The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology has announced plans to build an online-based metaverse campus called Metahkust. The institution will take its first step toward this goal by building a mixed virtual reality classroom that will allow students from other latitudes to attend classes like they were in the same space. The virtual classroom will host the launch of the new Guangzhou campus.
The first event in which this metaverse-based system will be tested is the opening of the Guangzhou campus that the university will host the next September. Pan Hui, professor of computational media and arts at the Guangzhou campus, stated:
A lot of guests might be overseas and can’t attend, so we will host it in the metaverse.
The institution explained the benefits that metaverse-based classrooms and campuses can offer when compared to a more traditional remote classroom setup, that consists of using video conference tools like Zoom. Hui stated that metaverse environments offer more interaction for students, that can feel as if they were attending lessons in the real world. He explained:
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.
Furthermore, Hu stated this new focus would promote a sense of “unity and participation” that would otherwise be impossible to achieve due to geographical constraints. To achieve this united virtual campus, the university will install a series of sensors and cameras to feed information to the metaverse system.
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