Adam Evans bounces around a lot. Whether it’s growing up as a military kid and moving 18 times before graduating high school, or being involved on campus as a professor, advisor for Phi Kappa Tau fraternity and founder of the Transylvania Volleyball Club—he’s always on the run.
But one surefire way to get him to sit still is his lifelong love for video games. In 1985 his parents bought him a Nintendo, and he hasn’t stopped playing since.
What began as a hobby has carried over into his academic work. He is helping his business students stay current with the rise of virtual reality, getting them hands-on experience with the exciting new medium. He has turned his office into a VR lab, allowing students to create and test games and applications for local developers.
“For me, the goal is always real-life, skill-building application of the theories from class,” he says. “We’re going to start seeing more integration of the VR lab, even working to get my classroom into the VR setting.”
In the lab, users can visit the outer reaches of space, the depths of the ocean, or they can design buildings, create artwork or even see what birth looks like from the inside of the womb.
Interns from his classes observe how students behave in virtual reality environments and are working on a plan for how that can be incorporated into classroom settings, global business presentations and social interaction.
One collaboration with a local developer included extensive app testing, and one of Evans’ students was able to use his ideas to earn part-time work with the app designer.
“I’m such a proponent of experience-based learning,” Evans says. “When my students work with CEOs from the community, they’re working with an actual person who uses our equipment, and students can get hired on as interns or, eventually, full-time employees.”