Students in professor Jared Orsi’s Borderlands History course collaborated on a digital history project with the National Park Service, Chamizal National Memorial, and CSU’s Geospatial Centroid.
Chamizal National Memorial commemorates the 1964 resolution of a century-long conflict over a piece of land that started out as Mexican territory in 1848 but found itself north of the Rio Grande after a series of ninteenth-century floods changed the course of the river. Staff at the memorial wanted an interactive experience for digital visitors that commemorated significant events from both sides of the Rio Grande River.
The goal for Orsi’s students was to honor displaced residents and families and celebrate the cultures and creatures of the borderlands. The students chose an Esri Story Map format that allowed them to create an interactive map. Through the map they could trace historical events, compare historical and modern geography, and even explore the wildlife of the region.
Students spent part of the semester learning how to build an Esri story map. Then they used the program to create a map of the region with links that take digital visitors to the Treaty of Hidalgo, Cordova Island, and the environment of El Chamizal National Memorial. Heidi Ogle, a GIS specialist in CSU’s Geographic Resources Division, and Samantha Slenker, a student in International Studies and History who worked as a research assistant, helped Dr. Orsi and the students develop the story map for Chamizal.
Faculty in the History department increasingly use digital tools in the classroom, not just to help students learn, but to help them produce materials that solve real-world problems. History professors like Jared Orsi, Robert Gudmestad, Sarah Payne, and Robert Jordan are working in conjunction with the new INTERFACE: A Digital Hub for the Liberal Arts http://interface.libarts.colostate.edu/ to offer students new opportunities.