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Web-based Virtual Reality Environments (VR)

Organic Unit Faculty of Sciences and Technology (FCTUC)

Course Type Non-degree course

Type of teaching Distance Learning

Language of instruction English

Edition 2

Duration 81 hours

Number of ECTS 3

Accreditation N/A

Tuition fee 300€

Important Dates

Start date

End date

Application deadlines


The course will focus on the use of web technologies for the implementation of virtual reality environments, using and giving special focus to the A-Frame development platform.

Notice of Opening


Target audience

All those interested in the course’s main subject who have completed at least secondary education.

The course may have particular interest to web designers and multimedia designers who intend to know and/or improve skills of virtual reality environments, e.g., for designing virtual art exhibitions or museums, interactive virtual reality experiences for marketing purposes.

The course may also have interest to instructional designers, who wish to know how to create interactive 3D immersive instructional materials for teachings.

Teachers that want to introduce virtual reality into their classes (e.g., in high schools), may also find this course relevant as the virtual reality framework that is used is appropriate for a first contact with the topic, requiring only a basic understanding of HTML.

Differentiating characteristics of the course

This course differs from other courses in this area in that it provides practical VR implementation experience even for students with low programming experience. Other courses often either address high-level design concepts but do not provide specific implementation examples or focus on low-level computer graphics requiring a high programming background.

Learning Goals

This course aims to:

  • Describe the first developments of VR and the various applications of VR throughout its history;
  • Introduce and explain the concepts of Virtual Reality, Mixed Reality and Augmented Reality through concrete examples;
  • Provide technical knowledge for the development of a web-based Virtual Reality project.

At the end of the course, students should be able to:

  • Know the history of Virtual Reality: key moments and developments;
  • Explain and distinguish the concepts of Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality and Mixed Reality;
  • Implement a VR environment in A-Frame.


  1. Introduction to Virtual Reality
  2. A-Frame: basics
  3. A-Frame: intermediate
  4. A-Frame: advanced

Teaching Methodologies

Web-Based Virtual Reality Environments course will address the history, concepts and technologies related to Virtual Reality (VR), focusing on the implementation of VR Environments on the Web.

It’s an 81-hour e-learning course that has a sequential structure organized in 4 thematic modules. Each module has its own timetable, suggesting that the student dedicate 1 hour of daily work to the course.

The course methodology is based on learners’ active learning, with teacher’s monitoring. The theoretical concepts about the first developments of VR, its applications, possible technologies, etc. will be presented. The relationship between Virtual Reality, Mixed Reality and Augmented Reality will be established through examples and using contents that allow understanding the basic concepts about Virtual Reality and about the creation of Virtual Reality environments for the Web. Learners’ professional context will be consider to the contents applying, whenever possible.

Learning approaches:

  • Teacher video lectures – for theoretical explanations and key concepts.
  • Practical use – learners will be guided to apply the technical and conceptual knowledge in a practical exercises about the creation of virtual reality environments for the web.

The teaching process is based on the systematic monitoring of learners' work, namely in the study of the contents, doubts clarification and in the accomplishment of learning activities.

In the distance-learning component, interactions will be established asynchronously, not requiring participants' simultaneous attendance in the platform.

The access to the platform is flexible, allowing learners to organize and adjust their working hours according to their availability to manage the proposed activities.

Various exercises will be proposed, allowing participants to use those concepts in the development of virtual environments, as well a project that will integrate their knowledge about creating Virtual Reality environments for the Web. All activities will have feedback from the teacher.

The course starts with a welcoming period, where there will be some formative activities to facilitate platform navigation and use, and also to test student’s HTML previous knowledge.


The course evaluation is continuous, through specific activities to apply knowledge in each module (30%), as well a project that will integrate their knowledge about creating Virtual Reality environments for the Web (70%).

The final classification will be based on a qualitative scale with 4 aproval levels - "Approved", "Approved with Good", "Approved with Good with Distinction" and "Approved with Very Good”.

The student who successfully completes the course (minimum of "Approved" level) may apply for a diploma issued by the University of Coimbra, adding the expected fees.

Although the course materials are mainly in English, students will be able to deliver the assignments in either English or Portuguese.


Students who pass the course may request a certificate issued by the University of Coimbra. Fees will apply. More information at https://www.uc.pt/en/academicos/propinas/emolumento.


Jorge Cardoso


Jorge C. S. Cardoso is Assistant Professor at the University of Coimbra (Department of Informatics Engineering), researcher at the Centre for Informatics and Systems of the University of Coimbra (CISUC) and at the Research Centre in Science and Technology of the Arts of the Portuguese Catholic University (CITAR). He has a bachelor’s degree in Informatics and Computing Engineering (University of Porto), a master degree in Mobile Systems (University of Minho), and a PhD in Information Systems and Technology (University of Minho). His research interests are in the Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) field, specifically in the design and evaluation of low-level interaction techniques, higher-level tools for the creation of interactive systems, and in developing non-desktop multimedia systems (Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), Mobile systems). He is also visiting academic at the University of Saint Joseph, Macau, China, where he teaches the Virtual Reality Environments module in the Master of Design program. He enjoys programming, and has developed various open-source libraries for the Processing language, as well as for A-Frame (https://github.com/jorgecardoso). His latest research interests lie in the use of VR and AR in the context of cultural heritage sites (https://www.mendeley.com/profiles/jorge-cardoso/publications/).

Pedro Martins

Pedro Martins, architect, professor and researcher, with an Architecture degree (pre-Bologna) by the Architecture Department of the Faculty of Science and Technology of the University of Coimbra. Developed a professional architectural work in several firms and, since 2007, in his own practice. Started doctoral studies in 2012, with a PhD scholarship from the FCT foundation, at the Faculty of Architecture, University of Porto (FAUP). Researcher at FAUP/CEAU/DFL (Digital Fabrication Laboratory) group, focusing on the integration of digital design and manufacturing technologies in architecture and concrete construction, with a focus on robotic fabrication technologies. Since 2017 has been an invited assistant professor at the Department of Architecture and the Department of Informatics Engineering of the University of Coimbra where he lectures several curricular units of the Masters in Architecture and the Masters in Design and Multimedia on the topics of digital design, digital fabrication and generative tools for architecture and design.

Admission Requirements

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