24 February 2024
There has been a rise in the number of universities that are transitioning to "Metaversities," expanding their traditional campuses into the online Metaverse. Ten institutions of higher education in the United States are collaborating with Facebook parent company Meta and virtual reality firm VictoryXR to develop interactive 3D online replicas, or "virtual twins," of their campuses, which are updated in real time as people and objects move through the physical locations. The Metaverse is already the site of certain educational offerings. According to VictoryXR, they hope to have 100 of its "virtual doppelganger colleges" fully operational by 2023. These campuses will have live teachers and actual-time student participation.
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Conducting college courses in the Metaverse has several advantages, including 3D visual understanding, enhanced authentic engagement, as well as simpler accessibility for pupils in far-flung locations. It's possible that there might be some issues, however. The ethical, sociological, and practical implications of the Metaverse, along with associated dangers including privacy invasions as well as security problems, have been the subject of much recent survey.
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Here are the five biggest challenges faced by Metaverse college students:
1. Significant Cost and Time
Under certain situations, the Metaverse may be used as a decreased-charge educational option. Creating a cadaver lab, for example, is an extremely expensive endeavor that also needs a sizable amount of room and regular upkeep. Fisk University has reduced the cost of studying science by creating a virtual cadaver lab. Universities incur additional fees due to the need to purchase licensing for virtual reality material, build digital twin campuses, purchase virtual reality headsets, and more. The price tag for a digital twin campus may easily top $100,000, while a single license for a Metaverse course can cost colleges at least $20,000. The cost to get entry to VictoryXR's Metaverse is $200 per student per year.
2. Data Privacy, Security and Safety Concerns
Organizations working on Metaverse technology base their economic models on amassing extensive user profiles. Meta's Oculus Quest 2 VR headset users, for example, are required to create a Facebook profile. Location, physical characteristics, and motion of pupils, as well as voice recordings, are all examples of personally identifiable information that the headsets might potentially capture. There is no guarantee that this information will be confidential or that marketers will have access to it. The developers at Meta are also hard at work on a more powerful virtual reality headgear codenamed "Project Cambria." Thanks to built-in sensors, the user's virtual self will be capable of keeping visual contact and respond to the person's reactions in kind. Marketers may utilize such information to gauge consumers' focus and provide more relevant ads to them.
3. Lack of Rural Access to Advanced Infrastructure
A lot of the things you can do in the Metaverse, like watching 3D films, need a lot of data transfer. In order to process the vast amounts of data being generated by the interplay of sensors and users in both the digital and real worlds, ultra-fast broadband connections are essential. There is a severe dearth of resources for consumers in remote locations to access high-quality Metaverse material. For example, although almost everyone in America's major cities has accessibility to the web, only around 65 percent of the country's rural residents and 60 percent of those residing on primitive territory have.
4. Adapting Challenges to a New Environment
The educational system must undergo radical transformations in order to construct as well as activate a Metaversity. Pupils in the metaverse, for example, are not passive observers but rather participate in a variety of VR games and many other experiences. Via the use of artificial intelligence and other cutting-edge technologies, like immersive game-based learning and VR, it is possible to generate non-real-time but nonetheless experienced via metaverse, tailored learning opportunities. There may be less strict guidelines for how to study in the metaverse if automatic systems can adapt the course material and learning speed to each individual child's skill level and interest areas. Due to these distinctions, traditional forms of testing as well as supervision, including quizzes, need to undergo substantial revision. Multiple-choice tests and other conventional evaluation tools are not suitable for the flexible and unstructured learning environments found in the virtual world.
5. Amplifying Biases
Textbooks in a variety of disciplines are notorious for perpetuating gender, ethnic, and ideological stereotypes that shape pupils' understanding of historical occurrences as well as scientific discoveries. These prejudices may impede progress toward gender equality and other ideals of justice. The consequences of biases might be magnified in media-rich settings. When it comes to shaping pupils' worldviews, movies are significantly more effective than college books. The impact of metaverse content may grow in the future. University administrators, faculty, as well as pupils will be required to deal with problems of privacy protection, educator preparation, as well as national investment in broadband networks if they are to fully realize the potential of the metaverse in the classroom.
Disclaimer: The author’s thoughts and comments are solely for educational reasons and informative purposes only. They do not represent financial, investment, or other advice.