We all know going to college is about more than just attending class. That’s why proponents of the metaverse are investing in “metaversities” — digital twins of real-world university campuses.
The first virtual campus was Morehouse College, a liberal arts college located in Atlanta, Georgia, which has existed in digital form with students attending since March 2021. Now, Meta is providing the funding for nine new metaversities to launch this fall, spanning the nation.
With each campus reconstructed in detail, students can experience the same environment as if they physically traveled to the university. The digital twins are being created by a company called VictoryXR, which builds the new campuses with funding provided by Meta using the EngageVR platform.
The results look impressive, as seen through the fly-through videos available on VictoryXR’s YouTube channel. While the virtual environments are not photorealistic, they represent the actual campus buildings and layout well enough that a real visit to the university would make students feel right at home.
Here’s how it works. Students check out a Meta Quest 2 headset at the beginning of the semester and return it at the end. Students can move throughout the digital twin campus, attend classes and hang out in the student lounge and garden areas. Virtual courses will be filled with multiple students who can interact with each other and the professors, just like a physical university.
Going a step further, VR allows possibilities like time travel for historical field trips, shrinking down to take a tour of the human body from the inside, and much more. The idea, of course, is to make learning more engaging, fun, and accessible for everyone.
The additional nine campuses coming this fall will be 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.
Meta, along with other big tech companies, are continuing the deep dive into building out the metaverse with more virtual and augmented reality experiences over the next few years — generating more demand for the latest Meta VR headsets and technologies along the way, of course.