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MURI Program: Re-telling Black History using VR Experiences and Puzzle-Based Learning

DUE is home to IEL and the CRL which is administering the Multidisciplinary Undergraduate Research Institute (MURI) both in the academic year and the summer, which creates and supports multidisciplinary research teams consisting of undergraduate and graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, senior staff and faculty. The primary purpose of these teams is to provide undergraduates a unique opportunity to gain research skills by working with mentors on real world problems.

Overview of department:
The Africana Studies Program has been to graduate well-prepared, confident students, to develop their minds and characters so that they might assume the highest responsibilities of local, national, and global leadership. The program encourages students of all races and ethnicities to think critically about the function of race within individuals, institutions, and societies to amplify awareness and action toward social justice and community service.

Project summary:
This project aims to educate high school and college students on Black history, specifically the 17th century, through the advanced technologies of escape rooms/games.

Specific tasks that the MURI student will complete: 

  • One student will be responsible for assisting project mentors with further development of puzzle-based learning curriculum and develop a reflection component for participants for the project.
  • Two students will aid in the creation of the virtual escape room/games and our use of technology
  • Two students will help in writing the script/storyline and puzzles for the virtual space/games.

Specific qualifications (knowledge, skills, class standing, etc) we desire the MURI student to have:

  1. Must be an undergraduate student
  2. Have a willingness to learn
  3. Team player but able to work independently
  4. Efficient Communication Skills
  5. To be Open-minded
  6. Strong problem solving/troubleshooting skills
  7. Have a positive hard working attitude

Learning objectives:
By the end of this position assignment, the student will meet the following learning objectives

  1. Enable participants to gain the ability to communicate to others the significance of 1619 and to add in substantive ways to discussions about race and the Black experience in America
  2. Enable participants to better understand and recall significant events around 1619 and the African slave experience in America
  3. Enable participants to understand how the 16th century is connected to our present experiences of race and racism in America (i.e., how the events around 1619 are connected to issues of continued segregation of neighborhoods and schools, disenfranchisement in employment, the Black Lives Matter Movement and police brutality, and Black poverty, as well as Black self-efficacy/advocacy and identity formation)