Date: 05 Jul 1996
Why another virtual university, and why now?
There are many active
virtual university and distance learning
projects, including Diversity University, College
Town, EON, VOU (Virtual OnLine UNiversity), to
name just a few. See these links to other Virtual
Universities for more information on the state of
the art in virtual and distance education. The
majority of the projects use MUD or MOO
text-based world environments. Some of these
implement classrooms for general education.
TheU will be the first
virtual university to be built in glorious three
dimensions using the new virtual worlds
technology. TheU would look like a real, visual
campus with buildings, green space, meeting
spots, and a whole range of services. The
difference with theU is that you will see people
(represented as digital avatars) moving around
campus, interacting, learning and helping others
to learn. TheU will introduce a whole generation
to the virtual world experience and, we hope,
produce many distinguished graduates.
TheU will be open 24 hours a
day in 24 time zones and staffed by teams of
educators, mentors and helpers from all over the
world. Classes and social events will be posted
for students teleporting into the campus. New
faculties will be built and rebuilt continuously
as needs change. The technologies we currently
plan to use include: AlphaWorld, VRML and select
text-chat and voice conferencing systems.
The initial curriculum of
theU would also be unique: theU would teach
people how to live in digital space. How many
times have new users of an inhabited virtual
world been faced with the following questions:
How do I communicate with people in this world?
How do I move about in the world? How can I build
my own place here, can someone teach me? I met
someone here before, how do I find them again?
Are there any social events happening here where
I can really meet people? I am worried about
becoming addicted to this, is there anyone who
can give me advice? Can I go to have a private
conversation somewhere? What kind of things have
happened in here?
Please see theU proposed
faculties and curriculum. As theU evolves, we
plan to offer more general education within the
campus. In addition, theU will serve as a social
meeting area for cybernauts traveling through the
Internet's most exciting new territories, the
virtual worlds. TheU will also link to many other
worlds, including personal VRML homeworlds, as
they come online. We plan to use the latest in
VRML 2.0 technology when it becomes available.
We hope to see you at theU!