BECKLEY, WV (WVNS)–WVU Tech won a prestigious grant from Meta and Bodyswaps that is only awarded to 100 colleges worldwide.

The grant awarded the university two virtual reality headsets for students to try out. The goal of the headsets is to help students build their soft skills in communication. 

The virtual modules will share a realistic scenario like having a hard conversation or practicing for a job interview, and then it will give students answers to choose from.

The software will then play back their conversations, offer feedback and grade them on their performance. 

Scott Robertson, the Assistant Dean of Students, believes the grant will help students sharpen their everyday social skills, especially following COVID lockdowns.

“Practicing in a virtual world where they can build this skill set and then turn around and use it in the real world is very beneficial,” said Robertson. “Getting your first job, negotiating a salary, uncomfortable conversations– we all deal with those in everyday life.”

Sophomore Kaleb Cole was one of the first students to try out the new technology.

“That’s the first ever time that I’ve used the VR equipment, and it’s very immersive,” said Cole. “I did not expect it to be that real. It was very fun to try it.”

Robertson said students feel safer practicing in a virtual world, and that it will teach them skills they can take with them after they graduate.