) along with raising your awareness of the developments in the contemporary scene and emerging technologies and approaches. We will also cover the theories of immersion, presence and embodiment. This will enable you to position your practice in the field, understand how the sector is developing, and reflect critically on your work through these historical-theoretical frames. You will also be made aware of the ethical considerations that should be taken into consideration when developing immersive experiences to instil a sense of responsible innovation. In addition to lecture content, the unit will consist of practical sessions, including an immersive experience showcase demonstrating the use of different immersive technologies and presentations by award winning experts on industry practice. This will instil passion in the discipline and expose you to the wide range of opportunities in the sector and diverse experiences that can be achieved with immersive technologies.

As a result of this unit you will have a good understanding of the fundamental technologies underpinning immersive experiences including virtual, augmented and mixed reality and 360-degree films. You will also have had practical experience of a variety of immersive experiences using several of these technologies.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Design, develop and implement a 360 immersive film.
  2. Develop and demonstrate a professional degree of proficiency in a range of technologies required to film and present a 360 immersive film experience.
  3. Professionally plan, deliver and communicate effectively a 360 immersive film experience.
  4. Identify, recognise and critically reflect upon the variety and diversity of immersive experience, through contextualising a case study.
  5. Demonstrate knowledge of theories of immersion, presence, and embodiment.
  6. Identify, analyse and critically reflect upon economic, ethical, social, cultural, technological and environmental aspects that may impact the adoption of immersive experiences.
  7. Demonstrate and reflect upon effective collaboration within a 360 immersive film team.

How you will learn

Practical & teacher supported hands-on development using commercial technologies and equipment. - Case studies / weekly critiques. - Group-based coursework is suited to the unit in order to simulate the format of real-world immersive development norms of industry. - Weekly group-based lab exercises grant the students the opportunity to socially construct their knowledge – reconstructing and discussing ideas together as a team to develop shared mental models of the course content, while staff support can contribute to these discussions and provide regular, incremental feedback.

How you will be assessed

100% coursework submission:

  • 50% - A group produced 360 film. Students will work in small teams (5-6). Students will report regularly on their individual contributions which will be used to award individual marks if the contribution of team members is not even: ILOs 1-4, 7
  • 50% - An individual reflective immersive case study of the student’s choice: ILOs 4-6

Tasks which help you learn and prepare you for summative tasks (formative)

Practical sessions run in parallel with theory sessions. These practical sessions will follow a lab format, comprising a lab tutorial with an activity which helps support the students on their learning trajectory towards completion of their 360 short fil, As part of their formative assessment this activity will be validated by one of the unit co-ordinators or teaching assistants so students get regular feedback on the development of their 360 film.

Tasks which count towards your unit mark (summative)

  • 360 VR Film (50%) - Group submission ILOs 1-4, 7
  • Reflective Immersive Case Study (50%) - Individual submission ILOs 4-6

When assessment does not go to plan

For students who will be required to undertake a re-assessment if there are enough students a new group will be formed in order to undertake the creation of a 360 film. If there are not enough students requiring a reassessment to form a new team or forming a new team is deemed not possible then the student will be required to individually undertake a pro-rata contribution to a 360 immersive film, this may mean that a student only completes a specific stage of a full 360 film development.

  • 360 VR Film (50%) - Group or Individual submission ILOS 1-4, 7
  • Reflective Immersive Case Study (50%) - Individual submission ILOs 4-6


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. COMSM0126).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.