Please note! Course description is confirmed for two academic years, which means that in general, e.g. Learning outcomes, assessment methods and key content stays unchanged. However, via course syllabus, it is possible to specify or change the course execution in each realization of the course, such as how the contact sessions are organized, assessment methods weighted or materials used.


On successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Apply basic design principles of VR.
  2. Design and create a virtual world.
  3. Identify and discuss new innovations in VR.

Credits: 6

Schedule: 23.10.2023 - 30.11.2023

Teacher in charge (valid for whole curriculum period):

Teacher in charge (applies in this implementation): Lily Diaz-Kommonen

Contact information for the course (applies in this implementation):

The contents of the course will be disseminated via on-site lectures on Mondays (Room M202 - Väre) and "immersion sessions" at the VR Hub (Harald Herlin Learning Center), VR Studios (Aalto Studios), and online on Thursdays. Facilities at Aalto Studios will be available for students' use. The responsible teacher is Gautam Vishwanath with Cvijeta Miljak providing assistance. 

CEFR level (valid for whole curriculum period):

Language of instruction and studies (applies in this implementation):

Teaching language: English. Languages of study attainment: English


  • valid for whole curriculum period:

    Participants learn the basics of designing and implementing a virtual world. The presentations in the course touch on a diversity topics related to the process of design:

    1. Cultural history of virtual reality and anthropology of the human senses;
    2. Information architecture, content domain development and making a production schedule
    3. Scenario design, storyboarding; and user studies research
    4. Interaction design, user interface and narrative;
    5. Basics of coding a VR application (Basic coding example);
    6. Using sound for storytelling.

    We also touch, albeit not as deeply as might be the case in a longer course, on critical issues regarding the use of immersive technologies.

  • applies in this implementation

    What the course IS about

    ⁃ Basics of designing and implementing a virtual world

    ⁃ Cultural history of virtual reality

    - HCI principles for virtual reality 

    - Storytelling and narrative design for virtual reality

    What the course IS NOT about

    ⁃ Advanced programming in Unity 3D (see Coding Virtual Worlds instead) 

    - 3D Modeling and Animation (see Animation for Games and VR D)

    - Spatial Sound (see Immersive Sound)

    - Bigger VR projects (see Independent Study in VR)

Assessment Methods and Criteria
  • valid for whole curriculum period:

    A minimum of 80% attendance is required.

    Assessment is based on attendance and participation (20%) and quality of works submitted (80%) throughout the course.

    Students works are evaluated using the following criteria:

    • Completion of task on time 20%,
    • Originality of contents and ideas, 20%
    • Understanding of design aspects 20%
    • Technical implementation 20%

  • applies in this implementation

    Main activities in the class

    As part of the activities of the class, students are guided through the task of designing and building a concept for a world. Participants are organized into groups and work together to carry on the exercise during the duration of the course. Learning outcomes include being able to design and implement a prototype of a world.

    Engage in critical dialogues and discussions about the topic of virtual reality and its impact on the world. Learning outcomes include familiarization with current theoretical points of view about the importance of virtual reality.

  • valid for whole curriculum period:

    Lectures, tutorials, independent study, assignments, readings.

    6 ECTS ≈ 160h

    • Contact teaching: 30h
    • Independent study: 130h

  • applies in this implementation


    The course is divided into six (6) direct contact sessions of three (3) hours in length. Typically, a session includes Thirty (30) minutes lecture on a given topic; a one (1) hour pragmatic presentation, and one (1) hour Q&A + discussion. It is expected that there will be an additional participation of seventy-two (72) hours of group work outside of class and a reminder of thirty-nine (39) hours devoted to readings.


Study Material
  • applies in this implementation

    Study Material

    Reading materials from various authors such as:

    • Katherine Hayles (How We Became Posthuman) 
    • Chris Salter (Entangled: technology and the transformation of performance) will be distributed throughout the course.

Substitutes for Courses
SDG: Sustainable Development Goals

    8 Decent Work and Economic Growth

    9 Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure


Further Information
  • valid for whole curriculum period:

    Teaching Language : English

    Teaching Period : 2022-2023 Autumn II
    2023-2024 Autumn II

    Enrollment :

    Minimum amount of participants: 8
    Maximum amount of participants varies according to the implementation of the course.

    Registration for Courses: Sisu.

    Priority order to courses is according to the order of priority decided by the Academic committee for School of Arts, Design and Architecture:

Details on the schedule
  • applies in this implementation

    Assignment schedule

    1. Create a concept for a world that you would like to build. Due date: 30/10.

    2. Design a storyboard for your world. Due date: 06/11.

    3. Design an information architecture for your world, due date. Due date: 13/11

    4. Add sound to your world. Due date: 20/11

    5. Complete an initial prototype of your world and present it. Due date: 27/11.