The Social Dimension: Interactive Exhibits for the Floor and Web at UVIC

UVIC The Social Dimension : Exhibits for the Web and Museum FloorAt the end of March,  I will be teaching a blended (online and in person) course for the Cultural Resource Management program at the University of Victoria (UVIC) in British Columbia. The course is entitled The Social Dimension: Interactive Exhibits for the Floor and Web. A blogged about this a few months ago, now I’m busily preparing for this course.

Here’s a brief course description….

Computer-Based Interactive exhibits are now commonplace in museums, and many of these same institutions have developed online exhibits as well.  While the technical requirements and design parameters of computer-based floor exhibits and online exhibits are quite different, the most common ingredient for success is the social dimension. Exhibits that encourage visitor interaction with each other, along with museum objects and content, are likely to have a stronger and more lasting impact with the visiting public.

The rise of the social Web characterized by sites like; MySpace, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, Twitter, and others have brought into focus the power of social interaction. Some museums have already entered this realm, finding new audiences and creating new visitor experiences online. While this development has obvious, and direct applications for online exhibits, it can also inform the creation of computer-based interactives for the museum floor.

For decades, museum professionals have understood that interesting and provocative exhibitions and exhibits can encourage dialogue and deepen the visitor experience. However, most of the computer-based exhibits that have been developed are information-heavy “kiosks” with limited interactivity, providing only solitary experiences for visitors. By taking the most effective practices in exhibit design and coupling those with the lessons that social media provide, we can move away from lonely point-and-click exhibits to create truly interactive exhibits.

In addition, emerging technological advances such as multitouch, multiuser hardware and software provide museums with a unique opportunity to create a new generation of interactive computer-based exhibits.  Gestural interfaces and direct visitor engagement allows for exhibits that are more intuitive and compelling, encouraging social interaction.

You can learn more and sign up for the blended course on the University of Victoria’s Cultural Resource Management Website: The Social Dimension: Interactive Exhibits for the Floor and Web.

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