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Parker University to Build 'Digital Twin' VR Campus

A private, health-care-focused university in Dallas has partnered with VictoryXR to build a 3D “digital twin” replica campus where students can use VR headsets to participate in virtual courses and lab activities.

Parker University has joined the ranks of at least 18 universities in working with the ed-tech company VictoryXR to build a 3D "digital twin" campus in the virtual space.

According to a news release emailed to Government Technology, VictoryXR will re-create the Dallas-based university’s campus grounds and student spaces in a 3D digital environment, where students can participate in courses and lab activities in virtual classrooms using VR headsets like the Meta Quest 2 or 3, or through desktop access on their personal computers. The announcement said the adoption of AR/VR tools will allow remote students to access immersive content and collaborate on "hands-on" projects with instructors and classmates in a way that isn't possible with many 2D webinar tools. In addition, students and faculty will have access to VictoryXR Academy, a library of over 60 virtual reality classrooms and over 9,000 3D assets.

The news release said Parker University will purchase annual licenses for VictoryXR Academy for students and faculty, starting with students in Parker's blended chiropractic program, with other programs set to be added in the future.

“Parker University is advancing its chiropractic and other health-care programs through cutting-edge simulation in the metaverse,” VictoryXR CEO Steve Grubbs said in a public statement. “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.”

The announcement follows the work of more than a dozen U.S. institutions establishing their own metaversities, or “digital twin” campuses that students can access through VR headsets. Starting in the summer of 2022, these universities initially included Morehouse College in Georgia, 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, Alabama A&M University and University of Maryland Global Campus. In March 2023, VictoryXR also announced partnerships with Loyola Marymount University in California, Cal State Northridge, Indiana Wesleyan University, Metropolitan State University of Denver, Lorain County Community College in Ohio, Jackson State University in Mississippi, North Carolina A&T State University and Northern Virginia Community College.

According to the news release, the Parker Metaversity is expected to be completed in December. Students in the chiropractic blended program will have access to the VictoryXR Academy in 2024.

“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," Parker University President William Morgan said in a public statement. "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."