Improving Digital and Multi-Modal Literacies of Museum Professionals-in-Training

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CONFERENCE: Bucknell University Digital Scholarship Conference

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lecture / presentation description
Since Fall 2014, students enrolled in three undergraduate museum studies courses at Rochester Institute of Technology have collaborated on multiple museum studies/public history projects that have been designed to improve digital and multi-modal literacies. In each learning environment, students have participated in experiences extending beyond the classroom that have varied in scope from narrow to broad and from structured to amorphous. In some instances, students have contributed to already-existing endeavors (serving as #volunpeers for the Smithsonian Transcription Center or as user testers for Yellr and Mukurtu 2.0). In other cases, the students teamed up with university and/or community partners, including the National Susan B. Anthony Museum & House and the Seneca Park Zoo, in order to problem-solve and satisfy a particular need. In terms of skills and literacies, students have transcribed and catalogued, engaged in social media and crowdsourcing, developed content for an app, and constructed a website ancillary to an onsite exhibition curated by RIT faculty. Depending upon the project needs and the requisite workflow, students have collaborated in small groups and as a larger team to yield singular solutions. Such collaborative, facilitated engagement opportunities are informed by, and equally inform, transdisciplinary research, engaged scholarship on the part of the students and the faculty, and collaborative methods in the classroom and beyond. Such projects constitute public scholarship through their dissemination beyond the academy and through measurable impact. This presentation will briefly describe six projects before turning to evaluation and assessment.