How To Run A Virtual College In The Metaverse
As technology keeps getting better and more people join the metaverse, how will this affect education, and can it help people learn?
Having a personal website or a social media presence isn’t enough to make it as a digital nomad. Avatars, non-fungible tokens (NFTs), and digital currencies like Bitcoin are just a few of the more sophisticated digital building pieces that are gaining widespread acceptance among users. Universities, which have always blended social and educational principles, must now consider how they will adapt to the requirements of their audiences in the present and the future. If universities can adapt to the Metaverse development, higher education will remain relevant in the digital age.
What is the Metaverse, and how could it be used in colleges?
In the Metaverse, people’s digital personas act as their primary means of interaction with the digital environment. Roblox and Fortnite are only two examples of game engines that demonstrate how the Metaverse is evolving. What if, now that VR technology exists and can be used for activities like playing games and attending virtual concerts, people went to school and learned in the metaverse instead?
Several educational institutions are just now learning about it. This fall, VictoryXR, which creates AR/VR content for schools and universities, has announced that it would partner with 10 universities to launch “Metaversities” in the United States.
Online replicas of the participating schools’ campuses will be available to students (whether they are on campus or learning remotely). Each participant will receive a Quest 2 VR headset to utilize throughout the duration of the course. Distance learners will receive VR headsets in the mail. College students who wish to attend classes in the Metaverse can do so at some participating institutions by borrowing a headset. All students have access to a 2D version of their digital campus that may be explored on standard desktop PCs. Just like on a traditional campus, multiple students will be enrolled in the same class at the same time.
The following organizations are participating:
- Alabama A&M University
- California State University Dominguez Hills
- Morehouse College
- New Mexico State University
- Northern Illinois University
- South Dakota State University (SDSU)
- Southwestern Oregon Community College (SWOCC)
- University of Kansas School of Nursing
- University of Maryland Global Campus
- West Virginia University
Virtual reality training wouldn’t be confined to a single field, either. The development of two VR scientific courses at SDSU has begun, and SWOCC is preparing to provide VR courses in a wide range of disciplines, from forestry to microeconomics. Universities will be able to give the “in-person experience” to students via a variety of online courses, elevating the status of even the most foundational general education programme.
This provides students with a “classroom” environment that is available around the clock. They get access to the materials and lecture for the day whenever they choose, not just when it was recorded. Access to knowledge is one of the many benefits of living in the modern digital era. Online resources have made it easier than ever for students to get the latest information, connect with peers, manage finances, and even receive medical care. We should probably include classroom and online learning in this.
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Why Should Universities Consider Metaverse Services?
According to a survey conducted by the Lumina Foundation and Gallup, 32% of undergraduates who are presently enrolled in a bachelor’s degree programme had considered withdrawing from school for at least one semester within the past six months.
Seventy-six percent of those who are currently enrolled in a four-year college and have considered quitting say they have done so due to emotional stress.
A rapid shift to distance learning has an impact on students of all ages who were not accustomed to studying independently. Students with cognitive disabilities, kinesthetic learners, and individuals from less conventional backgrounds who find only in the classroom an environment conducive to concentration and study may all fall into this category.
In 2020, when colleges began employing Zoom as a means of education, the solution was immediately attacked for being boring and stressful—not at all what students would anticipate from an increasingly expensive higher education. According to the Lumina/Gallup survey, the situation has not improved.
Institutions of higher education are adapting to the reality that future pandemic outbreaks may again force them to cancel on-campus classes. They will need to come up with a more permanent solution to Zoom classes. The metaverse has the potential to accomplish this, and it might also provide students with an alternative means of campus life in the event of lockdowns.
Advantages and Risks of the Metaverse
But is the Metaverse the answer to campus stress? Is the Metaverse going to make things better, or worse?
To counteract the monotony of Zoom lectures, many colleges have begun exploring other instructional methods. They might benefit greatly from a unified digital environment in which they can communicate with their professors and peers via digital avatars. We can look forward to innovative approaches to education made possible by the concept of a Metaverse.
The rapidly expanding Metaverse has the potential to produce $5 trillion in economic benefits over the next few years, and Metaversities could be a fantastic method for students to learn about this exciting new field.
However, it is also a freshly developed area that is far from completion. The reality is that there are always going to be problems with every new venture or piece of technology. A lot of people are worried that the Metaverse would only amplify the negative aspects of the internet, such as sexual assault and mental health issues. Critics are urging developers of metaverse platforms to be more cautious in their approach and to oversee the Metaverse’s layout in a way that makes it accessible to all users. Using this technology in a university setting requires proactive safety measures and a dedicated staff to establish guidelines, monitor behavior, and pursue offenders.
The concept of a Metaversity should serve as a wake-up call in the world of higher learning, reminding us all that the status quo is not sustainable. Although not every university is nearly ready to become a “Metaversity,” it is becoming increasingly apparent that AR/VR/MR technologies will play an integral role in the classrooms of the future.