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NEOMA Business School opens the first virtual campus in Europe

Published on 27 October 2020 by NEOMA

  • Digital@NeomaBS
  • EdTech
  • Innovative education

NEOMA Business School is now the first school in Europe to open a 100% digital campus, developed in partnership with Laval Virtual. The purpose of the digital campus is to create the interactions and atmosphere of a real campus, guaranteeing the most authentic and gratifying academic experience possible from a remote location.

A new 100% virtual campus closely mirroring a real campus

“Distance learning through Zoom and videoconferences cannot replace the invaluable contributions of in-class experience. This new virtual campus is midway between these two formats and combines the advantages of digital and physical pedagogic approaches by having them work off each other” says Delphine Manceau, dean of NEOMA Business School

DISCOVER THE VIRTUAL CAMPUS

Through the use of a personalised avatar, students can study and progress in this new space as if they were on a real campus. Once connected, they can access a virtual building to take their courses, meet with a work group, or even attend a conference. As well as this, the school’s services ecosystem, which includes the Talent & Career Centre, the Wellness Centre, the library, and the incubators, can also be accessed on the virtual campus.

An environment that preserves collaborative work and discussion
Accessible twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, this new digital campus will also host seminars and meetings. It can also be used as a collaborative workspace to facilitate discussion between members of the NEOMA community – students, professors and employees.

“This new digital campus creates a sense of closeness, encourages natural reflexes in group situations and recreates the spontaneous atmosphere that is lacking from videoconference platforms.

“The avatar reworks the concept of telepresence by avoiding the tiring aspects of videoconferences. You can open a door, raise your hand, sit down, applaud or even play football on the football pitch. There are many different features that are based on daily, physical gestures and movements, which make the experience natural and enjoyable.” says Alain Goudey, director of NEOMA’s Digital Transformation. The new digital campus had initially been set up for international students who were unable to make it to one of NEOMA’s three physical campuses at the start of the academic year and it will soon be expanded for everyone’s use.

This campus stands as an innovation unprecedented in Europe for its scale and importance in the world of educational technologies, which ultimately shows NEOMA’s commitment to innovative pedagogy through the invention of a new learning environment that blends in-class and distance formats.

An innovation in partnership with Laval Virtual
To turn its ambition of offering a 100% digital campus into a reality, NEOMA established a partnership with the Laval Virtual association, an expert in immersive VR/AR technologies based in Mayenne in the Pays de la Loire region. “Our simple and accessible solution, Laval Virtual World, offers numerous possibilities and perfectly matches NEOMA’s needs.” Laurent Chrétien, managing director of Laval Virtual, said. “Laval Virtual World is a avant-gardist immersive environment designed to unite, inspire and enhance the international community of VR/AR (Virtual Reality/Augmented Reality) throughout the year. Simple to use with a streamlined design, the platform works on a computer or with a virtual reality headset and can handle several thousand simultaneous connections. The aim of this interactive virtual world is to turn into a permanent world where all professionals and future talents in the immersive technologies industry are welcome.”This collaboration will also offer students privileged access for events organised by Laval Virtual focused on Virtual Reality/Augmented Reality technologies as well as other immersive technologies. “This way, our students can meet many different players in the tech industry, start-up entrepreneurs as well as research laboratories and members of the Laval Virtual community,” Alain Goudey said. “Along with this tool, NEOMA and Laval Virtual have also created a unique opportunity to blend business culture and technology culture to encourage different combinations of skills sought after by companies. We are going to work closely together to maximise the meeting and discussion opportunities between our two communities.”