Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Graphic Communications

Committee Chair/Advisor

Dr. Nona Woolbright

Committee Member

Dr. Eric Weisenmiller

Committee Member

Dr. Amanda Bridges


In March of 2020, the world entered the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving educators to answer the question, "how do we teach in a virtual environment?". This was especially difficult for deeply rooted STEM programs such as Graphic Communications at Clemson University. This research aims to analyze multiple methods of virtual teaching for correlation between enhanced retention rates.

This thesis attempts to solve the problem facing global STEM educators when they are attempting to prepare material for students in a virtual environment. This is achieved by presenting them with how different methodologies impact the retention rate on freshmen level students enrolled in the Graphic Communications program at Clemson University. The study divided students into three groups, all receiving a different instructional method, and then assessed their retention on the content area of flexography press. This area is traditionally delivered in a hands-on approach.

This research study provided data that demonstrates that the implementation of virtual reality software increases the rate of retention for STEM students with no previous knowledge of a flexography press. However, the biggest takeaway is that virtual reality software enhanced their ability to retain the functionality of parts much better than those of their peers who received other teaching methodologies. This research can be applied to future studies in this area by assessing a larger group of students and other content areas. This research could be furthered by expanding it to include other groups of STEM students such as engineering to validate if virtual reality is a factor for increased retention rates across all STEM students.



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