/ project nereus

project type

virtual environments


marine science institute


National Science Fund,

UT Design Class of 2011,

Division of Instructional

Innovation and Assessment


IITAP Honors for Creativity in

Instructional Innovation,

featured at SXSW 2010

After visiting Port Aransas to learn about ocean simulation and sampling techniques, the Design Class of 2011 developed an educational program in SecondLife for Dr. Tracy Villareal, a professor who struggled to connect with his non-major oceanography students by webcam from 250 miles away. This became Project Nereus, or Nautical Environment for Research, Education and Understanding of the Seas. NEREUS required understanding through immersion and interviews. Our team committed to a hands-on experience of marine research and education to grasp the needs of Dr. Villareal and his class. Likewise, we learned the culture, coding languages, currency, and virtual capabilities of SecondLife in order to use it as a tool for building.

I led a team in scripting and molding environmental flora and fauna, interactive non-player characters like the captain and teacher, topography, and extraneous materials. With this, students were able to gain a realistic experience from inside their Austin classroom by virtually sampling a three-dimensional data grid in virtual Pacific waters. Each aspect of the island was organized in a manner that presented a realistic flow of events and interactions. They also gave presentations and participated in lectures on the island.

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all content developed by corey ann leamon, 2015