Students to present at premier IT conference

JMU Headlines

by Eric Gorton


Thomas Knupp and Zack Allen said they couldn't pass up the opportunity to work with virtual reality technology when they took a class at JMU X-Labs in fall 2018. 

Now they are getting an unexpected opportunity to travel across country to tell IT professionals about their work on two student-designed-and-built virtual reality tours of the James Madison University campus. 

Knupp and Allen will be the only undergraduate students presenting by themselves Wednesday, Feb. 20, at the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative annual conference. Billed as "the premier gathering of higher education teaching and learning professionals," the three-day gathering will enable professionals to hear about solutions to key issues, engage with innovative technology and service providers, and network with colleagues. 

Knupp and Allen will take a mobile version of the campus tour with them. The mobile version is a scaled version of a tour being used in the JMU Office of Admissions and is being developed for the JMU Center for Global Engagement, which wants to give prospective foreign students a feel for campus and the surrounding area from abroad. 

Knupp and Allen are scheduled to demonstrate and answer questions about their project from 9:30-10:30 a.m. Pacific Time. 

JMU X-Labs Founding Director Nick Swayne said, “Zack and Thomas will be in charge of demonstrating the amazing work our undergraduates are doing in the realm of Virtual Reality—at a conference of higher education teaching and learning professionals. VR is the next new world to explore and our undergraduates have a leadership role in that adventure.” 

With its transdisciplinary courses, JMU X-Labs challenges students to investigate all aspects of a problem, collaborate with industry professionals and peers from different majors, iterate ideas and welcome meaningful failure to solve real problems. Courses are shared across departments and in collaboration with experts in various fields across the country. For more information, contact Swayne at


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Published: Monday, February 18, 2019

Last Updated: Wednesday, November 1, 2023

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