Ring the bell, school is in - Web3D Education Initiative

Learning about the 3D web open standard has never really been an easy thing in the past. Tutorials were scattered over the web, the Web3D Consortium website didn't offer much help to those new to programming, there were few books that covered the open standard such as Core Web3D, the VRML 2.0 Handbook (great books), and no books that covered the new standard X3D. If you were a 3D modeler looking to author web3D content there were few tools out there to help you do it and none of these had in depth tutorials. As someone wanting to learn X3D, this is what drove me to get active with the Consortium eight years ago. I found there were students everywhere that wanted to learn web3D technologies for credit but where and how? So in the past it was difficult for newbies, but now this is no longer the case.

In 2007 X3D: 3D Graphics for Web Authors by Don Brutzman and Leonard Daly was published. This book is highly recommended resource for programmers that makes learning X3D undaunting. In addition to the book, Don has also posted videos of each chapter, chapter slide sets, and example scenes that he covers in his X3D class at the Naval Postgraduate School. I have read, reference, and referred others to the book and the videos with nothing but rave reviews in return. Thank you Don and Leonard for this great contribution.

The Web3D Consortium site has been revamped and is a good starting point for both the programmer and 3D artist interested in web3d. The website, books, and videos are a great resource for those independent students of web3D, but what is there for those wanting a degree or certification in the technology? Well for some time now, the Web3D Consortium, various academic members, and I have been working on curriculum guidelines, course plans, and certifications for universities interested in teaching web3D technologies. So as we wrap up the first phase of our work on this major challenge, we decided it was time to reach out to and let the masses know what was coming.

As stated in early postings, 2009 marked the beginning of an Education Outreach Initiative by the Web3D Consortium to bring the education of the 3D web open standard into more universities. As the person heading this rather new initiative, I have already connected with schools in the United States and several parts of Asia. Some of the goals of this outreach are to:
  • bring the internationally supported standard to all interested countries and universities
  • provide university staff and students access to innovative tools and technologies
  • help students gain cutting edge skills to use in various emerging web3D markets
  • connect schools and students to a network of others learning while developing the 3D web to help them expand beyond their borders
In late 2007, I came back from China where I was invited by the Chinese Government with four other U.S. speakers to speak on "Open Standards, Open Metaverse" at the official launch of the China Recreation District, a part of the ICCIE Summit. I spoke on why educating standards was key for the growth of the 3D Web and Metaverse and covered the existing 3D Web standard X3D in my presentation. This presentation and the idea of introducing standards to universities was well recieved but during a time the Web3D Education Group was still working on developing the proper course plans for accreditation. As we finish this up, I expect to see X3D adopted by more universities here.

Currently I am coming back from Cambodia where I presented to His Excellency Eap Ponna, and the top directors at their country's leading university, Royal Academy of Cambodia, on implementing the education of X3D and related web3D technologies. This outreach initiative was so well received I was invited to come back for a 3 hour web3D workshop for the master's/PhD students and the program made national news on every channel. Special thanks to the Hong family for their participation in this initiative.

Now it is back to the States to continue with some forward thinking academies and universities I have been working with to bring the skills of the future to the motherland. Of course expect to see more posts on this education initiative and schools teaching the skills that will help build the 3D Web and mixed reality Metaverse.


Len Bullard said…
Well done, Damon.

That explains the hot spot on the YouTube feedback. Cool.

Tell your friends I'll have the first volume of the IrishSpace VRML movie up VSN. It demonstrates the use of VRML for machinima and 2D layer compositing. It's a richer story when the two are combined.
Rizwan ali said…
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