UH and American Samoa Launch HoloCampus 3D Learning Platform
By University of Hawai’i News
August 20, 2019
American Samoa Community College (ASCC) has switched on a ground-breaking digital platform that will stream 3D holograms of University of Hawai?i faculty members to deliver classes and engage with ASCC students in real-time. Students and officials at the HoloCampus launch on August 20 received a lecture by UH M?noa Water Resources Research Center researcher Chris Shuler on the subject of “sustainability and resilience,” a theme with special significance for the people of American Samoa and Pacific Islands nations as they face challenges such as increasing plastic waste and more dramatic weather systems brought about by climate change.
Running on Hawaiki transpacific submarine cable, which directly connects American Samoa and Hawai?i using technology from Canadian tech firm ARHT Media, the HoloCampus solution is the first of its kind in the Pacific, and is set to redefine how schools and universities connect and collaborate in the region.
“HoloCampus enables a remarkable new approach to distance learning,” said UH President David Lassner. “We expect that our work with ASCC will spark new ideas and approaches for academic collaborations across the Pacific and beyond.”
ASCC and UH are working together to create specific course programs running on HoloCampus, which could lead to students in American Samoa earning credits and grades toward UH degrees, with UH academics and students benefiting from greater access to ASCC and its teachers, learning and resources.
“It’s definitely super cool to go to American Samoa as a hologram. This setup is kind of novel. Doing distance learning on larger screens or on Skype is pretty cool and I think this new internet connectivity is really going to make that a possibility,” said Shuler who presented his recent research done in American Samoa.
He added, “The main goal of our American Samoa research program is to improve peoples lives in the territory. Working in such a remote location necessitates some creativity, so some things that make our program distinctive are: 1) a huge focus on building and maintaining relationships with key stakeholders and 2) continuing experimentation with recent advancements in cyber-infrastructure, social networking, and open-source cloud-computing tools to make our work accessible to those who need it, despite the big distances between islands.”