We all know that going to college is more than just going to class. That’s why proponents of the metaverse are investing in “metaversities” — digital twins of real college campuses.
The first virtual campus was Morehouse College, a liberal arts college in Atlanta, Georgia, which has been in digital form since March 2021 with students attending. Now Meta is providing funding for nine new metaversities to launch this fall across the country.
With each campus reconstructed in great detail, students can experience the same environment as if they had physically traveled to college. The digital twin is being made by a company called VictoryXR, which is building the new campuses with funding from Meta using the EngageVR platform.
The results look impressive, as evidenced by the fly-through videos available on VictoryXR’s YouTube channel. While the virtual environments are not photo-realistic, they represent the actual campus buildings and layout well enough that a real visit to the university makes students feel right at home.
This is how it works. Students review a Meta Quest 2 headset at the beginning of the semester and hand it in at the end. Students can move around the digital twin campus, take classes and hang out in the student lounge and garden. Virtual courses will be filled with multiple students who can interact with each other and the professors just like a physical university.
VR takes things a step further, offering possibilities such as time travel for historical excursions, contracting to take a tour of the human body from the inside out, and much more. The idea, of course, is to make learning more attractive, fun and accessible for everyone.
The nine additional campuses coming this fall include the University of Kansas School of Nursing, New Mexico State University, South Dakota State University, Florida A&M University, West Virginia University, University of Maryland Global Campus, Southwestern Oregon Community College, California State University , Dominquez Hills and Alabama A&M University.
In the coming years, Meta, along with other major tech companies, will continue the deep dive into building out the metaverse with more virtual and augmented reality experiences, naturally generating more demand for the latest Meta VR headsets and technologies.