Meta to open ten metaverse campuses with its Immersive Learning Project
Meta, the tech giant and parent company of Facebook, is shifting its metaverse focus towards merging virtual reality and education.
To bring this vision to life, Meta plans to create virtual campuses for ten universities in the metaverse via its Immersive Learning project, in which Meta intends to invest US$150 million.
'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,' a spokesperson from Meta said.
For this initiative, Meta partnered with VictoryXR, an Iowa-based extended reality education software company tasked with designing the metaverse campuses.
One of the first beneficiaries of Meta’s initiative is the University of Maryland Global Campus (UMGC), an online-only school with over 45,000 enrollments. Meta has already donated a couple of virtual headsets to the school, which select students taking introductory biology and astronomy courses will use.
'We’ve never had a campus before, and now we have our first,' said Daniel Mintz, UMGC’s information technology department chair.
UMGC plans to offer five courses on its metaverse campus this year. The school will loan students the headsets for the pilot VR courses for free. However, there are still concerns about how the university will provide headsets to its numerous students should it want to pursue education via the metaverse further.
Other beneficiaries of Meta’s new initiative include 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.
According to VictoryXR, it costs US$50,000 to build a typical virtual 5-7 building campus, but Meta is footing the bills for each of the ten institutions.
So far, Meta seems to have been losing money since its pivot to the metaverse sector. Its metaverse unit, Reality Labs, recorded losses of up to US$2.8 billion in Q2 of this year.
Still, CEO Mark Zuckerberg is bent on making the metaverse profitable. The company has plans to facilitate billions of dollars of commerce in the metaverse and hopes to have at least one billion users in the space in the next decade.