College graduations are similar all around the world: They’re joyous occasions, with inspiring speeches from special guests, excited students, and lots of happy tears from proud parents… and often from some of the graduates and professors, too.
Of course, this year, graduation ceremonies have been a little different, with many of them going online because of the pandemic.
The Indian Institute of Technology of Bombay held their summer graduation ceremony on August 23. As at many universities across the globe, the entire event was held digitally—however, this event went far beyond students logging onto a simple Zoom video call or Google Meet.
Not wanting to deprive students of their sense of achievement and pride on their special day, all 2,186 graduates were given a personalized avatar for the online event.
Just as in a real-life ceremony, these avatars walked along a digital version of the graduation hall to pick up their degree certificate from Director Prof. Subhasis Chaudhuri.
Proud friends and family were able to join the excited graduates by watching the event being telecasted on two Indian channels, as well as on YouTube and Facebook Live.
Just as in a typical graduation, after the formal event, the avatars of students could bump into and meet their friends and faculty and socialize. They could virtually roam campus one last time, and check in nostalgically on their former departments and hostels.
They could also say hello to the co-recipient of the 2016 Nobel Prize in Physics, Professor Duncan Haldane, whose avatar was handing out medals as Chief Guest during the ceremony.
Of course, providing a virtual reality experience of this scale required a lot of innovation and effort from the staff. So why did IITB go to all this effort on behalf of their students graduating with master’s degrees and PhDs in computer science, engineering, and more?
In a statement, the university said, ”Hopefully this will enthuse our graduates as well as other engineers in the country to think big and think innovatively.”
We’re wishing these new graduates all the best in their next steps. And we’re very excited to see the big, innovate things everyone at IITB gets up to next.