The Beowulf Mead Hall Project

Continuing the work of The Grinnell Beowulf, a team of students will virtually reconstruct an Anglo-Saxon meadhall and village as 3D model and immersive environment. The team will base its model on archaeological excavations of Viking meadhalls and villages in Northern Europe as well as accounts from historical and poetic records from the early Middle Ages. The project will help modern readers of Anglo-Saxon poetry, especially Beowulf, to better understanding the civic and personal spaces that helped shape Anglo-Saxon social structures.

Read more about the Beowulf Mead Hall Project.

Class Blogs

A variety of Grinnell courses use WordPress sites to give students the opportunity to generate digital content as part of their learning experience, like Carolyn Herbst Lewis (History) does in her Health and Medicine in American History course.

Developing Cultural and Linguistic Competencies through Virtual Reality

To leverage immersive VR experiences for language learning and cultural awareness, we intend to create three open-source VR games with supporting instructional materials. These games will teach sustainability, conservation, and environmental protection within the linguistic and sociocultural contexts of France, Germany, and Spain. The project has five objectives: (1) build an interdisciplinary and inter-institutional community of experts who use VR for teaching within the humanities; (2) train students in VR game design within the humanities; (3) create immersive VR environments intended for language learning in French, German and Spanish; (4) design instructional approaches using VR environments for language learning and culture acquisition in order to to increase student motivation, intercultural competence, and preparation for study abroad, and (5) distribute open source code that can be used in creating VR experiences for teaching other languages and cultures.

Learn more about the project.

Diseñando Imperio (Designing Empire)

Mirzam Pérez (Spanish) worked with students in her “Diseñando un Imperio: Plazas, poder y planeamiento urbano en la España Habsburga y sus colonias” course explored course content through a variety of digital approaches, and built a collaborative Omeka exhibit for their final project.

Learn more about Diseñando Imperio.

Digital Bridges to Dance

Celeste Miller (Theatre and Dance) collaborates with DLAC to curate online content and build digital scholarship and curriculum materials that explore the intersections of technology, embodiment, and interactivity through the Digital Bridges to Dance project.

Learn more about Digital Bridges to Dance.

Digital History at Grinnell College

Sarah Purcell (History) works with members of DLAC to build tutorials, assignments, and other curriculum materials for her digital historical methods course.

Learn more about Digital History.

The Grinnell Beowulf Website

Students working with Tim Arner (English) developed a companion website for The Grinnell Beowulf edition, filled with resources for studying Beowulf and Old English literature.

Learn more about The Grinnell Beowulf Website.

Digital Storytelling & Course-Embedded Travel

Students enrolled in course-embedded travel experiences sponsored by the Institute for Global Engagement are using DLAC equipment and resources to develop digital storytelling projects from their study abroad experiences.

Lighting the Page

Erik Simpson (English) worked with DLAC resources to build “The Unfree World: The Washington, D.C. of Edward P. Jones’s Lost in the City,” a collaborative final digital project in his digital literary methods course.

Learn more about Lighting the Page.

Mapping Islamophobia

Developed by Caleb Elfenbein (History, Religious Studies) and Chloe Briney ’17 in consultation with DLAC, Mapping Islamophobia is an award-winning interactive visual representation of Islamophobic incidents in the U.S.. 

Learn more about Mapping Islamophobia.

Mapping the Spectacle of Grief

This website (under development) builds on Sarah Purcell‘s research (History) to examine Civil War memory by mapping large public funerals for prominent politicians, military leaders, and social activists from 1852-1898.

Learn more about Mapping the Spectacle of Grief.

The Mathematical Museum Project

The Mathematical Museum is envisioned to be a virtual reality learning environment, with individual rooms each dedicated to illustrating a mathematical idea for which a virtual environment would be particularly well-suited. For example, a room might be dedicated to 4-dimensional polytopes, like the hypercube or the 4-dimensional analogue of a tetrahedron (a pentatope).

Learn more about the Mathematical Museum Project.

Meaning in Movement Project

Damian Kelty-Stephen’s Psychology lab has been studying full-body motion capture in visually-guided actions (e.g., aimed tossing to a target), and his lab’s new project with GCIEL is going to begin integrating the full-body motion capture with the digitized virtual environment to capture not just how the body moves but a digital trace of how the body extends into the space of a task environment.

Read more about the Meaning in Movement Project.

The Native History Project

Native History Project site homepageThe Native History Project’s goal is to help teachers disrupt the distorted view that Native peoples are peripheral to the “American story,” through the collaborative development of units and curricular resources for educators focusing on Native histories. The idea for the website grew out of teacher education work that project lead Deborah Michaels (Education) did with social studies teachers in Iowa, in particular with Leah Slick-Driscoll, a Native American teacher at the Meskwaki Settlement School who has been a key consultant and inspiration for this project.

Learn more about the project.

Racing Iowa

The Racing Iowa Project uses digital tools to “make visible the living and historical resources in the state of Iowa that can serve to inspire new courses and conversations related to race” and use technology to promote social connection and belonging for individuals and communities of color.

Learn more about Racing Iowa.

Sex in American History

Carolyn Herbst Lewis (History) encourages students “to get creative and turn to sources that might not otherwise be standard forms of documentation” by using podcast assignments in her Sex and American History course. Students produce multiple podcasts over the course of the semester, culminating in a final collaborative podcast project that reflects a substantive research project.

Learn more about the Sex in American History podcasts.

Through the Eyes of a Pioneer: Living History with Edith Renfrow Smith ’37, Grinnell College’s First Black Alumna

Through the Eyes of a Pioneer Site homepage featuring a photo of Edith Renfrow Smith '37 in her mortarboard at her honorary doctorate ceremony in 2019Born and raised in the town of Grinnell, Edith Renfrow Smith ’37 is the first Black alumna of the College and at 107, its oldest living alumnus. Despite her proud and enduring connection to Grinnell, she has not received the institutional recognition she deserves. As a result, Tamara Beauboeuf-Lafontant (Gender, Women’s and Sexuality Studies) worked with DLAC staff to create a website using Omeka that drawing on the interviews Mrs. Smith has given as well as the family photos she has made available to the Poweshiek History Preservation Project. In words and images organized into thematic sections and chapters, the site aims to invite interest into the pioneering experiences, labors, and wisdom of a remarkable Grinnellian.

Learn more about Edith Renfrow Smith ’37.


Topics in American Music: Jazz and Hip Hop

Mark Laver (Music) uses spatial analysis tools to have students map the geography of a hip hop album in his Topics in American Music courses, where students also produce collaborative podcasts about course-related topics.

Learn more about the digital projects happening in Jazz and Hip-Hop courses.

The Uncle Sam Plantation Project

The Uncle Sam (Constancia) Plantation was a 19th-century sugar plantation located near Convent in St. James Parish, Louisiana. GCIEL project teams develop 3D models based on these floor plans and elevations to create an immersive 3D/VR experience that will virtually recreate the spaces of the plantation complex and tell the forgotten histories of the people who lived there.

Read more about the Uncle Sam Plantation Project.

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