Integrating and Assessing the Use of a “Makerspace” in a Russian Cultural Studies Course

Utilizing Immersive Virtual Reality and 3D Printing for Project-Based Learning


  • Elizabeth Enkin University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • Olha Tytarenko University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • Eric Kirschling University of Nebraska-Lincoln



immersive virtual reality, Makerspace, project-based learning, computer-assisted language learning


This article discusses the development of an immersive virtual reality (VR)- infused Makerspace for experiential learning. Students in an advanced-level Russian course used a Makerspace to complete a three-part project aimed at language and cultural learning through art and presentational speaking. Participants completed a survey about their experience at the end of the project, thus providing some data by which to assess its success. Students used Oculus Rift headsets to view 360-degree target-culture images and engaged in a handson sculpting activity that resulted in printing 3D models. Learners also used iPads for a painting activity, which was then compared with the VR sculpting task. The survey results showed that the Makerspace, and using VR in particular, was a success. Positive outcomes included facilitating task motivation, fostering speaking and artistic creativity, enabling deeper learning and focus on the task, assisting with cultural development, and enjoying learning by doing/making. Suggestions for future Makerspace projects in language labs are discussed.

Author Biographies

Elizabeth Enkin, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Elizabeth Enkin is Associate Professor of Spanish Applied Linguistics in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures (University of Nebraska– Lincoln). Dr. Enkin received her PhD in Second Language Acquisition and Teaching (University of Arizona, 2012). Her research focuses on second language learning, with a current emphasis on educational/emerging technology, and her recent projects have centered on language learning with immersive virtual reality. She has also published articles in the areas of sentence processing, online learning and teaching, outcomes assessment, and graduate student professional development.

Olha Tytarenko, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Olha Tytarenko is Assistant Professor of Practice of Russian and Russian language coordinator in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures (University of Nebraska–Lincoln). Dr. Tytarenko received her PhD in Slavic Languages and Literatures (University of Toronto, 2016). She has expertise in second language pedagogy, Russian literature, and cultural studies. Her primary scholarly interest is in nineteenth-century Russian literature, religious thought, cultural history, and political mythology. Her current pedagogical focus is on creating experiential learning opportunities and developing project-based instruction in alignment with curricular objectives. She is also a co-translator on various literary projects from Ukrainian and Russian into English.

Eric Kirschling, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Eric Kirschling is Language Lab Manager in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures (University of Nebraska–Lincoln). He works handin- hand with faculty, and lends technology-related expertise and web app development skills to lab projects that are geared towards language learning and technology. He currently focuses on the integration of emerging technology into language programs. He also manages lab equipment and day-to-day operations.


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How to Cite

Enkin, E., Tytarenko, O., & Kirschling, E. (2021). Integrating and Assessing the Use of a “Makerspace” in a Russian Cultural Studies Course: Utilizing Immersive Virtual Reality and 3D Printing for Project-Based Learning. CALICO Journal, 38(1), 103–127.



Special Issue 38.1: Innovation and Creation: The Maker Movement