Parker University, a leader in health care education, has announced a new partnership with the Davenport-based VictoryXR to create a “digital twin” of Parker’s campus in Dallas, Texas.
In a news release Monday, Nov. 13, Parker announced that VictoryXR will create the Parker Metaversity, a digital replica of its main campus. VictoryXR, founded by Steve Grubbs and headquartered in west Davenport, will recreate the university’s campus grounds, building exteriors, and interior student spaces in a hyper-realistic 3D environment.
Once complete, Parker University students will be able to take courses, including labs, in virtual classrooms in the metaversity using virtual reality headsets, such as the Meta Quest 2 or 3, or via desktop access on their personal computers.
This marks the latest digital twin metaversity partnership with for VictoryXR, a leader behind the creation of metacampuses – a digital twin of an actual campus in the immersive world of Virtual Reality/Augmented Reality (VR/AR).
VictoryXR announced a partnership in April 2022 with social media giant Meta (formerly Facebook) to develop metauniversities with 10 American colleges. Meta, which partially funded the buildouts by VictoryXR, was providing students with its own virtual reality headsets.
Earlier this year, VictoryXR announced other collaborations with St. Ambrose University in Davenport and the University of Iowa’s Tippie College of Business to provide new VR/AR educational experiences.
“Every college and university in the world will have a metaversity in the next five to seven years and currently we’re leading that space” as builders of metacampuses worldwide, Mr. Grubbs told the QCBJ in an earlier interview.
According to Parker University, remote students will be able to work “hands-on” on projects while interacting with instructors and classmates, which is generally impossible with most LMS systems or Zoom, and other 2D webinar tools. Realistic simulations and explorations of rich, immersive content will be available to a degree impossible before.
Other universities with digital twin metaversities have reported increased student engagement, better test scores, and overall greater student achievement compared to both traditional on-campus and online courses, according to the university’s release.
The key advantages to Parker University’s partnership with VictoryXR are:
- Creating the digital twin Parker Metauniversity. Using hundreds of 3D photographs shot on the university’s grounds, VictoryXR will create a fully immersive 3D space that students, faculty, and administrators will be able to use to conduct classes and labs, provide both formal and informal student meeting spaces, perform research projects, provide campus tours, and more.
- Providing Parker University students and faculty access to the existing VictoryXR Academy metaversity. VictoryXR Academy is a multiplayer metaversity campus for students and faculty to learn together using VictoryXR’s library of 60+ virtual reality classrooms and 9,000+ 3D assets. The Academy is built on the ENGAGE metaverse platform and is accessible using headsets and desktop apps in the same way that ENGAGE is.
Parker University can conduct classes in and provide access to virtual classrooms, labs, auditoriums, etc., to Parker University faculty and registered students as part of this agreement. In addition, Parker University-branded signage will be available in the rooms used by Parker University faculty and students and generally visible only to those who enter the Academy via one of Parker University’s licenses as they use these digital assets.
Parker University will purchase annual licenses for students and faculty in select programs to grant them access to the VictoryXR Academy. Initially, Parker University’s blended chiropractic program students will receive these licenses; other programs may be added in the future.
“Parker University is advancing its chiropractic and other health care programs through cutting-edge simulation in the metaverse,” Mr. Grubbs, CEO of VictoryXR, said in the news release. “Just as airlines train their pilots in a simulator, Parker University will take the same advanced technology to their students, leading to better-prepared practitioners.”
Parker University President Dr. William E. Morgan said: “Parker University remains at the forefront of educational innovation, steadfast in our commitment to harnessing pertinent technological advancements to enrich the learning journey of our students. By establishing our own metaversity and the availability of thousands of 3D Virtual Reality assets, we proudly extend an unparalleled and immersive learning experience.
“This extraordinary platform will undoubtedly continue our commitment to innovation in teaching and learning,” he added.
According to the release, The Parker Metaversity is expected to be completed in December. Parker University’s chiropractic students will have access to the VictoryXR Academy in 2024.
Founded in 1982 by Dr. James William Parker as Parker College of Chiropractic, Parker University is the fourth-fastest growing college in Texas and the fastest-growing college in Dallas, serving more than 2,100 students and more than 35 academic programs.
Parker University has been recognized as an Honor Roll Institution by Great Colleges to Work For, one of the 25 Fastest-Growing Colleges in the U.S., as a recipient of the FutureEdge 50 Awards, and as a Best Texas Online College of 2023 by Forbes. For more information on Parker University, call 1-800-637-8337 or visit parker.edu.