10 Universities Plan ‘Digital Twin’ Metaversities for Fall

As AR/VR technology for education applications continues to improve, colleges and universities are beginning to experiment with the “metaversityconcept to improve distance student engagement and provide more experiential learning opportunities.

According to a recent press release10 universities will launch their own metaversities this fall to provide students and professors with a “digital twin” replica campus to attend courses, using a Meta Quest 2 virtual reality headset delivered through a partnership with VictoryXR and Meta .

The announcement said students from 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 will be able to use the technology to attend courses synchronously from anywhere.


VictoryXR CEO Steve Grubbs said students will use their VR headsets to enter their school’s dual meta-campus or virtual campus with other students and professors for classroom activities such as learning more about human anatomy through a virtual cadaver lab, history field trips or astronomy classes among others. on a spaceship.

“It’s persistent, which means it’s always there. You put on your headset and your metaversity is there,” Grubbs said of the metaversity concept. “And it’s immersive and experiential, meaning you learn kinesthetic in a metaversity as opposed to Zoom learning, which isn’t kinesthetic. You are not going to take apart a car engine in Zoom, but you will be in a metaversity.

“It’s a digital twin, so it looks exactly like the real thing — on the paint, glass, etc.” he added later. “You get the campus quad, and you have five to seven buildings and the interior of two to three buildings. Universities usually start there with their digital twins.”

According to Grubbs, the launch of the 10 metaversities comes after VictoryXR first tested the concept with Morehouse College, followed by further pilots at Fisk University and American High School. The method has so far received a positive response from students and professors.

“More than any learning innovation I’ve been involved in, Morehouse in the metaverse has made the biggest difference to the students I teach,” Muhsinah Morris, an assistant professor at Morehouse College, said in a public statement.

Grubbs said the recent move to test the concept has been driven in large part by a decline in campus enrollment in higher education, as well as improvements to Meta’s AR/VR technology making it more feasible.

“When you’re distance learning, you have two choices, Zoom or a metaversity, and there’s no question of what students prefer,” he said. “Universities need to meet those students where they are… 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.

“Those who ignore this new learning method do so at the risk of their own enrollment,” he added later. “The bottom line is: distance learning is growing and there is fierce competition for those distance learners because they can now learn anywhere.”

Another thing driving the new concept, Grubbs said, is cost-effectiveness. For example, he said VictoryXR’s virtual cadaver lab is “dramatically” less expensive than maintaining and managing a real cadaver lab for anatomy courses.

“In the cadaver lab, the professor can give each student their own human heart to hold, and then that student can expand that human heart until it’s 8 feet long and step in and learn about ventricles and cavities,” he said, pointing on the current possibilities.

Perhaps the biggest driver, according to Grubbs, is the willingness of schools to try something new in the wake of the digital wave caused by COVID-19, which forced many students to learn online.

“It was, ‘Who is willing to dip their toes in the water and try something revolutionary that has never been done before in the history of the world?’ That’s not a big list,” he said. “Thank goodness Morehouse College had some professors who were willing to say, ‘Okay, our students don’t like Zoom, so let’s try something they’ll love.'”

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