The River Project
A Digital Archive and Resource for Venture Studies, Community-Based Transformational Learning (CBTL), UNF and the Jacksonville Community
The River Project is envisioned to be a digital archive, captured in a substantive web site, of all manner of educational resources that relate to life on the lower St. Johns River. This archive would not be limited to physical, ecological, or aquatic features of the river; it would instead encompass a very wide disciplinary array of educational resources about the northeast Florida region, about our community, a community largely defined by and largely dependent on the St. Johns.
The River Project is envisioned to use the centrality of the St. John's River to create a virtual tour of the river with stops along the way. Virtual docking sites along the river could provide views of and information about our city and region, using the river as a focal point while emphasizing its centrality in the growth of our city and region.
If Community-Based Transformational Learning is to become central to the UNF experience, we believe that resources must be in place to introduce our students to the Jacksonville community. We must also seek partnerships that will draw the community closer to the university. We believe that creating a well-designed virtual archive of relevant papers, films, pictures, oral histories, linkages to other sources of information about key features of the community will be useful for both the university and the community. In involving community members in the establishment of the archive and in the work of our students using the archive, we hope to engage both our students and community members around the archive.
Relationship of the River Project to Venture Studies:
Freshman students enrolling in a First Year Experience would be able to use readings and assignments based on the archived information contained within the River Project. Similarly, writing assignments within other introductory classes, e.g. English, Sociology, Biology, etc., might use information archived within the River Project as sources for writing assignments, projects, case studies, etc. For example, one writing class might devote its attention to the seven bridges, considering their history, construction, relevance to community life, etc.
In the first course of the proposed two course sequence related to the Venture Studies Threshold Project, speakers from the community might provide executive summaries about the status of various challenges faced by our community. These might include poverty, crime, the arts in an urban community, impacts of history on the challenges of today, medical issues, educational disparities, environmental concerns, etc. Each of these talks and other such resources could be added to the River Project to continuously build this resource for our students and community. The River Project would also provide a resource as students begin learn about our community.
As students progress to the second course of the Threshold Project where they are working in teams to study and develop strategies to address individual community challenges, the River Project would again become a resource, but it would also be a place for student work to be archived for the community and for future student groups.
Relationship between the River Project and other UNF initiatives:
- Community-Based Transformational Learning: Students and classes working within the CBTL initiative could use the River Project as a resource to help orient students as they begin to work within the Jacksonville community. Their experiences in the community might also be archived within the River Project.
An Experiment in Democracy: As the contributions to the River Project develop and grow, a group of students can determine democratically what information is archived, how the authenticity and accuracy of that information is managed, and how and when revisions are made to the archive.