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Communications of the ACM

ACM TechNews

College in the Metaverse Is Here. Is Higher Ed Ready?

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This fall, students at 10 universities will attend metaversities, immersive virtual reality platforms where remote faculty and students don virtual reality headsets and meet synchronously as they would on a physical campus.

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This fall, students at 10 U.S. universities will attend metaversities, virtual reality (VR) platforms where educators and students wear VR headsets and interact synchronously.

Advocates claim VR increases student engagement, achievement, and satisfaction, but some scholars worry about metaversity technology licensors putting revenues above academic freedom, exploiting students' data, or replicating biased narratives in VR.

Many such challenges can be addressed by aligning educational best practices, commercial incentives, and political resolution, while students may find metaversities better than engagement via remote, two-dimensional screens.

Last year, Morehouse College tested a proof-of-concept metaversity with courses in world history, biology, and chemistry, and participating world history students improved their grade point averages 10% compared to grades in the same class facilitated through Zoom and face-to-face.

The University of Massachusetts' Nir Eisikovits believes on-campus education will ultimately supplement metaversities, not vice-versa.

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