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A Virtual University in the Real University(仮想大学が現実の大学の中に)

In this April, an university was established in cyberspace of the internet. It is called "Necomi" University (Both the site and the news article are only in Japanese. "Necomi" is an abbreviation of "net communication.").

The virtual university was established in the Faculty of Environmental Information, Keio University. The "President" is Fumitoshi Kato, an associate professor of Keio.

Nowadays, it is rather commonplace for universities to give lectures through internet, or to receive term papers via e-mail. Some universities have distance learning program, in which the internet is the main place of activities. However, this "university" seems to be the first in the sense that its existence itself is virtual.

In the university website, there is a "town" consisting of university building and dormitories (although the graphics are rather cheap), and you can go inside by clicking the entrance of these buidings. In the university building, there are BBSs (bulletin boards) for subjects. Lectures are given through the BBSs. Students are required to access in the predetermined time, viewing the lectures, and report the answers to the given problems. Besides, in many subjects, students register by their handle name rather than the real name.

This "university," in fact, is a kind of game. The subjects for the last term include "Escapism Workshop," "Theory of Mobile Phones," "Language of Gals," and so on, which seems to be far from academic. Many lecturers are actually graduate students.

What is unique about this attempt is that the "credits" of this virtual university are transferred to those of the real Keio University. The rate of conversion is not good, however. Students can finish the whole program of this virtual university within 1 term, and the whole credits earned are converted to a credit of the Professor Kato's class, "Network Communication" at Keio university. In short, the virtual university was created as a device to understand the communication through networks.

Although the "university" is virtual, there is some reality in it. It explicitly has linkage with the real university. Real students (in handle names) register for lectures, and interact to each other. There is real human relationship. In this sense, the virtual university seems to resemble to MMORPGs.

In MMORPGs, although the games are just for play, the interactions among players are real. In addition, in many MMORPGs, what happen in the games have some impact to the real world. For example, some virtual items in the games have real-world values. This virtual university, just like MMORPGs, is one of the virtual worlds that have become "meaningful" for our real society.


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Since the fast development of society,there has been so many uses of the virtual space.Many people work home as well as study for certain reasons.

Posted by: Robe | April 24, 2006 04:54 PM

Combining the virtual education with the MMO is a good idea,i suppose.

Posted by: Liyoun | April 24, 2006 05:01 PM

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