Much has changed in colleges over the years. Teaching has evolved from simple lectures to the use of visual aid and PowerPoint presentations. Classroom classes have also shifted into various setups like online learning and hybrid options. This has provided more flexibility while reducing tuition costs.
Currently, colleges are also taking a step further into innovation by embracing virtual and augmented reality to deliver classes in engineering, business, and other topics. Students will be able to experience a unique learning environment thanks to the advancement of this technology.
However, like anything, this advancement comes with advantages and challenges that should be weighed before embracing future changes.
What is the Metaverse?
The metaverse started out as a vision where people could do what they couldn’t do in real life.
As a virtual space, the metaverse allows users to share immersive experiences, create different realms, and design their own avatars, similar to having a second life. For some, it has become an extension of the real world, creating a copy of their surroundings and themselves online.
Virtual reality headsets and augmented reality glasses are some of the technologies that allow access to this digital world. With tech giants pouring in significant investments, the metaverse is rapidly evolving.
Besides entertainment and gaming platforms, the meta has grown in other sectors like e-commerce, marketing, and even online education.
Advantages of Remote Learning
Distance learning has been around for some time, but the pandemic has pushed both educational institutions and students to shift and adapt this more. More students moved from attending class discussions on a physical campus to taking zoom classes that feature immersive learning experiences.
Here are some of the benefits of online education:
Online courses are relatively more affordable than on-campus classes. Aside from that, learning online will help you save on transportation and dormitory expenses.
A Level of Academic Freedom
Most online programs let you take up your classes while staying at home or while at work. You may also go over your schoolwork anytime and study at your own pace, creating academic freedom.
Online schools usually offer access to several digital learning resources available 24/7. Today’s students who deal with financial burdens do not need to spend as much as they normally would on textbooks.
A lot of the online programs may be taken part-time or at a slower pace. This allows students to take 1-2 courses at a time to give way to other personal responsibilities.
Welcome to the “Metaversities”
With the aim of expanding online education, two companies have partnered with several onboard colleges into the metaverse. Meta, the parent company of Facebook, together with VictoryXR and its founding director Steve Grubbs, has launched the creation of “Metaversities.”
The project aims to produce a digital twin campus where students may do different school activities without leaving the comfort of their homes.
Students may attend classes handled by associate professors and full-time faculty. Any interested student may take virtual tours and utilize their VR headset for their academic course instead of going on field trips.
- Southwestern Oregon Community College
- New Mexico State University
- South Dakota State University
- West Virginia University
- University of Kansas School of Nursing
- California State University – Dominguez Hills
- Morehouse College
- University of Maryland Global Campus
- Alabama A&M
- Fisk University
- St. Ambrose University
- Northern Illinois University
Learning in the Metaverse
Several universities and higher ed providers are working on providing VR classes through the metaverse. South Dakota State University is working on integrating virtual reality into two of its science classes, while the Southwestern Oregon Community College will be offering virtual classes in some of its programs, like microeconomics.
While there are online platforms that promote learning remotely, studying in universities in the metaverse will create a more immersive learning experience in the virtual world.
Zoom classes are convenient but may be too mundane in the long run. Plus, you’ll be able to access multiple learning resources and interact with university faculty while staying entirely online.
Challenges in the Online World
Will college move to the metaverse? This initiative presents universities and colleges with new avenues for collaboration, even reaching students and academics from universities around the world–but it does come with challenges.
While metaverse technologies host a lot of benefits, it’s still susceptible to a few challenges, one of which is data privacy. In order to create an account to attend class, you’ll need to input some personal information that may be prone to identity theft. The exploitation of minor users also poses a significant security risk.
As many schools’ applied ethics centers and cybersecurity departments emphasize, it’s essential for the metaverse platforms to create relevant regulations and invest in cybersecurity to place better online safeguards.
The Future with the Metaverse
Many industry experts claim the metaverse will keep growing and will eventually be very different from the digital world we are accustomed to today.
Higher education may benefit significantly from the meta immersive learning in a metaverse campus as old teaching methods become ineffective, especially with today’s students being more exposed to technology.
It’s also clear that a more immersive approach to learning must be considered, like augmented reality. However, some colleges may not be ready to open one just yet since this entails a lot of preparation and resources.
Technological advancement has paved the way for augmented reality to be used in education. Many universities are taking the leap by offering VR courses and creating a virtual campus in the metaverse.
The Metaverse project lauds remote learning, lower costs, and a more immersive experience as its most significant advantages. Cybersecurity and data privacy threats are the biggest downsides of Metaverse.
Ultimately students must determine if they are willing to spend hours using a headset, navigating, and learning in the digital world.