The Great Experiment: Re-Debating the Electoral College in Virtual Reality


Drawing on a rich institutional history of teaching, scholarship, and innovation, students and faculty of Shenandoah University are recreating the drama of the Constitutional Convention in an experiential learning opportunity for inclusive audiences. The Shenandoah Center for Immersive Learning (SCiL) collaborates with constitutional scholars and teachers to develop a multi-component, immersive experience in the debates at the Constitutional Convention of 1787.

This reconstruction in virtual reality focuses on the debate over how to elect the chief executive, or president. Employing 3D scanning and motion capture technologies, and in collaboration with the National Parks Services and the National Constitution Center, this work resulted with a high fidelity recreation of Independence Hall's assembly room and avatars of the founders. The experience itself immerses participants in the 1787 time and place to acquaint them with principles, procedures, drama, and learning moments of this occasion. This is delivered in five levels of increasingly interactive scenarios that take the participant from a basic understanding of the Constitution into a dynamic, real-time debate engaging the key goals and challenges facing the founders of the United States.

In this panel or presentation, the project principals aim to discuss the approaches used to create such an environment, debut a short demo of it on stage, and open a discussion with audience members about the utility of such a platform for education and pedagogy.


Professor of History , Shenandoah University
Associate Professor of History , James Madison University
Associate Professor of AR/VR , Shenandoah University
EVP & Chief Immersive Officer , AccessVR

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