SEOUL -- South Korea's top mobile carrier SK Telecom has partnered with a university to hold a non-face-to-face entrance ceremony for freshmen using an online virtual reality platform. The special event was designed to welcome students to university life without the worry of being infected with a novel coronavirus through mass gatherings. Freshmen can have special experiences such as meeting with professors, colleagues and seniors using avatars.
The spring season in South Korea is full of festivities including university entrance ceremonies. Previously, thousands of new students and parents used to gather at university halls for entrance ceremonies and other events before going on three-day orientation trips to familiarize themselves with classmates and senior students.
"My loving 2021 freshmen, I warmly welcome all new students and parents on behalf of the Soonchunhyang family," Kim Seung-woo, president of Soon Chun Hyang University in Asan some 85 kilometers (52 miles) south of Seoul, said on March 2 to greet freshmen in a metaverse event. The metaverse is a collective virtual shared space, created by the convergence of virtually enhanced physical reality and physically persistent virtual space.
SK Telecom (SKT) a 3D stadium using its virtual reality platform, Jump VR. Avatars were tailor-made for students, and the university handed out welcome packages including VR headsets, quarantine kits and USBs in advance. Some 2,500 freshmen dressed up in virtual avatars were split into groups to attend an online VR event through 150 social world rooms using SKT's VR social communication platform based on its virtual-meet-up technology.
SKT said the virtual platform can be used for virtual lectures and club activities later. The event was designed to provide a unique opportunity for students to meet and communicate together on a metaverse campus at a time when South Korea's educational environment and culture are rapidly changing due to COVID-19. "We are pleased to hold the first metaverse entrance ceremony in South Korea through Jump VR with Soon Chun Hyang University," said SKT's MR business head Yang Maeng-seok.
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