On Monday, 20 September, EU Commissioner Mariya Gabriel opened the ECIU University Extended Reality (XR) Campus. The opening was streamed to YouTube. “It is a great example of what we can accomplish when we pool resources,” said Commissioner Gabriel. Via the Campus, learners have an environment to continue learning and have people interacting with each other, even at a distance.
The Extended Reality (XR) Campus was developed by Zoan, a creator of virtual worlds, in close collaboration with Tampere University, one of the ECIU partner institutions. After the Commissioner opened the Campus, Miikka Rosendahl (CEO of ZOAN) presented the future of XR technology. Professor Henri Pirkkalainen (Tampere University) presented how the XR Campus is used himself and learners to solve a real-life challenge of Tampere City. The event closed in a Challenge Room, where learners were working together to solve a challenge of Tampere City: “It is like we are working face to face”, said one of the learners about her experience of using the XR Campus as a tool in her learning. After the opening, the ECIU Community from all over Europe joined the XR Campus and met in virtual reality. No distance keeping was required.
The XR Campus is ECIU University in virtual reality. The Virtual Campus is a huge milestone for the European educational community as it provides instant collaboration opportunities throughout Europe. Learners, teachers, researchers, and societal actors can access the Campus anywhere and anytime to immerse in interaction and co-creation fully. Challenges can be solved together, and the VR environment offers all kinds of opportunities for skills and competence development. People feel psychologically immersed as if they were physically present in the same space.
Building up a European university is all about experimenting and pioneering. With this pilot, ECIU University shows that the future of European collaboration in higher education is all about connecting our campuses and their communities. ECIU University is excited to find out how new VR technologies will enable us to work and learn together across borders.
ECIU University will change the way of delivering higher education by its ground-breaking and innovative education model. ECIU University is an EU-funded initiative of the alliance of 12 universities. Learners, teachers, researchers, enterprises, NGOs, public stakeholders and citizens solve wicked multi-disciplinary challenges in the spirit of continuous learning. The aim is to transform traditional degree-based education into challenge-based. The for everyone accessible XR Campus will be a tool for working with stakeholders and challenge-based education, together with colleagues from all over Europe, naturally and innovatively.