Integrating XR Technologies in ENGR 100 to Teach Socially-Engaged Design and Community Outreach

This project will support the integration of XR technologies into a new section of ENGR 100 (Introduction to Engineering) focused on nuclear engineering, which will be taught in Fall 2023. ENGR 100 is a design-build-test (DBT) course required of all first-year engineering students. In this course, students work in teams as they learn engineering design and communication principles. Each section features a different lab-based project; students write and speak about their lab work along the way. ENGR 100 is co-taught by engineering and technical communication faculty members, each bringing their disciplinary expertise to create a collaborative, cohesive, and hands-on introduction to engineering thinking and practice. One challenge in this course is determining how to create realistic and engaging projects that ask students to think critically about relationships between technology and society and practice socially-engaged design.

This course will provide a variety of opportunities to train students in design thinking practices in many ENGR 100 sections. We want to amplify the socially-engaged design experience in our section by providing students with an immersive XR learning space. Research shows that XR technologies can help users cultivate empathy and critical thinking and facilitate a sense of belonging (Stuart et al.). Therefore, these technologies show promise for supporting more equitable design practices and would help advance CoE’s commitment to equity-centered engineering as a defining feature of its culture and thinking.

Project Team

Aditi Verma
Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences

Katie Snyder
Technical Communications

Stephanie O’Malley
Emerging Technologies Group (Duderstadt Center)


This team received $ 49,500 in funding in the Winter 2023 term.