Metaverse and other emerging technologies are shaping our world in unprecedented ways- affecting the conventional means we communicate, entertain, learn, do business and even travel. The disruption is evident in all spheres one can ever imagine.
In my previous article “bridging the physical and virtual worlds for immersive education” we laid bare the impact of the virtual world in learning and how we can without conflicts marry the two worlds to create a better and a more conscious environment that will foster education with improved methods.
Morehouse is the first college to ever host classes in the Metaverse and the first institution to establish a curriculum within the Metaverse in the U.S.
“In ‘Metaversity’ we teach our courses in these virtual worlds using immersive virtual reality with the Meta Quest headsets so our students are immersed in a digitally simulated world like a digital replica of our campus,” Dr Muhsinah Morris, Assistant Professor of Education and Morehouse’s “Metaversity” Director.
Morehouse launched its first virtual course for the 2021 semester as a way to continue learning during its remote learning.
“It was always a part of my goal to ensure that the world saw [Morehouse]. We’re mainstream. We set the tone. And we defined the blueprint for what innovation looks like,” Morris said.
This new learning method has improved the students’ performance and retention. Recent semester-ending surveys showed that 90 per cent of students found the courses in the “Metaversity” to be more effective than anything else they had participated in. In addition, students achieved an increase of over 11.9 per cent in their grades and a 10 per cent increase in attendance rates compared to previous semesters that did remote learning.
“What this says to me is that our students attend class at a much higher rate because they’re more engaged and excited to come to class. They are fully immersed in this digitally stimulating world. They are going back in time, going through the human body or going forward into a futuristic world that they could not go to until now,” Morris said.
In Sept., the “Metaversity” program won the T-Mobile Unconventional Award for “Innovation in Industry,” which also provides 5G internet speed.
Morris said she is also trying to make the metaverse more accessible to other HBCUs. She donated Meta Quest headsets to the Atlanta University Center’s Woodruff Library so students at other schools like Spelman or Morris Brown College can check them out and are assisting in developing additional programs at Prairie View A&M University and Tennessee State University.
“I think Morehouse will become the hub for what ‘Metaversity’ education and VR technology looks like and how to shepherd people through the development of these worlds,” Morris said.