Project Seminar: Understanding and Designing the Metaverse (MA)
Since the science-fiction author Neal Stephenson coined the term “metaverse” in his novel Snow Crash, a portmanteau of “meta” (Greek for beyond) and “universe”, people have been dreaming of realizing his vision of a virtual reality-based three-dimensional (3D) successor to the Internet, in which people interact with each other, virtual agents and objects in the form of avatars. This virtual universe is envisioned to exist in parallel to reality, has its own economy, culture, organizations, rules, and laws, and, similar to the Internet, is considered to be an open, distributed, and collectively created space where anyone can become a content creator and can shape this collectively created virtual world.
Driven by recent cultural and societal developments − such as the increasing popularity of digital games and the acceptance of remote collaboration − as well as technological advances − such as AR and VR, 5G, blockchain technologies, cloud computing, streaming technologies, or artificial intelligence − various big technology companies have started developing platforms from which a potential metaverse could emerge soon. Metaverse-like platforms such as Roblox, Fortnite Creative, The Sandbox, VR Chat, Meta Horizon Worlds, and Minecraft are already attracting millions of users to design and jointly experience virtual worlds.
This seminar aims to understand how the metaverse may shape the future of research, education, business, healthcare, and society as well as what current and future challenges the topic entails. In this seminar, students explore the ongoing scientific discourse on the topic and strive to understand what socio-technological trends may support the further development of the metaverse. To this end, the students create immersive 3D content on popular and emerging metaverse-like platforms and investigate relevant research questions related to the topic in empirical studies. The seminar is positioned at the intersection of Information Systems and Human-Computer Interaction and strives to create knowledge by implementing and evaluating prototypes, interactive experiments, and case studies.
This project seminar applies a research-based learning approach, in which students learn how to read and understand scientific papers, develop, and evaluate hypotheses by using scientific methods, and think critically and creatively. Students learn how to solve scientific problems, challenges, and dilemmas. Further, the course trains skills for communicating in the field of science through writing and discussion and thus prepares writing a master thesis.
Profound English skills are required. Further, creativity, experience in software design, user experience, prototyping, and software engineering are very helpful.
All participating students should be motivated to work in an international and interdisciplinary group on a challenging topic.
In-depth game design knowledge, e.g. from participation in the course Designing Gamified Systems, is helpful and recommended.
Most of our projects require knowledge of software development. However, since our projects are carried out in groups, individual members may not need to be involved in programming tasks. When registering via Studon, please let me know if you cannot or do not want to participate in the programming!
In the winter semester of 2023, we will be offering topics related to:
– INFLAMMANIA 3D – The Inflammation World: Several topics related to how we could use Roblox games as a media in medical education and science communication (see: https://gamification.rw.fau.eu/courses/student-projects/inflammania-3d/)
– PRIME – Privacy in the Metaverse (see: https://gamification.rw.fau.eu/research-gamification-and-digital-customer-engagement/research-projects/)
– other topics, which will be announced in StudOn.
Method of examination
Seminar paper and presentation
Runjie Xie & Jonathan Stief (Roblox development)
Block lectures + Group work + Seminar Project
ECTS-Credits: 5 as team project, 10 as individual project (by arrangement)
Announced in StudOn and Campo
Starts on 2023 August 1, 14:00 via StudOn – https://www.studon.fau.de/crs5316169_join.html
Seats are limited.
More details on the seminar, materials, technical requirements, and other information will be announced in StudOn.
Keywords: Metaverse, Interactive Information Systems, HCI, Web3, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, Mixed Reality, Gamification, Games