The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology has announced plans to build an online 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 as if they were in the same room. The virtual classroom will host the launch of the new campus in Guangzhou.
Hong Kong University of Science and Technology bets on Metaverse
Institutions are finding more functions and applications for metaverse spaces, and they are slowly integrating these technologies into their daily processes. The University of Hong Kong announced its plan to create a shared metaverse that will integrate both campus locations as if they were one. Called Metahkust, the application will allow students of the institution at different latitudes to attend classes and events as if they were in the same place.
The first event where this metaverse-based system will be tested is the opening of the Guangzhou campus that the university will host next September. Pan Hui, a professor of computational media and art at the Guangzhou campus, stated:
Many guests may be overseas and unable to participate, so we will host it in the metaverse.
Advantages of a virtual approach
The institution explained the advantages that metaverse-based classrooms and campuses can offer compared to a more traditional remote classroom setup, which consists of the use of video conferencing tools such as Zoom. Hui stated that metaverse environments offer more interaction for students, who 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 are there. I think interaction is very important for learning. How you interact with students around you will increase your learning outcomes.
Furthermore, Hu stated that this new focus would foster a sense of “unity and participation” that would otherwise be impossible to achieve due to geographical limitations. To achieve this unified virtual campus, the university will install a variety of sensors and cameras to feed information to the metaverse system.
Recently, the University of Tokyo also announced the integration of metaverse technology into the learning processes. The institution reported that it will begin offering introductory engineering classes in the metaverse later this year.
What do you think about the metaverse initiative of the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology? Tell us in the comments section below.
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