T. Popa1, O. Cupsa1, A. Pintilie2, M.G. Chitu2

2Constanta Ovidius University (ROMANIA)
In order to meet future challenge, universities will have to take an active role getting involved in providing complex and diverse education, in a world where men are increasingly individualized.

The personalization of education is the consequence of the need for individuality of modern man who no longer learns to occupy a place dictated by others but to freely and dynamically define his own roles. Hence the universities must have the mission to personalize the forms of education thus recognizing the individual’s right to be unique, to choose how he wants to be and what he wants to study in order to define himself and to get integrated into society.
The "Ovidius" University of Constanta is one of the accredited and recognized higher education institutions that addresses educational activities (theoretical and practical) for the training of future specialists through interdisciplinary study programmes and at the same time paying attention to the scientific research involving students in bachelor and master study cycles.

It is increasingly difficult for any educational institution in the current economic context to equip laboratories with new laboratories with appropriate technical facilities intended for applied educational process purposes, particularly where equipments, devices, measuring and control gauges or experiment stands are unreasonably expensive. This happens, especially within technical faculties, where relatively small number of students makes justification and capitalization of investment particularly difficult.

Each team of teachers working in such education institutions is permanently looking for solutions offering the opportunity to illustrate processes, phenomena, technologies, experiments or other activities that help students understand correctly the issues presented. The Naval Engineering Port and Energy Department within the Mechanical, Industrial and Maritime Engineering of "Ovidius" University of Constanta offers its naval architecture students, as alternative, a virtual laboratory that exemplifies the ship manufacturing cycle.

What does this mean? Use of specialized software applications, three-dimensional virtual modelling, interactivity and animation, accessing databases used in ship construction. The project is in its initiation phase and is implemented through the involvement of specialized teachers and students. Several models of ship structures have been executed and the user can install, by means of specific devices, any structural element on any position or can move through the structural elements of the vessel and even has the ability to execute virtual welding seams, cuts, machining works or any other operations characteristic to the ship construction technological flow.

The idea of using virtual reality as an education instrument in the field of naval architecture started from the experience offered by the internships in naval shipyards which highlighted a series of issues such as: disturbance caused by the presence of students on the technological platforms of shipyards; risk of accidents for students; inability to see a complete manufacturing process given the very short span of the practical training period of students.