NDSU students involved with the Fargo History Project are set to introduce three websites they have developed with historical content. They are scheduled to present their work on Monday, Dec. 14, at 7 p.m. via Facebook Live and Zoom.
One website gives users the opportunity to share personal stories about the 2020 pandemic, another looks at the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage and the third is a tool for teachers.
Public history director and associate professor Angela Smith’s Digital History course partnered with associate professor Tracy Barrett’s new history course about plagues for the site on the pandemic. A question-and-answer session will include direction for the public to interact later and add to the students’ research by sharing their stories and photographs from the pandemic.
Smith said the students’ work is saving regional stories about the experiences of the COVID-19 pandemic. “The approach is that 100 years from now, this can provide unique stories from people experiencing the pandemic today,” she said. “Little documentation exists of people’ daily lives in the 1918-19 Spanish flu epidemic.”
Material on the website will also have a permanent place in the NDSU archives.
“That the premier semester of the plague course corresponded with a global pandemic was coincidental but also serendipitous,” Barrett said. “Rarely do historians have the chance to record answers to the very questions they’re asking about other pandemics in other times and places.”
Barrett said the “pedagogical opportunity to merge research and teaching has broadened students’ exposure to history, and allowed them to practice applied critical thinking, in ways I couldn’t have dreamt of before this semester.”
Another website, “Suffrage Stories: Chronicling the fight for women's suffrage in the Red River Valley” highlights women’s suffrage in North Dakota and features suffragette biographies, a suffrage walking tour, documentaries, and teaching resources for K-12.
The third website explores ways for teachers to use Microsoft’s Minecraft game to engage K-12 students to explore history using creativity and digital tools.
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