South Dakota State University named one of seven metaversities

As part of being named one of seven metaversities by VictoryXR, SDSU will receive 50 Meta Quest...
As part of being named one of seven metaversities by VictoryXR, SDSU will receive 50 Meta Quest 2 headsets for students this fall.(South Dakota State University)
Published: Apr. 11, 2022 at 2:41 PM CDT
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BROOKINGS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - South Dakota State University has been named one of seven metaversities by VictoryXR.

As a metaversity, SDSU will later roll out a digital twin, replica campus for students to attend whether they are on campus or learning remotely. In addition, SDSU will receive 50 Meta Quest 2 headsets for students this fall.

“The partnership with VictoryXR and Meta will allow SDSU to offer courses in the metaverse and become an institution at the forefront of VR in education,” said Greg Heiberger, an assistant professor and the College of Natural Sciences’ associate dean for academics and student success. “SDSU will have our beautiful campus green, the Coughlin Campanile, and numerous SDSU buildings and labs built to spec in the metaverse. These spaces will be available for multiple courses to have VR classes and labs starting in August.”

Heiberger added that SDSU faculty members will receive training from VictoryXR and the university’s Center for the Enhancement for Teaching and Learning and Instructional Design Services.

The partnership was funded, in part, by Meta Immersive Learning. Meta is providing the Quest 2 headsets during the proof of concept on each campus as well as funding for the digital twin buildouts. Each campus is built by VictoryXR on the EngageVR platform. To view a digital twin campus demo, click here.

“When the history of metaverse education is written, these are the schools that will be known as the metaverse pioneers,” said VictoryXR CEO, Steve Grubbs. “Remote learning is growing, and these schools have decided to look for something better than a Zoom class.”

Joining SDSU in this cohort are the following schools:
  • Morehouse College
  • University of Kansas School of Nursing
  • New Mexico State University
  • West Virginia University
  • University of Maryland Global Campus
  • Southwest Oregon Community College

Additional metaversities are scheduled to be announced in May.

Officials say, using either a virtual reality headset or a PC, students will enter the metacampus with other students and their professors. There, they will engage in classroom experiences like delving into human anatomy, history field trips through a time machine, or astronomy on a starship.

“SDSU was chosen to be a part of this elite cohort of campuses because of our faculty’s commitment to innovative, engaging, and research-supported educational pedagogy,” said Heiberger. “The work our faculty, staff, and alumni have conducted in the past year testing VR’s potential in the curriculum and our university’s implementation of VR in outreach and recruitment has placed SDSU at the top of the list of partners for VictoryXR and Meta. Because of the metaversity project, SDSU students will have the opportunity to engage in hands-on learning through VR on a digital twin of SDSU’s Brookings campus, led by SDSU’s premier faculty.”

Last year, accountancy firm PwC published research on the advantages of using VR for learning. The findings showed that 40% of VR learners are more confident in applying what they’ve been taught and 150% more engaged. In addition, VR was found to be 400% faster than classroom-based learning.

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