Snap Inc. and Taylor’s University announced a partnership to incorporate augmented reality (AR) in the university’s American Degree Transfer Program’s (ADP) curriculum, the first such partnership in Southeast Asia.
Taylor’s students will participate in Lens Studio workshops to learn how to create AR experiences on Snapchat. Snap will also join the university’s industry advisory panel to provide and support curriculum development to ensure industry as well as equip graduates with the essential skills required by future employers.
“This collaboration with Snap will enable our students and academics to gain valuable exposure to new technologies and a competitive edge with employers,” said Taylor’s University Deputy Vice Chancellor and Chief Academic Officer, Prof Dr Pradeep Nair.
The move is in line with the nation’s digitisation journey; Malaysia’s digital economy has grown 9 percent annually on average, from 2010 to 2016, outpacing its overall GDP growth.
Nair added that the university is embarking on its Curriculum Framework 2.0, which emphasises a broad-based approach to education, and blended learning. Through the framework, students can mix and match their subjects, essentially letting them take charge of their own learning. For example, an Engineering student can take electives in Psychology. Likewise, an Arts student can pick up modules in IT.
Students are also encouraged to learn beyond the physical classroom, through online lectures and tutorials, and experiential learning such as industry projects and workshops.
There’s also a big emphasis on work-based learning; the university currently has 1,500 active industry partners to date.
Companies such as Snap, Apple and Adobe are strong proponents of AR technology and aim to democratise the technology. Snap has been investing heavily in tools such as Lens Studio, its free desktop app for creating Snapchat Lenses. Lens Studio makes it easy for anyone to explore AR, with detailed guides and templates. Check out the latest Lens Studio 2.1 here.
With Lens Studio, creators can develop both Face Lenses (front camera experiences) and World Lenses (rear camera experiences). The tool allows creators, from 3D professionals to Photoshop hobbyists; from students to developers, to create their own customised Lens experience.
The beauty about Lens Studio is that it doesn’t require any prior knowledge or coding skills to use it, making it possible for anyone to be a Lens Creator.
To date, the Snapchat community has created over 600,000 Lenses in Lens Studio. Snap says the top-performing Lenses reach billions of views.
Bernard Yap Kah Huan, a student in the Taylor’s University American Degree Transfer Program (ADP), says that the Lens Studio workshops conducted on campus are a great introduction to AR for students at ADP. “I feel AR is the way forward,” he said, adding that AR is used to better the quality of life in many aspects, from entertainment and mobile apps, to military and medicine. The first time Lens creator only needed 30 minutes to create his Lens.
Nana Murugesan, Managing Director of Snap International Markets said Taylor’s University is the first of more partnerships Snap plans to forge with universities and educational institutions to build a creator ecosystem. Snap also works with high schools, fashion and design schools in India. Students have an opportunity to contribute to the development of Lenses and to become official Lens Creators, as well as connect and work with brands.
Snapchat currently has 210 million users globally; user spend 250 million minutes playing with AR experiences every day on average in the Snapchat camera.