A Guided Tour of the Metaverse

Rabindra Ratan

A Guided Tour of the Metaverse

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Sunday, June 26, 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm ET

Rabindra (“Robby”) Ratan / Michigan State University

The metaverse—an immersive network of virtual worlds where people will work, socialize and play—has been discussed widely as the future of the Internet since the COVID-19 pandemic, but did you know the term “metaverse” is three decades old and the concept is even older? So why all the fuss now? One important factor has changed: the technologies that will support the metaverse, from high-quality virtual-reality (VR) headsets to digital-asset ownership (via blockchain), are becoming affordable and accessible to the public. The time is ripe to dip your toe into the metaverse.

In this class, you will take a tour of a few different virtual environments that foreshadow the impending metaverse, guided by Dr. Rabindra Ratan, Associate Professor of Media & Information, who has been studying virtual reality, avatars, and online socialization since 2004. Dr. Ratan will discuss the history, psychology, and societal implications of these metaverse technologies and will describe the undergraduate course he teaches about VR, in VR. This class will be broadcast via video, like a traditional online course, but students will also have the option to simultaneously join virtual platforms using their computers, phones, or even VR headsets (if available). Simple instructions of how to connect to these platforms (e.g., via one link in a web browser) will be provided during the class, so students will be able to interact with Dr. Ratan and each other through their avatars in real time.


Recommended Reading: 

Experience on Demand: What Virtual Reality Is, How It Works, and What It Can Do, by Jeremy Bailenson

Step into the Metaverse: How the Immersive Internet Will Unlock a Trillion-Dollar Social Economy, by Mark van Rijmenam (currently available for pre-orders)

Mystakidis, S. (2022). Metaverse. Encyclopedia, 2(1), 486-497. (Online publication) https://www.mdpi.com/2673-8392/2/1/31/htm

The metaverse is money and crypto is king – why you’ll be on a blockchain when you’re virtual-world hopping, by Rabindra Ratan and Dar Meshi. (Online article) https://theconversation.com/the-metaverse-is-money-and-crypto-is-king-why-youll-be-on-a-blockchain-when-youre-virtual-world-hopping-171659

What is the metaverse? 2 media and information experts explain, by Rabindra Ratan and Skylar Lei. (Online article) https://theconversation.com/what-is-the-metaverse-2-media-and-information-experts-explain-165731


Rabindra (“Robby”) Ratan is an Associate Professor and AT&T Scholar at Michigan State University’s (MSU) Department of Media and Information, as well as Director of the Social and Psychological Approaches to Research on Technology-Interaction Effects (SPARTIE) Lab.  A former MSU Lilly Teaching Fellow, he is the recipient of the MSU Teacher-Scholar Award and the MSU AT&T Instructional Technology Award. Dr. Ratan has written for Wired magazine and TheConversation.com and has been featured as a media technology expert on NPR and in the Washington PostRatan received his Ph.D. from USC’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, his M.A. in Communication from Stanford University, and his B.A. in Science, Technology and Society, also from Stanford University.


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