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Imagination at Work: Reaching New Users with Innovative Instruction and Outreach
Northwest Archivists Conference (2014)
  • Erin Passehl-Stoddart, University of Idaho

In a college or university setting, archivists are often charged with developing innovative ways to inspire campus users to think expansively and creatively about primary sources. Individual presentations will address developing a fictional collection that can be mobilized and expanded to fulfill learning objectives across multiple disciplines; adapting an interactive game from NYPL to promote and generate interest in archives during New Student Week; and collaborating with faculty and French majors on a grant-funded project to build and promote collections. Other presentations will extend the conversation to assessment and will consider integrating primary source literacy in first-year library instruction classes and employing the ARCS Model for Motivational Design in composition classes to create a classroom of engaged learners. By highlighting the challenges and rewards of these strategies, panelists aim to provide attendees with practical suggestions and creative ideas that they can adapt and immediately implement at their home institutions.

Hamersly Library features open sessions during New Student Week every fall. After being inspired by an interactive game Jane McGonigal designed for NYPL, University Archives created stations throughout the library featuring archival materials around specific themes. The idea was for new students to use artifacts from WOU’s past to create the story of WOU through blog posts, essays, poems, drawings, paintings, songs, dances, photographs, and video. “Fun” stations were created for students to interact with the school’s mascot, a historical photo booth, and design their own school pennant. We planned to collect student projects and make them available as a bound book in the library and as a digital download in the institutional repository. Unfortunately, a number of things didn’t cooperate with our plans (scheduling, bad weather, and realizing how shy students can be during their first activities in college). This presentation will discuss the design and implementation of the activities, how themes were selected and chosen artifacts, how the event was promoted, and lessons learned.

  • undergraduate,
  • freshmen,
  • new student week,
  • archives,
  • outreach,
  • experimental and collaborative learning,
  • student confidence,
  • introducing new/unlikely users to archives
Publication Date
May 31, 2014
Citation Information
Erin Passehl-Stoddart. "Imagination at Work: Reaching New Users with Innovative Instruction and Outreach" Northwest Archivists Conference (2014)
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