Founded in 1867, Morehouse College has been a staple in the Black community. As the only HBCU to exclusively serve Black men, the school is known for its academic prowess, notable alumni, and community impact.
The Atlanta-based institution is now taking its historic impact one step further by taking its curriculum into the metaverse.
According to Atlanta’s WSB-TV, Morehouse College is the first college or university to offer classes in the metaverse.
Students interested in the virtual program step into their classroom by putting on a headset and immediately engaging in learning.
“The metaverse is what I call the world’s greatest playground. But besides that, what it really is, is the next iteration of the web,” said Muhsinah Morris, Ph.D., virtual reality program manager for Morehouse College.
According to the college representatives, the level of academic and social engagement the user can experience in the metaverse classroom is not limited.
“You want to climb mountains? Let’s go, you know? Let’s go to Mount Everest,” Morris said.
Morehouse College is using its position as the first college to offer classes in the metaverse to double down on the advancement of technology and its everyday use for students.
Beyond the future, students in the college’s metaverse program can use the technology to explore the past. For example, Morris used the headset to tour a slave ship in the metaverse.
“And I think that people do want to know the history of us as Americans because we all have made significant contributions to this fabric of America. … To expand the story that we’re telling, to build confidence and understandings around how we’re all connected because we have a shared history in this country,” said Monique Earl Lewis, Ph.D., chair of Morehouse College’s Africana Studies and History Department.
And while the faculty and staff are touting the new use of metaverse education, the students also find immense value in the program.
“It’s a whole new experience, and you’re meeting and experiencing things first-hand, such as the Underground Railroad,” Morehouse student Tahj Henry Jackson said.
“We can see that anything can happen, right?” Sid King said.
With expectations that the metaverse is expected to become a $1 trillion industry by 2030, the all-men HBCU wants to ensure that its students are taking advantage of the range of opportunities that exist with the emerging technology.
“They can create. They can produce. They can market. They can create social events. They can create a place of belonging in the community,” Morris said. “The future looks a lot like young people being able to come together from countries all over the world in one singular space.”