UCSD Announces Virtual Classes To Be Held in the Metaverse

Written by: Julia Wong

“Many of you have asked about a grading curve,” said one professor. “Well let me introduce you to a product that keeps YOUR
curves in top condition.”
Photo by Julia Wong

Following the recent rebranding of Meta, formerly known as Facebook, UCSD officials have announced that the school will be taking advantage of Meta’s virtual reality platform over its remote learning period. The university states that all lectures will now be held in virtual reality, and all students are expected to be equipped with a virtual reality package, now available at the UCSD bookstore.

In lieu of the pandemic, UCSD’s collaboration with Metaverse “Meta U: The Metaverse University Xperience” aims to enhance the college experience for students to maintain a sense of normalcy. Though this change has caused uproar among some staff and students, many students have expressed their excitement and willingness to take advantage of this new platform. “This is just like Sword Art Online! You know, the anime,” said John Fletcher, who insists on also making it known that all his online friends “totally call [him] ‘Kirito.’” Fletcher continued, “Kirito, you know, the main character of the series.” Fletcher leads a group of students who plan to beat “UCSD Online,” and shared his plan to “utilize the current meta to climb the rank ladder with all [his] boys in the Metaversity.” A “That’s Kind of Meta” sign hangs proudly outside of Fletcher’s headquarters.

As the interview continued, an in-system UCSD admin broadcast reminded students that “whoever fails classes in the Metaverse dies in real life,” with a corner section devoted to a holograph of Chancellor Khosla’s Metaverse avatar, cloaked in a “vegan leather” cape made from recycled Triton2Go boxes, exclaiming “Go TriPogs!” over and over. Fletcher commented that the cloak “constantly inflicts ten points of poison damage per tick upon opponents within a two mile radius. It’s one of the most OP items in the game –– I’m still waiting for the devs to nerf it.”

As virtual environments integrate into student’s day to day life, some wonder about the security repercussions of this technology. “I started getting targeted ads for UCSD classes and professors on my Instagram feed,” exclaimed Kaightelynn Zola, “and I’m over here with my camera off in lecture thinking like, ‘What the hell?’ I’m minding my own business, ignoring my professor, and this rude message is messing with my focus! Nobody asked for that!” Zola continued to scroll through Instagram reels, displaying the new trend “Throw it Back with Your Fav Prof.”

These complaints are not just limited to students. Numerous professors have protested that unregistered students have been showing up only to perform product placement in class discussion. “I called on someone at some point since no one wanted to speak anyways, and this guy stood up and wouldn’t stop mentioning this detox tea,” said Professor Charles Nhi. “I was teaching Physics 2A.” When asked about the company’s tracking system in an academic environment, Mark Zuckerberg reassured that “Meta will not sell its user’s data without consent, which they gave us in the Terms and Conditions page 60, clause nine, footnote 42, and foot-footnote 0.” The CEO has directed any followup questions to their upcoming “Privacy ENsuring Information Service,” led by the CEO’s trusted business partner, Markus Zuckerberger.

Even through the many criticisms surrounding UCSD’s Meta U: The Metaverse University Xperience, some see this implementation as a positive change. “This thing has really helped my mental health over quarantine,” said Catherine Kim, who recently spent five consecutive days in the virtual world. “The real life simulation helps me stay social, and I’ve never lived as lavishly as I have this past week!” Kim attempted to give a tour of her virtual dorm, but fainted and was taken away by the medics, who said Kim’s full-day screen time and Meta-supplied “virtual food” has led to moderate brain damage.

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