3D Scanning comes to Online Courses at FIU

The Multimedia Studios at FIU Online have added something new to their growing list of capabilities: 3D scanning and Photogrammetry of objects for online courses.

Late in 2016, the Studios acquired new hardware and software designed to bring a new way of interacting with objects for those taking fully online courses.

By scanning the objects and placing them in a 3D-model player, students are free to spin, zoom and interact with objects as opposed to simply viewing pictures of the object within Blackboard. This interaction provides learners with the freedom to choose how they want to learn about the scanned objects.

A project that the Multimedia Team has been working on is scanning samples of minerals and rocks for an Earth Sciences course.

Prior to the 3D scanning and photogrammetry, the instructor of the course was placing the objects on a lazy susan and taking pictures from multiple angles. With the 3D render, the object feels more ‘real’ to students. The 3D player is also mobile friendly. In addition, if the students want to see the object viewed via a Virtual Reality headset, like Google Cardboard, they can do that with a tap of a button located on the player.

There are some challenges when scanning objects or taking photos in 3D. For example, objects with shiny or reflective surfaces do not scan as well as flat or matte objects.

However, there are real benefits to providing this type of interactive content to online students. Compare the two examples below:

“Static picture”

“3D Scanned”

The team at FIU Online is constantly thinking about how to push the envelope and create engaging and effective learning, online.

If you are interested in using this capability provided by the FIU Online Multimedia Studios, please contact your instructional designer.


Educational Technology Manager for FIU Online.

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