Teaching with Holograms

Building the university
of the future

As we develop new ways our students can learn, we are aligning our university with the future of work — where bleeding-edge technology powers collaborative and connected spaces.

HoloUniversity will help them get there. We are creating the mixed reality classroom of the future, where 3-D digital content is seamlessly integrated into the teaching and learning environment. Instructors will be fluent in the application and best practices of mixed reality as a teaching tool, and will receive support in the design, build, and execution of their courses from a team of experts on staff.  

HoloUniversity Classroom

IC Fellows Cohort


The new HoloUniversity Classroom is now open at the Freedman Center Collaborative Commons at Kelvin Smith Library.

There are thirty-two dedicated HoloLens devices available in the HoloUniversity Classroom, as well as training for faculty and students by [U]Tech support team members.

digital suite 1

Take advantage of CWRU's homegrown holographic content, including HoloAnatomy® Software Suite, Antikythera Mechanism, Red Monastery, as well as other applications on the HoloLens App Store.

digital suite 3

IC Fellows

We are looking to our brilliant and diverse community for the next big idea in mixed reality for higher education. 

The IC Fellows Cohort is designed for instructors at CWRU who want to build their own mixed reality apps to use in class, under the mentorship of the IC and TLT. Participation is free and open to all CWRU faculty and staff.


The cohort covers a variety of topics about the transition to teaching in 3-D. Each IC Fellow will create a storyboard and class plan, which will ideally be fully developed and launched the following academic year.


The Showcase presentation at the end of the fellowship year is an opportunity to share the new applications with the CWRU community at large. Each IC Fellow presents their application and has a chance to walk visitors, colleagues, and students through the experience.

Grow your

Here are some thoughts on the benefits of mixed reality as a teaching tool, and how to make a great class in MR.

  • Introductions: HoloLens and mixed reality

Mixed reality (MR): digital holographic content superimposed and anchored onto the real-world environment. Users continue to see the people and the room around them, the 3-D object(s), and remotely-connected users.

Microsoft's HoloLens: a standalone holographic computer that users wear on their heads to experience mixed reality. The transparent visor projects digital objects directly onto users' retinae to seamlessly blend the digital and analog fields of view.

  • What makes a great idea for a mixed reality class experience?

First, it's important to play to the technology's strengths. One of the most impactful features of mixed reality is its capacity to show the invisible (e.g., the structure of an atom, the subterranean environment of the Earth, or a building located thousands of miles away.)


Professor Mike Martens using mixed reality to teach electromagnetism.

Second, it's important for mixed reality classes to be shared experiences, where everyone sees the same thing in the same place at the same time. This allows for active and natural collaboration, discussion, and discovery — just like in a great, traditional learning environment.

daily new partners

Medical students using HoloAnatomy® Software at the CWRU SOM.

Third, this is an Active Learning tool, not a 3-D chalkboard. Mixed reality classes work best when students and instructors are together, standing up and moving around to explore the holograms’ breadth, depth, relationships, and interiors. Chairs should be pushed aside.


Dr. Martin Nweeia's Narwhal exhibit that was featured at the Smithsonian.

Professor Bolman, the chair of CWRU's Art History Department, was one of the first people in thousands of years to lay eyes upon the painted interior walls of the Red Monastery in Egypt. She led the effort to restore the 5th Century Coptic masterpiece, and then digitally preserved it. Click 'Learn More' to read about her mixed reality class.

of learning

Connected. Accessible. Fast. Seamless. Physical. Interdisciplinary. Empathetic. Exploratory. Visual.


"Teaching with HoloLens was life transforming. It will be very, very hard for me to make do with traditional media, when teaching about buildings. We are at a moment where we are at the cusp of the democratization of art, and this technology enables us to share monuments of cultural heritage from around the world and have the experience be as genuine as seeing the original."


Professor of Art History, CWRU