Lending Expertise: NC State Organic Chemistry Virtual Reality Labs Shared Globally

When Maria Gallardo-Williams teamed up with NC State DELTA to create a set of organic chemistry virtual reality (VR) labs, she knew from the beginning the potential the project had to make a real impact for students — but no one could predict the current impact felt across the country, and even across the world. 

“I thought the labs would be great for students that can’t attend labs due to disabilities, pregnancy or military deployment, but I never expected that we would have to use them for all of our students,” says Gallardo-Williams. 

When the announcements of switching to remote teaching and learning started happening around the country, Gallardo-Williams shared a link to the organic chemistry VR labs on her Twitter account, @Teachforaliving

Teaching Assistant Lyniesha Wright during a test shoot of the organic chemistry virtual reality labs.
Teaching Assistant Lyniesha Wright during a test shoot of the organic chemistry virtual reality labs. The placement of the GoPro Fusion 360° camera gives the experience a first-person point of view.

“I knew lab instructors all over the world were scrambling to finish their semester and thought this could help them,” she says. And, she was correct. Institutions across the country from Durham, North Carolina, to California have adopted at least one of the labs. A school in Italy has even adopted the lab videos. 

Hear from Gallardo-Williams via Zoom as she talks about the VR labs, working with NC State DELTA to produce an innovative and effective product, and how it feels to know a project she has put years of effort into is truly making a difference on a national stage.

Gallardo-Williams is a teaching professor, director of organic chemistry labs, and Alumni Association Distinguished Undergraduate Professor in the Department of Chemistry at NC State University. The team from DELTA who worked with Gallardo-Williams to produce the organic chemistry VR labs includes Senior Instructional Designer Cathi Dunnagan, Creative Director Mike Cuales, Instructional Media Producer Arthur Earnest, Lead Multimedia Designer Rich Gurnsey, Immersive Media Producer Rhett Hissam, Project Coordinator Samantha McCuen, Immersive Media Developer Stephen Waddell, Associate Producer Michael Castro, and Assistant Director of Instructional Media Production John Gordon

Learn more about the organic chemistry VR labs in this DELTA News article and CH 222 portfolio entry. View DELTA’s Immersive Technology Timeline for other examples of innovative projects.