Ever since the video documentary 'Clouds over Sidra' boosted donations for UNICEF, 360-degree video has been marketed as an “empathy machine.” 360-degree video, also known as spherical video, is an immersive technology that enables the recording of video shots in all directions. This technology gives the viewer a complete 360-degree view and the ability to control the viewing direction simply by moving around the viewing device (usually, a phone). A recent Slate article citing the “Empathy at Scale” research project at Stanford seems to suggest that immersive technologies have promising applications in the classroom because they “nudge” students to community-based and social justice projects by counteracting “compassion fatigue.”
In this presentation, Dr. Mariam Betlemidtze (Communication Studies) and multimedia specialist James Trotter (Academic Technologies & Innovation) explained how you can use 360-degree videos to add storytelling components to your course curriculum in order to increase student and community interest and create an emotional link with the subject matter. They illustrated using the example of COMM 350 Online Journalism Production class, in which students use 360-degree video and non-linear storytelling techniques to connect the audience to the unique challenges faced by the ecology of the Mojave National Preserve. This presentation was sponsored by the Faculty Center for Excellence and the Academic Technologies & Innovation.