VR kit helps students with interview and presentation skills

27 November 2023
Time to read
4 minute read
A photo of student Conor O'Leary using the VR Bodyswaps kit. He has the headpiece on and two controllers in his hands
Conor O'Leary using the VR Bodyswaps kit

The University of Suffolk will expand its use of virtual reality (VR) technology to support students in areas like presentation or interview practice after being selected to take part in a cross-Atlantic research project.

The University started using two Bodyswaps VR headsets last spring to provide additional support for students in soft skills, to date using the tech in two areas – communication and public speaking skills, and employability and job interview skills.

That has allowed less-confident students to practice giving a presentation, be interviewed for a job or speak in public without having to be with other people.

Now, the University has been selected as one of 25 business schools in the UK and US to join the Bodyswaps and Meta Soft Skills Education Research Project for Business Schools, which will see the University receive two more headsets and expand its modules to include customer service; equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI); leadership and management; and healthcare.

The research project, launched by Carnegie Mellon University and Bodyswaps, offers the kit to 25 business schools and 25 healthcare organisations in the UK and US to help with soft skills training for students and professionals.

The University of Suffolk will be involved in the six-month project starting at the end of this month.

Amy Carpenter, Head of Careers, Employability and Enterprise at the University of Suffolk said: “Embracing VR technology has been a great way of developing the soft skills of our students who need more support, and complements the wider advice and guidance our Careers and Enterprise team offers.

“Our courses are widely recognised for preparing students for employment and the Bodyswaps VR technology is one way of helping students become job ready.

“We are beginning to embed this technology within our courses to provide professional development options, and we have already seen the transformative impacts it has on our students who have used the headsets.

“Taking part in this research project will enable us to expand our offering to students and help more learners benefit from these programmes.”

Since taking up the kit last year, the modules have helped students in areas such as identifying poor communication behaviours, answering questions confidently, and preparing for difficult interview questions.

BSc Computing student Conor O’Leary is one of the students to have already taken advantage of the headsets. He said: “I found using the Bodyswaps technology to be really useful and it has helped me hone my skills in presentations and interviews, which will be invaluable for the future. It’s really a bit of a blend of career support and new technology which I think works really well.”

Find out more about the University of Suffolk’s careers, enterprise and employability offering.

For press enquiries, please contact: press@uos.ac.uk