Glendale Community College Brings The Power of Cinematic Storytelling and VR to the Classroom


With $4.5M in new funding, GCC partners with Dreamscape Learn to implement VR-enabled learning experiences proven to increase student success

GLENDALE, Calif., Nov. 9, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Today, Glendale Community College (GCC) announced a new partnership with Dreamscape Learn to offer students an in-person immersive learning experience that will be taught in a new state-of-the-art Virtual Reality Center, enabled by a state grant secured by Senator Anthony Portantino (D-Burbank). Based on research at Arizona State University, which found students performed better in courses that integrated this new approach to teaching and learning, Glendale will be the country’s first community college to offer introductory science courses that incorporate VR-enabled instruction.

“As the world becomes increasingly interconnected and technology-driven, this investment marks a decisive step towards encouraging more diverse STEM enrollment and success while equipping students with the necessary skills to excel in an ever-evolving global landscape,” said Dr. Ryan Cornner, Superintendent/President of Glendale Community College. “We’ve been really impressed by the results at Arizona State, and are excited to bring this powerful educational experience to our campus. We’re grateful for Senator Portantino’s unwavering dedication to fostering innovation in the classroom.”

Senator Portantino’s $4.5M request in the 2022-2023 state budget will fund a five-year pilot program to demonstrate the use and benefits of virtual reality in science classes, general creativity, and immersive education. The project aligns with GCC’s commitment to exploring fresh learning experiences that meet the needs of incoming students who are well-versed in modern technology. GCC will extend the benefits of immersive learning into the broader Glendale community by enabling dual-enrollment students from local high schools to participate in the courses that will incorporate Dreamscape Learn courseware.

“We are lucky to have Glendale Community College in the 25th Senate District and take pride in the world class education it provides to students in our district, as well as the difference it makes in the lives of countless families,” stated Senator Portantino. “This new investment presents a really exciting and original way to learn – whether we’re preparing future biologists, screenwriters, or elementary school teachers. I’m proud that Glendale Community College is not only thinking about how these learning experiences can benefit their college students, but are also working intentionally to offer the experiences to local high school students.”

Dreamscape Learn is the result of a two-year partnership between Arizona State University and DreamWorks Motion Pictures co-founder and award-winning writer Walter Parkes. The Culver City, CA-based organization has developed both VR-enabled biology courseware and a teaching platform that enable instructors to conduct classes from any imaginable location relevant to their students’ area of study. By combining experiential learning, cinematic storytelling, and cutting-edge immersive technologies, research at Arizona State University has found the approach dramatically enhances student engagement and improves learning outcomes.

Since 2022, over 12,000 Arizona State University (ASU) students have taken the introductory biology lab that incorporates Dreamscape Learn’s “Alien Zoo” curriculum, which situates students as field biologists within a virtual environment conceived by Parkes and Steven Spielberg as a movie concept. Students who participated in the lab, dissecting its fictional creatures and studying their behaviors and habitats, were twice as likely to earn an A on assignments when compared with their peers who participated in a traditional wet lab setting. These results were consistent across all student demographics, with the exception of honors students, whose performance was unchanged regardless of the format. As a result, ASU has transitioned all of its introductory biology wet labs to the Dreamscape lab.

GCC students will use Dreamscape’s immersive biology lab curriculum to act as biologists solving real-life science problems in a complex world of novel creatures and ecosystems. GCC will also have access to the Dreamscape Learn tools for building new immersive environments in important academic programs including architecture, history, and other disciplines.

“Storytelling is the age-old bridge between knowledge and imagination. Our large-scale implementations at ASU have made clear that using VR to immerse students in compelling cinematic narratives is driving new levels of motivation and persistence,” said Walter Parkes, co-founder and chairman of Dreamscape Learn. “We are thrilled to be partnering with Glendale Community College, which has been at the forefront of preparing students for both academic and work-force success across Los Angeles and beyond.” 

Scheduled to open in 2024, the Virtual Reality Center will be located on GCC’s Verdugo Campus between the college’s renowned Planetarium and a new 116-thousand square foot science building. The three buildings form an “innovation alley” offering GCC students a cutting edge in-person learning experience. The $4.5M in state funding will be administered by the Glendale College Foundation during the initial 5-year project.

About Glendale Community College

Glendale Community College has served the Glendale community and greater LA Metro region for 96 years. The dynamic institution offers college credit at the Verdugo Campus, continuing education at the Garfield Campus, and customized employment training at the Professional Development Center (PDC) located in Montrose. The college serves an ethnically diverse student body of more than 15 thousand students with a commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility with one of the region’s top transfer rates to four-year universities. The GCC Promise Plus provides first time, full-time students with two years free tuition making it a strategic choice for students focused on obtaining a valuable yet affordable four-year college degree. Learn more at

About Dreamscape Learn: Dreamscape Learn is a collaborative venture between Dreamscape Immersive and Arizona State University, merging the most advanced pedagogy with the entertainment industry’s best emotional storytelling. Dreamscape Learn redefines how we teach and learn in the 21st century, while aiming to eliminate student learning gaps. Learn more at

SOURCE Dreamscape Learn

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