Meta, the metaverse-focused social media company, is helping universities get their own virtual reality campuses online. The company will be opening 10 virtual campuses as part of its Immersive Learning project, which seeks to take education to virtual reality environments. In partnership with Victoryxr, an Iowa-based virtual reality education startup, Meta will invest $150 million in this initiative.
Meta Getting Universities Into the Metaverse
One of the biggest applications of virtual reality and metaverse technology has to do with education and the possibility of virtual reality classes coming true. Meta, the social media behemoth, is executing this idea, helping 10 universities to launch their metaverse-based campuses.
One of these is the University of Maryland Global Campus (UMGC), which is an online university. The more than 45,000 students of the university will now be able to meet in a metaverse online to convene and share their experiences.
Daniel Mintz, chairman of the department of information technology at UMGC stated:
We’ve never had a campus before, and now we have our first. It has a duck pond.
As part of this plan, the university will offer five courses in the metaverse campus that will come at no additional cost when compared to non-immersive courses. However, the university is limited by the number of headsets (required for the courses) it can loan to students.
Other institutions will also be part of this project: the University of Kansas School of Nursing, New Mexico State University, South Dakota State University, Florida A&M University, West Virginia University, Southwestern Oregon Community College, California State University, Dominguez Hills, and Alabama A&M University.
Meta is donating its Meta Quest headsets to these organizations for students to be able to be included in the courses. One of the objectives of Meta’s Immersive Learning project is to increase the access of students to these technologies by partnering with organizations and universities. Part of the $150 million investment Meta is making serves to deliver headsets in partnership with Victoryxr, the company that is designing the metaverse campuses.
Meta has also helped universities pay for the design and construction of these spaces, which can cost $50k for a five to seven-building campus. Steve Grubbs, founder of Victoryxr, stated:
Education is an exciting use case for the metaverse, and Meta Immersive Learning will help creators around the world gain skills for the metaverse and create immersive experiences for learners.
Meta’s pivot to virtual reality has caused the company to lose money, as its metaverse division, the Reality Labs unit, reported losses of $2.8 billion in Q2 2022. The company also had its first bond issuance in August, selling $10 billion in debt to invest in metaverse products and other initiatives.