by Rachel Smith, NMC: The New Media Consortium
The Learning Commons at the University of Calgary has worked with the Glenbow museum to create Mavericks: An Incorrigible History of Alberta, an extensive, interactive website that introduces the legendary tales and colorful personalities who shaped and defined Alberta’s history, and are the predecessors of Alberta’s maverick nature.
The Learning Commons was founded in 1997 to develop and promote quality, innovative approaches to teaching and learning in higher education. The organization provides support for the academic community through professional development programs, curriculum and project support services, and multimedia and technology development.
Mavericks: An Incorrigible History of Alberta was created to connect to the grades four to seven social studies curriculum. The ideas for student activities follow a project-based and inquiry-based learning approach and are multidisciplinary, combining social studies with language arts, mathematics, science, art, and health.
The site presents nationally significant stories of the important people and events that have shaped the identity of Alberta. Over 545 primary source images, audio, and video clips of historical materials have been digitized to increase access to Glenbow’s collections and information resources on the history of Alberta. These historical primary source materials are first-hand, original, authentic accounts of the past. They are the actual records or evidence of history and allow students to become actively engaged by positioning people, places, ideas, and events within their historical context. There is also a section on historical maps and an interactive timeline.
The Mavericks online exhibition, part of Alberta Canada’s centennial celebration, was created by the Learning Commons using the Pachyderm 2.0 software tool, a program that allows users to design educational and interactive multimedia presentations. The software links screens together, resizes images to appropriate dimensions, packages up audio and video files, and incorporates Flash technology to create vibrant and informative presentations. The Learning Commons is a member of the Pachyderm 2.0 Project consortium, a collaboration of software developers, university library specialists and museum experts who are developing and testing the program. D’Arcy Norman and Shawn Tse led the Mavericks initiative on behalf of the Learning Commons. King Chung Huang also contributed to the project. Flash programming was provided by Arts ISIT at the University of British Columbia.