MetaUniversity: The University of the Future

The academic community has unquestionably been impacted severely by Covid-19. Over 1.6 billion people, or more than 90% of the world’s student population, have had their educations disrupted.

Because of this change, online education became an essential new resource. Despite this, over 364 million people—29% of the world’s youth—are not linked to the Internet. The gap between the digitally connected and those who are left out is wider than ever.

The good news is that with our aid, online education may quickly become the norm and new technology can be widely used. If true, this will encourage fresh perspectives and creative solutions in the classroom.

At KAIST, we confirmed that blended education worked effectively for our students. As a result, the entire planet has been used as a laboratory for a worldwide educational study. It allowed us to move away from the typical teacher-centered paradigm and toward a more student-centered one, providing a tremendous chance to encourage kids’ inventive thinking and teamwork. Students’ capacity to retain and apply what they learn is boosted when training does adapt to their unique needs.

Ninety-six percent of respondents to a recent survey in Seoul, South Korea, believed that the epidemic increased the existing learning gap. Seventy-four percent, on the other hand, said that schools should use a hybrid model that combined online and face-to-face learning. Feedback from KAIST students who have taken our online courses has helped us determine where we need to make changes.

Learning and Collaboration in the Business World and Beyond Disciplines through the Metaverse

MBA programme directors see VR as having the greatest potential for use in management education among the Metaverse’s many technologies.

The new curriculum places a greater emphasis on interdisciplinary learning. The Metaverse has the potential to serve as a welcoming classroom for students of all backgrounds and interests, from the arts and sciences to engineering and design to even government and politics.

The very idea of globalisation can be revised. A virtual environment cannot be confined to a physical location. Opportunities for international and inter-institutional cooperation are just the beginning of what the Metaverse can provide to the world of higher education. The Metaversity makes it possible for speakers from around the world to engage in a virtual multi-location programme and offer presentations, seminars, and lectures utilising a digital double or avatar. In addition to preparing the next generation of sustainable leaders, this can minimise institutions’ impact on the environment.

An increase in the demand for leaders with the ability to implement significant changes within the business is expected. To fulfil their mission of producing future leaders, today’s institutions must adopt cutting-edge educational technology like the Metaverse and move their physical campus buildings into the virtual Metaversity.

How Should We Proceed with Our Current Metaverse Research for Universities?

Even the top Metaverse development Company has yet to fully explore the Metaverse’s potential as a platform for cutting-edge research.

There is immense potential for higher education in the Metaverse. As a result of technological advances like virtual campus visits, students can learn about and apply to a wider variety of colleges. Though they may not have the financial resources to participate, students from low-income families or underrepresented groups might still gain from participating in a school field trip. During the epidemic, traditional college trips were replaced by virtual ones. Students can now get a taste of what it would be like to go to college entirely online thanks to the proliferation of these virtual tours in the Metaverse.

Several educational institutions are exploring the metaverse’s possibilities for enhancing teaching and learning. Opportunities for students to gain practical experience in fields such as health, architecture, climate change, and behavioural science are all on offer at the University of Miami in the United States. Students can get experience giving out anaesthetic in a simulated operating room thanks to the university’s XR programme.

When regular classrooms and campuses were shuttered due to the Covid-19 outbreak, universities and institutions found creative ways to reach more students and improve enrollment. Metaverses and extended-reality (XR) methods have been the subject of substantial study by academic institutions. The changing roles of educators and technological tools inside the pandemic show how Metaverse research might be applied to universities. 5G has the ability to dramatically revolutionise the way we study by bringing together a wide array of new technologies on an uniform platform.

Future advancements and the emergence of the Metaverse

Author of the famous science fiction novel “Snow Crash,” Neal Stephenson, created the concept “metaverse” in 1992. Video games and films like “Avatar” have since gone deeper into the subject. Similarly, once Mark Zuckerberg rebranded Facebook as Meta in October 2021, the Metaverse became increasingly well-known.

As a result of the emergence of the Metaverse, the concept of remote education will undergo drastic alteration. The Metaverse is often seen as the natural progression of the Internet, yet it might be used for much more. The worldwide value of the metaverse economy may approach $3 trillion by 2030, according to a white paper commissioned by Meta in May.

There are undoubtedly benefits to be gained from technological progress, but there are also challenges to be expected. For instance, interoperability is a major challenge in the metaverse setting. The widespread use of Metaverses depends on the fact that digital assets created in one can be used in another. The Metaverse, despite these limitations, has the potential to significantly affect several disciplines, among them education. How well virtual reality education complements traditional ways will determine over the next few years.

Metaverse has far-reaching educational ramifications and will enhance the reality of college courses. A competent labour force that can adapt to the demands of these evolving virtual environments will be in high order across a wide range of businesses in the coming years.

As such, the following is a synopsis and analysis of the commonalities present throughout the Metaverse:

Instrumental Accumulation

According to research (5G, AI, VR, AR, digital twins, blockchain, holography, IoT, Center for Journalism Studies of Tsinghua University, 2021; Kang, 2021; Shen et al., 2021; Sparkes, 2021; Lv et al., 2022; Park & Kim, 2022; Prieto et al., 2022) the Metaverse is more than just a new entity for VR (Internet of Things). Components and roles of the technical infrastructure may shift from domain to domain (e.g., entertainment, commerce, education).

When Virtual Reality Meets the Real World

The Metaverse’s defining attribute is this. The Metaverse includes both real-world objects that have been mapped or augmented and digital works created specifically for the Metaverse (Smart et al., 2007; Kye et al., 2021). Because the gap between the virtual and actual worlds in the Metaverse will be less, users will enjoy a more lifelike, multi-sensory, and persuasive experience.

Fast, no-cost access

When connected with a high-speed network, like 5G or 6G, smart wearable devices (such as headsets or glasses) allow users to enter the Metaverse instantly, with no constraints on time or place (Ayiter, 2019; Prieto et al., 2022). (Ayiter, 2019; Prieto et al., 2022). From this vantage point, it allows users to effortlessly and fast switch between the actual world and the virtual world via remote access, thereby reaping the benefits of both realms.

One’s Electronic Signature

In the Metaverse, people can construct personal avatars to represent themselves online instead of utilising a prefabricated one (Davis et al., 2009; Dionisio et al., 2013; Park & Kim, 2022). (Davis et al., 2009; Dionisio et al., 2013; Park & Kim, 2022). Avatars let you put your own spin on things by letting you alter their appearance down to the cellular level (Wei et al., 2004; Kocur et al., 2020). This is according to research (Murphy, 2017). The user’s online persona is a proxy for their true identity. Further, users can exercise influence over avatars using real-time tracking techniques (Saragih et al., 2011; Genay et al., 2021). (Saragih et al., 2011; Genay et al., 2021). In the Metaverse, users’ digital identities, embodied as 3D living avatars, play a crucial role in terms of possession, participation, embodiment, and socialisation.

Multi-dimensional immersion and sensory overload

Technology’s ability to construct realistic, eye-popping virtual landscapes has the potential to transport viewers deeply into the Metaverse (Shin, 2022; Zhao et al., 2022). Sensors, virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and the Internet of Things (IoT) enables users to move, handle, and click virtual or projected things, greatly motivating users’ various senses (Koo, 2021; Jovanovic & Milosavljevi, 2022; Park & Kim, 2022). (Koo, 2021; Jovanovic & Milosavljevi, 2022; Park & Kim, 2022). The Metaverse, like Mark Zuckerberg’s “embodied Internet,” will allow users to have experiences that are as real as, or even more real than, the real world itself (Bourlakis et al., 2009; Nevelsteen, 2017; Jovanovic & Milosavljevi, 2022). (Bourlakis et al., 2009; Nevelsteen, 2017; Jovanovic & Milosavljevi, 2022).

Content that is both decentralised and editable

In the Metaverse, everyone has the same rights as groups like developers did on the old Internet when it came to changing the qualities, position, and orientation of virtual content. Just like Roblox and Facebook planned, users can create virtually anything they can imagine (Jeon, 2021; Zuckerberg, 2021). Players can also collaborate on and edit one another’s shared work (Taylor & Soneji, 2022). (Taylor & Soneji, 2022). Users can now own and operate their digital properties with the peace of mind that comes from knowing that their assets are safeguarded and easily traceable thanks to developments in security technology like blockchain (Vergne, 2021; Min & Cai, 2022; Vidal-Tomás, 2022).

In light of the foregoing, we propose the definition of the Metaverse as a three-dimensional digital realm that merges the real and virtual worlds to provide an alternative to the limitations of the physical world (e.g., time and place). It enables possibilities for users to change the contents and engage in a wide range of activities (e.g., working, studying, training, socialising, transacting) through avatars and in conjunction with other players and virtual items. Users can have richer, more realistic, and more embodied experiences than ever before.

Bijoy Pal

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