University Academy 92 (UA92) will become a part of the metaverse in 2023 and provide unique NFT achievement awards in what it calls a first for higher education. 

The Greater Manchester campus has worked with international agency DigiSomni and its Vircadia open source metaverse platform to build its virtual world as it seeks to open its campus to global audiences and better serve international and remote students. 

With a vision for autonomous learning, UA92 will provide lectures, presentations, character and personal development advice zones, well-being activities, campus tours and events on the virtual platform, with each student given access through individual avatars, allowing them to meet, learn, chat and socialise in the digital campus.

The open source platform will also allow students to help build and contribute to the development of the metaverse environment, a skill which will be taught directly through UA92 bootcamp courses.

Aaron Saxton, director of disruptive learning at UA92, said: “We are extremely proud to be launching our Metaverse world in January 2023.

“This is a huge step forward for education. It enables us not only to serve our students here in Manchester with the next big thing in digital learning, but also bring our sense of community to students who cannot physically join us on campus here in Manchester and collaborate with them in growing our virtual facility.

“We have followed the growth of the metaverse, Web 3.0, and the innovations around the sector closely for a number of years, and we feel this is a prime time to be launching our digital campus and NFT achievements. 

“We are once again showcasing our trailblazing innovation in education and the differences that UA92 offers compared to more traditional education facilities, and we look forward to welcoming our students both on campus and virtually in the New Year.”

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Kalila Lang, founder & CEO of DigiSomni and Vircadia, added: “We are so happy to be at the frontier of XR and ‘metaverse’, pioneering the future of education with the trailblazing students and faculty at UA92.”

UA92, launched by Lancaster University and former Manchester United stars from the Class of ‘92 in 2019, aims to make higher education accessible to all, through its founding principles of accessibility, social mobility and inclusivity. 

It offers a portfolio of degree and higher education courses across business, sport, media and digital disciplines, preparing students for the world of work by offering industry-led courses.

The announcement of its metaverse campus follows the unveiling of its Digital Academy space at its Old Trafford campus in September, which created an extra 380 places for students taking digitally-led courses.

Facilities include a fully immersive 360-degree Igloo learning space, AR capabilities in classrooms, flex-tech spaces, and digital media labs, which will be utilised by a range of students including those completing undergraduate computer science degrees, digital bootcamps and apprenticeships. 

UA92’s metaverse campus will launch in January 2023 and will be open to the public on selected Digital Open Days to be announced soon.

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