Chula Now Offering a Metaverse Course for the Public

Chula Engineering launches a short course for the public “Metaverse Technology and Applications” to expand the learning framework, and keep people attuned to technological changes to meet the future needs of Thai society.

 

Nowadays, technology is open to everyone to re-skill and up-skill themselves for life. Whatever you want to do, even if it is to “build the world,” you can learn and try to accomplish it, through a short course such as “Metaverse Technology and Its Applications” at the Faculty of Engineering, Chulalongkorn University. Applications are now open to the general public.

“Currently, technology is ready to take us into the full Metaverse, but what’s not ready is the “virtual world creator”, and we need a tremendous amount of manpower to create a Metaverse and change it for the better.”  Associate Professor Dr. Gridsada Phanomchoeng, Chula Engineering professor, discusses the goals of the course and reassures interested parties that “Anyone can create” a Metaverse                                               

What is the Metaverse?

The Metaverse is well-known and has been widely talked about since Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced Metaverse as a platform to create virtual worlds.  But Metaverse is not new, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Gridsada says.

“We live with technology almost all the time. Whether being at work, chatting with friends on social media, or playing games, we now exist in a very different world. Similarly, as we chat with friends, broadcast live streaming, or do various other things on “Facebook” which is also a Metaverse, we live in a different world.”

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Gridsada defines the “Metaverse” simply as follows:

  • People can spend a long time in it.
  • It makes them happy.
  • People can interact with others.
  • 3D graphics are not needed. 2D pictures or no pictures at all are fine.

Why is the Metaverse important?

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve seen the adoption of technology to facilitate life in the New Normal, be it telemedicine, online teaching, webinars, and the Metaverse virtual world – another way to connect people in a world of diversity.

In the Metaverse, you can visit museums and get a closer look at paintings by world-class artists without having to take a plane ride or worry about the museum hours.  The Metaverse extends our horizons of learning, whether it’s cooking classes, virtual operating room classes, or (virtual) trips to the jungle to learn about the ecosystem.                                                                                                  

According to Dr. Gridsada “In the field of teaching, Metaverse removes many of the constraints, whether the risk of contracting contagious diseases, the duration of the journey, and the cost of equipment.  Things that are hard to witness in reality can easily be seen in the virtual world.”

Though the Metaverse is now allowing people to interact in ways that are close to meeting face to face, or going to places, it’s still just a “virtual” experience.

“Researchers are still working to bring the Metaverse experience closer to reality, and many technologies, such as Oculus VR headset, gloves, and control devices now make the VR experience very realistic. I believe that in the future, the Metaverse experience may even be better than reality,” says Dr. Gridsada, while adding that there are still many stories in the world waiting for Metaverse technology to enhance and enrich life experiences and learning.

How to create a Metaverse?

Dr. Gridsada elaborates on the content of “Metaverse Technology and Its Applications” that learners can create a Metaverse by dividing the contents and operations into 3 parts:

Create a model

Once you have found the topic for the Metaverse, the first thing to do is create a model.  This course will teach you how to create a 3D model with Blender software.  It’s a free open-source program that can create good models and animations.

Assemble the models into on world

By putting all the models that you have created into an application using the Unity program, they can now become a world.

Connect the world to a device

Once you have created a world, you need to connect your world to the Oculus VR headset (the device used in this course) allowing you to access the world you have created.

Anybody can create a Metaverse

Over the course of 30 hours, students of the “Metaverse Technology and Its Applications” course will be able to gain a basic knowledge to build their own Metaverse.

“Regardless of professional or coding backgrounds, this course will help learners create at least one Metaverse of their own to apply it to their interests.  They will also receive a certificate of completion.” Dr. Gridsada said confidently.

“We’ve already had one class of 25 graduates, all of whom achieved good results in creating their Metaverse, and most of them said that it is not difficult at all,” Dr. Gridsada concluded.

 

Those interested in taking the “Metaverse Technology and Its Applications” course can obtain details of openings and find other courses from Chula Engineering for them to “reskill” and “upskill” on the website of Chula Engineering’s Lifelong Learning Program.