In the spring of 2023, Morehouse College will offer a groundbreaking global Black history course in the Metaverse. The unique class will feature a virtual workspace where teachers and students can gather for lectures and coursework, NBC News reported.
Through their cutting-edge virtual reality headsets, students will get to see realistic images of the treacherous journey that African slaves had to endure on slave ships. They will also see “an enslaved person standing on the edge of the vessel, facing the harrowing choice between life in bondage or freedom in death,” the outlet noted.
“It definitely evokes emotions of sorrow,” Morehouse sophomore Jerad Evan Young told NBC News of the forthcoming course. The 41-year-old Black student, who is majoring in cinema and television, had the opportunity to virtually tour the slave ship and the Underground Railroad.
“There’s a sense of pride because not everybody made it through the slave trade. You know, you had to really be a strong individual,” he added. “So, that lets me know that my ancestors were strong enough to last that grueling journey across the sea.”
The course will be led by Morehouse professor Ovell Hamilton
According to the report, the university’s one of a kind course will be led by Ovell Hamilton, a professor at Morehouse College in Atlanta. Last spring, Hamilton was one of 11 professors who utilized VR technology in the classroom. Now, the buzzing professor will incorporate the power of VictoryXR in his forthcoming Black history course, titled “History of the African Diaspora Since 1800.”
Since 2016, the VictoryXR has been offering immersive experiences in classrooms and campuses using their futuristic technology. According to the company’s website, VictoryXR “allows for students to interact in a synchronous yet virtual environment.” Hamilton’s exciting class will use the VR set to explore Black history while fostering a sense of community. The class will begin with the Haitian Revolution and will lead up to the civil rights movement.
The course will explore several other topics
Other topics that will be explored include the history of the La Amistad slave ship, the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, and the legacy of Black Civil War soldiers. Students will be able to immerse themselves in a virtual battlefield to experience how the fearless soldiers once fought.
“That is an experience that they would not have if they were sitting in a classroom, if they were sitting in a lecture,” Hamilton said. “When you go there and see the bottom of a slave ship, see the slaves packed in together … you will have a new appreciation and you have a greater knowledge of how the events took place.”
According to Muhsinah Morris, an assistant professor in chemistry at Morehouse and the director of the Virtual Reality Project, the exciting initiative was introduced in the fall of 2020 to help soften the number of student withdrawals due to remote learning. In order to keep students engaged, Morehouse partnered with VictoryXR to bring the “metaversity” experience on campus.
“In the traditional classroom setting … we can’t all just be transported to the Great Wall of China or back in time or into some futuristic event,” Morris added. “You can do that in virtual reality.”
In addition to Black history, Morehouse College offers several other courses in the metaverse. Topics range from journalism and English to biology and sociology. So far, 500 students have taken the unique courses. Over 170 students are enrolled for the current fall semester.
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