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To start with, the university will install physical infrastructure for the mixed reality classrooms.
The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology has announced the launch of its first mixed reality classroom. The mixed reality classroom will promote an immersive learning experience among students.
The launch is the first step towards building a metaverse learning area called MetaHKUST. Using MetaHKUST, students at the Guangzhou campus will be able to learn with their counterparts at the Hong Kong campus.
The opening ceremony of the Guangzhou campus will be the first event held in the metaverse space. According to Pan Hui, professor of computational media and arts at HKUST, this will help involve those that can’t attend physically.
Subsequently, the school will explore its use for opening days, graduations, and classes. Also, there have been talks about introducing transcripts and diplomas as NFTs.
Institutions Should Champion Innovation
Meanwhile, HKUST is not the first to introduce metaverse spaces in Hong Kong. In May, Baptist minister Enoch Lam started the first Hong Kong metaverse church, the Me Church.
Wang Yang, vice-president for institutional advancement at HKUST, believes institutions should be at the forefront of innovation. Further, he stated that universities have a responsibility to pioneer movements. Noting that the metaverse technology was here to stay, Yang opined that institutions needed to embrace the technology as quickly as possible.
How the Mixed Reality Classroom Will Pan Out
To start with, the university will install physical infrastructure for the mixed reality classrooms. It will install sensors, cameras, and conception tools alongside a digital classroom. Students across the two campuses will be able to attend the same lectures concurrently using the digital classroom.
Learning in the mixed reality classroom offers more than regular online classes. While many institutions embraced platforms like Zoom during the pandemic lockdown, Hui noted the learning experience was deficient.
Hui noted that interactions are essential for learning, and Zoom was limited in that regard. “[Using Zoom] feels like you’re just looking at a 2D screen,” he said. With the mixed reality classroom guaranteed to stimulate an immersive experience, Hui believes learning outcomes will increase. Further, Wang believes a time will come when all classes will take place in the metaverse.
Beyond lessons, one HKUST student is planning to have their graduation ceremony in the virtual space in December. Will the gown lead the town into the metaverse as common with many innovations?