Judy Zhou ’19 has been selected for our Hamilton College Instructional Technology Apprenticeship Program (ITAP). The program, founded by members of the New York Six Liberal Arts Consortium (just link out– don’t list schools), provides paraprofessional experiences to students interested in instructional technology. Students are provided a multitude of experiential learning opportunities, including course support, pedagogy workshops, and networking.

Judy’s interest in the use of Virtual Reality (VR) in higher education prompted her to develop a unique project that models the “Walk of Privilege.” This activity, which works to raise awareness of social, economic, and cultural differences among students, has been proven to help participants recognize diversity within their community.

For those who are not familiar with the Walk of Privilege, the process begins with all participants lining up side-by-side in a large space (such a football field or gymnasium) . As a list of instructions is read by a facilitator, the students step forward or backward depending upon the relevance to their particular privilege or lack thereof. Here are examples of the questions that could be asked:

“If you can find Band-Aids at mainstream stores designed to blend in with or match your skin tone, take one step forward,” and “If you come from a single-parent household, take one step back.”

As the questions continue to be asked each student moves back and forth and at the end can see a visual representation of where their peers experience these challenges. The goal of Zhou’s project is to introduce this educational experience via VR on college campuses to promote self-reflection and empathy among students and the general community.

As part of our participation in the Building of the Campus of the Future project, Judy will be working with our new HP zWorkstation and the HTC VIVE to develop her VR environment.