Morehouse College professor Ovell Hamilton will guide students this spring in the first-ever course that teaches Black history entirely through the metaverse, a virtual world where people can interact using avatars.
To experience the brutal reality of enslaved Africans lying chained on top of one another on a slave ship in class, students will put on virtual reality headsets. They will be able to observe an enslaved person on the edge of the vessel, facing the agonizing choice between a life of slavery and freedom in death.
“It definitely evokes emotions of sorrow,” said Morehouse sophomore Jerad Evan Young, 41, a Black media studies major. In Hamilton's world history class, he virtually toured the Underground Railroad and a slave ship. “Also, 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. So, that let me know that my ancestors were strong enough to last that grueling journey across the sea.”
Hamilton was one of 11 professors who taught in the metaverse at Morehouse College last spring. As part of his partnership with the VR tech company VictoryXR, Hamilton is creating his first full course on African-American history in the metaverse. As students jump into the metaverse, they will be able to experience the events surrounding Martin Luther King Jr.'s 1963 "I Have a Dream" speech, as well as the Little Rock Nine's 1957 entrance into an all-white high school in Arkansas. It is also possible for them to tour a slave ship.
Under the Virtual Reality Project, the new course, "History of the African Diaspora Since 1800," combines VR with Black history teaching to foster community building. Based on "Journey for Civil Rights," Hamilton's Black history course he taught separately from the university through VictoryXR in the spring, his new course will start with the Haitian Revolution.
Source: NBC News