Students Create Virtual Worlds as Metaverse Heads to College

By: Lee Rickwood

June 27, 2022

Each student gets a parcel of virtual land. Each student gets a stack of virtual currency.

students in classroom, one wearing VR goggles

Students in Interior Design Technology, Virtual and Augmented Reality and Architectural Animation Technology programs at Lethbridge College get the opportunity to build and develop the virtual properties in the metaverse.

As part of a unique learning-and-work opportunity at the Centre for Technology, Environment and Design (CTED) at Lethbridge College in Alberta, students will develop theme-based, first-person Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) experiences, games and integrated e-commerce activities for the metaverse.

Students can build, buy and trade assets like property, avatars and collectible items with others in their digital world.

The land and all the assets created by students in their educational metaverse will remain their property for as long as they want. (The college will also have a significant parcel of virtual land to provide students with virtual events, learning and other services.)

computer animated scene of virtual training centre

Lethbridge College and Liquid Avatar Technologies Inc. have partnered to bring new learning opportunities to students in the metaverse.

CTED students will work with experienced practitioners from industry, as well as college faculty, to receive valuable mentoring in the development of their digital property. The opportunities come because of a partnership between Lethbridge College and Liquid Avatar Technologies Inc., a Canadian technology company focused on digital identity, integrated avatars and the metaverse.

The metaverse is a virtual reality world where participants can interact and experience things in a highly mediated, fully digitized version of the real world. Students from the college will be able to learn in the virtual setting alongside their in-person classes as they – and the rest of the industry – watch where and how far the metaverse can go. The students’ creative and educational opportunities lay in the construction of a new world, in the dynamics of new entrepreneurial and societal interactions.

“Our students will learn so much about entrepreneurship and building in the metaverse and will gain a much greater understanding of digital space and digital identity while these worlds evolve and grow,” said Cherie Bowker, chair of Lethbridge College’s School of Spatial Design Technologies.

Students in Interior Design Technology, Virtual and Augmented Reality and Architectural Animation Technology programs get the opportunity to build and develop their virtual properties – while creating structures and businesses and completing transactions.

Aftermath Islands sit on a blockchain-based, virtual reality interactive platform hosting a pre-existing network of virtual environments.

Liquid Avatar Technologies is providing 9,000 plots of land in what’s called the Aftermath Islands Metaverse – its blockchain-based, virtual reality interactive platform hosting a pre-existing network of virtual spaces where users interact in a virtual world parallel to their physical one.

On the newly named Lethbridge College Island, part of the Aftermath chain, students work and play, learn and earn in-game currency credits as they develop, build, buy and trade virtual assets like additional properties, objects, landscape items and even avatars.

“Providing the next generation of creative and technical thinkers with the tools to engage in new technologies that are primed to change consumer behaviour is an exciting opportunity for Liquid Avatar Technologies and Aftermath Islands,” said David Lucatch, President, CEO and Chair of Liquid Avatar Technologies and Managing Director of Aftermath Islands Metaverse Limited, in a statement announcing the partnership. “We envision this collaboration with Lethbridge College as a sandbox for learning and acquiring significant tangible experience, providing Canadian students with an advantage when entering the evolving job market.”

Lucatch and the team at Liquid Avatar will be mentoring Lethbridge College students as part of their education and experience in the metaverse.

Liquid Avatar recently opened one of the world’s first 3-D virtual art galleries, the Oasis Digital Gallery, an immersive web-based experience in which visitors can walk through and experience the look and feel of a “real” art gallery and where they can view and purchase NFT artwork directly from the gallery hangings. Virtual art collectors can purchase NFTs using PayPal, major credit cards and crypto-currencies directly via Shopify.

Lynn Mara’s digital collection, Barcode Ponies, is on display in the Oasis Digital Gallery, a virtual environment where more than 250 artworks will be available for purchase in a virtual 3D experience (that does not require additional equipment such as VR goggles to be seen).

The Oasis Digital Gallery will also be accessible in the Collector Aisle, a theme-based virtual island dedicated to NFT enthusiasts that’s part of the Aftermath Islands Metaverse where Lethbridge College students will soon set up shop.

“Our students are sure to gain a better sense of working outside their comfort zones as they tackle real-world problems and develop core competencies such as collaboration and leadership, while at the same time increasing their employability,” said Candace Lewko, Associate Dean of the Centre for Technology, Environment and Design. “We are confident our students will be making an impact and will be equipped with all the skills necessary to join the workforce.”

Students will begin engaging in the new program and mentorship opportunities by the end of the winter 2022 semester, program official described.

Established in 1957 as Canada’s first publicly funded community college, Lethbridge College is a board-governed institution serving the training and applied research needs of southern Alberta.

Aftermath Islands Metaverse Limited is a Barbados corporation which is 50 per cent owned by and is controlled by Oasis Digital Studios, a wholly owned subsidiary of Liquid Avatar Technologies.

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