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The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) announced the development of a new VR class as part of its new Metaverse project that will connect its campuses in Hong Kong and Guangzhou. The project called MetaHKUST will focus on immersive learning through the virtual world and allow students to attend classes without geographical restrictions.
The first step for MetaHKUST is the mixed reality classroom, debuting on the new HKUST Guangzhou campus on September 1. The physical campus will feature VR classrooms, sensors, and cameras. Apart from lessons hosted in the Metaverse, opening days and graduations might also be hosted in the virtual world, with diplomas and transcripts delivered as NFTs.
Pan Hui, chair professor of computational media arts at HKUST, believes that learning in the Metaverse is the future of education. Even though Zoom became an alternative solution for attending classes once the pandemic began, Hui said the video conference application is boring and less interactive for today’s standards.
“[Using Zoom] feels like you’re just looking at a 2D screen. But through virtual reality, you can feel as if you’re there. I think interaction is very important for learning. How you interact with students around you will increase your learning outcome,” Hui said.
Hong Kong aims to become a pioneer in Metaverse technology. In June, tech giant Meta announced future collaborations with local businesses in Hong Kong to introduce the technology. Shortly after, Yahoo disclosed that it would start organizing Metaverse and NFT-related events, such as exhibitions and concerts, for the city’s residents.
We are witnessing how the Metaverse can revolutionize education. The University of Pennsylvania announced last week that this fall, it will offer a course in the digital world called “Business in the Metaverse Economy.” Last month, the University of Tokyo released a series of Metaverse courses for the upcoming academic year.
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