The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology announced Friday its intention to build the world’s first physical digital twin school buildings in the virtual realm, as HKUST joins the bandwagon of the next digital wave to improve learning experiences at its two campuses in Hong Kong and the Chinese city of Guangzhou.

The metaverse is a collection of three-dimensional virtual environments where individuals can congregate, work, and play using digital representation of themselves, or more popularly known as avatars, allowing them to engage with others who are not physically present.

MetaHKUST is the name of the mixed virtual reality classroom that HKUST will build, which will allow students from various locations to attend classes as if they were in the same room.

A professor at the institution stated that the mixed reality class will celebrate the September 1 opening of the new HKUST Guangzhou campus.

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Hong Kong Pioneers Metaverse Learning

According to Pan Hui, chair professor of computational media and arts at the Guangzhou campus, a large number of guests may be unable to attend the inauguration, therefore “we will host it in the metaverse.”

Once an ecosystem has been created, the students from the two universities can create material for the virtual world, such as their own avatars, NFTs, tokens, or virtual works, some of which can be used or viewed in the physical buildings using augmented reality (AR) technology.

Avatars are not limited to being used in gaming. They can also be used in other sectors such as entertainment, sports, online shopping, fashion, social media and in this case, university.

Image: HKUST

The relationship between the metaverse and NFTs was explained by Roy Kwok, cofounder and Business Director of Vplus Studio Corporation Limited. He defined the metaverse as “a second space separate from real space.”

The metaverse is “a virtual replica of anything you can do in real life,” as K-20 Educators founder and CEO Vriti Saraf puts it. It’s not controlled by any single entity and supports the coexistence of numerous independent systems.

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Hong Kong Leads Face-To-Face Learning Via VR

The Hong Kong university is among the first to develop interdisciplinary teaching, e-learning, among novel methodology and programs. The university said it has always been a leader in creative education.

MetaHKUST is a key program of HKUST that aims to enable integrated education and engage students and research studies beyond geographical boundaries.

The metaverse gives a tremendous possibility for digital communication amongst people from all over the world.

The increasing availability of virtual reality headsets and browser-based login systems has enabled face-to-face interactions with others in a digital world feasible from any location.

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