Metaverse: How will virtual campuses revolutionise business school teaching? | TopMBA.com

Metaverse: How will virtual campuses revolutionise business school teaching?

By Chloe L

Updated Updated

As technology and teaching become increasingly interconnected,  universities and business schools are choosing to move some of their teaching to a virtual space online.  

Dubbed by some as ‘the future of the internet,’ the metaverse is a virtual reality (VR) world where individuals can interact through avatars. The metaverse gives business schools the opportunity to create an online experience which connects and unite students, offering them an immersive campus experience at home.  

Several universities and business schools are already branching out into metaverse technology.  

The University of California, San Diego (UCSD) in the US, Tecnológico de Monterrey in Mexico and Northwest University in China have each opened their own virtual campuses with great success. 

In 2020, France’s NEOMA Business School opened its award-winning digital campus in partnership with Laval Virtual. This 15,000m² online space is Europe’s first fully-virtual campus.  

TopMBA spoke to Alain Goudey, NEOMA Business School’s associate dean for digital and professor of marketing,  to find out more.  

Developing a virtual campus to connect students  

While the term ‘metaverse’ has gained more media attention in the past couple of years because of companies like Facebook and Microsoft investing in virtual spaces, VR technology has been around for decades.  

The concept of the metaverse was created by author Neal Stephenson in 1992, and has been used in gaming since the early noughties, with virtual world Second Life and the online role-playing game, World of Warcraft. 

NEOMA Business School was already using VR technology back in 2016 when professors used it to create business case studies for their courses. This technology-forward approach meant that NEOMA was included in the wider immersive technology community in France.  

The business school then tried to create a way for students to work, socialise, and connect with professors remotely. They wanted to invent a way to connect students across their three campuses so trialled video conferencing and benchmarked the metaverse campus. 

“During the [COVID-19] pandemic we identified what people are now calling Zoom fatigue due to video conferencing. We thought metaverse technology might be the answer,” said Professor Goudey.

“In September 2020, we opened our fourth campus [virtually] and put our entire community into this metaverse technology.”  

A year later, NEOMA’s Virtual Campus was awarded the ‘Coup de Coeur’ (Jury’s Favourite) prize at the Trophée du Digital Learning 2021 (Digital Learning Awards). These awards acknowledge the best digital learning projects and strategies developed by French companies.  

The school has now launched an updated version of the campus. 

How do students use the virtual campus?