About 10 universities in the United States will begin offering classes this fall using metaverse technology, known academically as the metaversity.
This technological and educational trend seeks to offer students and faculty a digital replica of the campus using Meta Quest 2 virtual reality joints provided through a partnership between VictoryXR and Meta.
“If you’re a remote learner, you have two choices, Zoom or a metaversity, and there’s no question what students prefer. Universities have to meet those students where they’re at… If universities are going to be successful [with upcoming generations]they have to think about their approach, and one of the solutions is the metaversity,” said Steve Grubbs, CEO of VictoryXR, to Government Technology magazine. VictoryXR is a private company founded in 2016 in charge of providing the technology needed by metaversities.
The colleges that will offer their programs in the metaverse are: Morehouse College in Georgia, the University of Kansas School of Nursing, New Mexico State University, South Dakota State University, Florida A&M University, West Virginia University, Southwestern Oregon Community College, California State University, Alabama A&M University and University of Maryland Global Campus.
Among the list, you can find one well-known university and about nine new metaversities.
As the portal added, a metaversity is an immersive virtual reality platform in which remote faculty and students don VR headsets and meet synchronously as they would on a physical campus. In some cases, the virtual campus is a digital replica of the institution at which they are enrolled. In other cases, the technology is deployed in face-to-face classrooms. In metaverse “classrooms,” students can learn as they travel through history and literature.
Universities that will teach programs in the metaverse this fall are part of a growing educational technology trend that promises to broaden the scope of higher education. Proponents of the metaverse claim that VR increases student engagement, achievement and satisfaction. However, some academics worry that private companies licensing the technology could exploit student data.
“The way companies like Google and Facebook exploit people’s data … should raise at least some questions about whether that’s going to go well,” added Nir Eisikovits, professor of philosophy and founding director of the Center for Applied Ethics at the University of Massachusetts Boston.
Based on the Government Technology article, many of the problems are solvable if educational best practices, business incentives and political wills are aligned. Another important aspect the brief highlights is that students seeking flexible options may find metaverses an irresistible improvement over remote two-dimensional displays that sometimes induce “Zoom fatigue.” And the VR university, which is already here, appears poised for tremendous growth, even as early adopters search in real time for solutions to the potential pitfalls of this innovative technological resource.
See digital twin campus demo here.