The project of virtually interpreting a simulation on the scope and scale of Hadrian’s Villa was a daunting one – engaging layers of scholarly, technical and pedagogical challenges. The technical challenges were many – foremost to leverage the game engine of Unity 3D to become an effective multi-user avatar-based virtual world. An important factor was to create an environment that was straightforward and accessible via standard web browsers on both Mac and Windows and selected Unity 3D as the starting point for developing the platorm. We required specific back-end administration tools to handle the accounts and server side aspects of the project – for this we relied on Smart Fox Server as it manages Unity 3D quite well. Our team took an approach that bridged and integrated disparate technologies, creating a robust virtual world platform to immersively augment both instructional and PBL processes. VW features available to the learning community included text based communication, a live map showing current visitor positions, map based teleportation, managed voice channel, user selected avatar gestures, online users, paradata, photographs of the extant site, plan views, and integrated web links.
The center also aims to ensure a strong pipeline of diverse talent in the region. To stock this pipeline, the center will partner with higher education institutions such as Morgan State University and Coppin State University to promote and support school-based and community special interest clubs related to the field to harness the creativity of science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM) students in underserved urban and rural communities. Additionally, MAVRIC will partner with the university and local businesses to shape the creation of a new immersive media curriculum to prepare graduates for jobs in the field.
Anthropology is the comparative, evolutionary and historical study of humankind. Our department takes a theoretically driven, empirically-informed approach to this study, and has special expertise in archaeology, genetics, behavioral ecology, demography, hunter-gatherers, and evolutionary approaches to human and nonhuman primate behavior. Our regional expertise is strongest in Africa, Australia, New Guinea, Latin America and western North America. We have a small but influential faculty, three of whom (Hawkes, O'Connell, Wiessner) are members of the National Academy of Sciences. Many faculty members do research that crosses disciplinary and sub-disciplinary lines, and we encourage students to do the same.