Immersive Learning

Participate in an Upcoming Immersive Learning Project

Project mentor: Ronald V. Morris, Department of History professor

Community partner: Indiana Department of Natural Resources: Division of State Parks and Reservoirs

Project: This project serves as a model tour in Indiana state parks in honor of the centennial celebration of the establishment of the parks and the bicentennial of statehood. Students created a phone application using GPS software that helped visitors learn about state park history through a walking and driving tour. The visitor uses their smart phone to see their location in the park. When they see an interpretive marker on their phone, they activate it to hear audio content and see historic photos from the state park. 

See what people are saying about the first part of this project: 

Indianapolis Star 

Louisville Courier-Journal 

Timeframe of project: Summer II 2014

Student experience/skill set needed: All students welcome. Students who have an interest in animation, anthropology, art, communication, computer science, English, visual communication (graphic design), geography, history, historic preservation, interpretation, journalism, landscape architecture, natural resources and resource management, telecommunication, and related fields are welcome to apply. 

Credit hours:

For more information: Ronald V. Morris

Project mentors: Mark Groover, Department of Anthropology associate professor; and Ronald V. Morris, Department of History professor

Community partners: Yount’s Mill Bed and Breakfast Inn and Carnegie Library

Project: The Yount’s Mill and Inn immersion study will combine historical archaeology and applied history to explore the Yount’s Woolen Mill in Crawfordsville, Indiana. Yount’s Mill provided wool items to the Union Army during the Civil War and was in operation until the first half of the 20th Century. The project will use archaeology to reconstruct the landscape history and built environment associated with the mill. Applied history methods will be used to better understand the manufacturing history of the mill. 

Timeframe of project: Summer I 2014: historical archaeology field school; Summer II 2014: archaeology lab work and applied history research; fall semester 2014: preparing project results

Student experience/skill set needed: All students welcome, but especially those in anthropology and history. Interest in applied archaeology and applied history beneficial.

Credit hours: 3–12

For more information: Mark Groover and Ronald V. Morris

Project mentor: Sheryl Stump, Department of Mathematics professor

Community partner: Muncie Community Schools

Project: Participants will engage with elementary students and teachers to develop knowledge and skills for fostering children’s learning with special attention to mathematics. Developing Children’s Mathematical Proficiency in Cultural Contexts participants also will work with parents and after-school care providers to develop an understanding of the cultural contexts of children’s lives and encourage the extension and integration of children’s mathematical learning experiences. Collaborative, interdisciplinary learning experiences for participants will include:

  • working with the teachers to analyze data, conduct diagnostic interviews, and provide supplementary mathematics instruction for small groups of children
  • designing and implementing lessons for whole-class instruction
  • analyzing video recordings of interactions with children
  • designing and implementing a Family Math Night to engage parents and children in doing mathematics
  • developing a website with mathematics resources for parents
  • conducting mathematics game sessions in the after-school Creative Child Care Program
  • leading professional learning experiences for teachers.

Timeframe of project: Spring 2015, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8 a.m.–4 p.m. at Mitchell and North View elementary schools

Student experience/skill set needed: early childhood, elementary education, and dual special education/elementary education majors

Credit hours: Participants will earn a total of 9 credit hours in EDEL 350 (3 credits), EDFO 420 (3 credits), and MATH 391 (3 credits). Prerequisites for these courses must be satisfied.

For more information: Sheryl Stump

Project mentor: Paul Gestwicki, Department of Computer Science associate professor

Community partner: The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis

Project: Students will collaborate with our community partner to develop original educational games based on themes of the children’s museum. In the fall semester 2014, we will study serious game design and create physical prototypes. We will choose one of these prototypes to develop into an original video game in spring 2015.

Timeframe of project: Fall 2014–Spring 2015

Credit hours: Fall: 3 credits as an honors colloquium (Honrs390); spring: 6 credits negotiated by major
Student experience/skill set needed: All students are welcome. Spring semester: The ideal production team is composed of programmers, artists, musicians, designers, marketers, and researchers.

For more information: Paul Gestwicki

Project mentors: Adam Kuban, Department of Journalism assistant professor; and Lee Florea, Department of Geological Sciences assistant professor

Community partners: FlatLand Resources and Red-Tail Land Conservancy

Project: In light of societal needs for an increased engagement in STEM and awareness of water resources, we launched a trans-disciplinary, immersive-learning endeavor comprising a nexus of students from a range of backgrounds and interests and engaging these students with community partners. The project, Water Quality Within the Upper Mississinewa River of East-Central Indiana—A Cross-College Collaboration Enhancing the Public Understanding of Science, focuses upon the public understanding of science and comprises a nexus of students from multimedia production and the natural sciences. These students collect a range of water quality data and media products within local waterways and develop products specifically requested by our community partners. 

Through teamwork, students are expected to acquire defendable scientific results, conduct interviews with stakeholders, and generate multimedia products. Students synthesize their information and disseminate their deliverables to a public audience of consultants, regulators, and landowners. Learning outcomes include: synthesizing scientific findings and report results; creating visual representations of scientific results and publicly share them; identifying linkages between their own field in conjunction with another; and articulating the role that non-profits have in helping the public understand water resources.

Timeframe of project: Fall 2014–May 2015

Student experience/skill set needed: We seek upper-division students in the natural sciences and multimedia production with an interest in working in a transdisciplinary classroom. Our expectation is that these students will engage in and be comfortable with projects in the field and in the laboratory.

Credit hours: 3

For more information: Lee Florea 

Project mentor: Tyler Smith, Department of Theatre and Dance assistant professor

Community partners: Anderson Speedway, Winchester Speedway, and Muncie Civic Theatre

Project: The Indianapolis 500 is embedded in the cultural consciousness of every Hoosier, and arguably every American. The “Greatest Spectacle in Racing” still draws more than 200,000 spectators each year, and auto racing is in many ways part of the fabric of the national identity. Especially here in the Midwest—the birthplace of car culture—driving, racing, and winning are part of being an American. Racing is in Indiana’s blood at the local level as well, on small dirt tracks and asphalt ovals and drag strips scattered throughout the region. 

The Greatest Spectacle(s) in Racing project asks questions fundamental to understanding Indiana: why is auto racing in this state’s DNA, and what is its ultimate cultural impact? I will mentor a group of students in a hands-on investigation of these questions, seeking answers from the big-time spectacle of the 500 all the way down to the amateur weekend warriors, those driver-mechanic-owner-dreamers who seek their thrills on little-known tracks every Saturday night during the hot Indiana summers. Who are the men and women whose obsession with going fast on four wheels pervades their daily life? Where do they race? Who cheers them on? 

By interviewing participants and fans as well as watching races, the members of this project will create an archive of real stories, which will serve as the inspiration for a unique piece of theatre.
The resulting play will be a fictional (non-ethnographic) synthesis of the products of the students’ investigations. By shining a spotlight on the oft-overlooked lives of those who race in Indiana, The Greatest Spectacle(s) in Racing will provide a unique community opportunity for two generally disparate audiences—those of the theatre and those of the racetrack—to come together and reach a deeper understanding of what it means to be a Hoosier. 

Timeframe of project: Summer I 2014–Fall 2014

Student experience/skill set needed: Some focus on students with a creative writing background (playwrights, screenwriters, creative writing majors, journalists), but also anyone interested in Indiana culture in any capacity.
Credit hours: 6 (3 Summer I, 3 Fall)

For more information: Tyler Smith 

Project mentor: David W. Concepcion, Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies chairperson

Project: Stance is an international academic journal. Guided by a faculty member and the undergraduate editor(s)-in-chief, returning Stance students teach new participants. New participants in the project Stance: An International Undergraduate Philosophy Journal learn to evaluate the form and content of manuscripts, conduct independent research, write constructive “revise and resubmit” letters, copy edit, develop internal procedures and construct internal working documents, communicate professionally, produce print and web versions of the journal, and perform a variety of administrative functions involving leadership skills. Ball State students then teach external reviewers from other schools how to review manuscripts and write evaluation letters.

Timeframe of project: Spring 2015 with some preparatory work in Fall 2014

Student experience/skill set needed: We seek philosophy and related majors to take the lead on philosophy content evaluation, English or related majors to take the lead in copy editing, and digital media minors or students with relevant layout experience to take the lead in production. We also seek a student to manage our website. Honors students are especially encouraged to apply. 

Credit hours: 3 (in some cases 6)

For more information: David W. Concepcion

Project mentor: John McKillip, Department of Biology associate professor

Community partner: American Society for Microbiology (ASM)

Project: Fine Focus: Development of an Undergraduate Research Journal in microbiology, a proposed immersive learning course utilizes the skill sets of 12–15 undergraduates in five departments across three Colleges to develop a peer-reviewed journal that will publish findings of undergraduate microbiology research internationally.

This journal, entitled Fine Focus, will be the first of its kind, and will be produced in print and electronically. Participating students gain a multitude of experiences through collaborations with professionals from ASM and other professional coalitions. Such experiences will include acquisition of a working knowledge on scientific writing, editing, peer review, graphic design, and advertising, as they relate to dissemination of microbiological research data through an academic journal with international scope.

Students will leave the course having established permanent professional contacts in varied sub-disciplines of microbiology worldwide. Our proposed work is to create the first undergraduate journal specifically in microbiology. In a time when limited research budgets prevent undergraduates from attending national conferences to present their data, a venue such as Fine Focus allows interested students the opportunity to see their research efforts to fruition and learn about the entire research process simultaneously.

Timeframe of project: Fall 2014, ongoing from Fall–Spring 2013–2014. Now accepting manuscript submissions.

Student experience/skill set needed: 12–15 students primarily from departments of biology, marketing/management, and technology

Credit hours: 3

For more information: Email:

Project mentor: Eva Zygmunt, Department of Elementary Education associate professor

Community partners: Roy C. Buley Community Center, Muncie Community Schools, Huffer Memorial Children’s Center, The Whitely Community Council, and Shaffer Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church

Project: Schools Within the Context of Community (SCC) is an 18-credit interdisciplinary experience for early childhood and elementary education teaching majors. The semester provides a novel approach to preparing future teachers that introduces them to the complexity of factors that influence children’s learning. The SCC project emphasizes that knowledge about the communities in which children are growing and learning is an essential ingredient to being a good teacher.

Early childhood and elementary education majors complete a practicum at Longfellow Elementary School or Huffer Memorial Children’s Center. Their classroom is the Roy C. Buley Community Center, where they develop relationships with families and learn from community members the richness of children’s lives outside of school. They participate in and initiate a school-community collaboration geared toward maximizing student success.

Timeframe of project: Fall 2014

Student experience/skill set needed: Students eligible for application to the program include those majoring in elementary education or early childhood education and having successfully completed Decision Point 2, which grants admission into the Teachers College Curriculum.

Credit hours: 15–18

For more information: Eva Zygmunt

Project mentors: Miao Guo, Department of Telecommunications assistant professor; and Paige Waters, Department of Telecommunications instructor

Community partner: Head Start of Delaware County

Project: Students involved in the Promoting Non-Profit Organizations in a Cross-Media Context project will plan and produce a promotion campaign for Head Start of Delaware County that utilizes local television, radio, print, and social media. The campaign has two goals:

  1. Improve fundraising and increase in-kind donations to Head Start of Delaware County from any person or organization
  2. Actively inform all potential eligible families of the availability of services and encourage them to apply.

Timeframe of project: Fall 2014

Student experience/skill set needed: telecommunications, journalism, marketing, public relations, and elementary education students

Credit hours: 3

For more information: Paige Waters

Project mentor: Michael Lee, Department of Telecommunications assistant professor

Community partner: Meals on Wheels of Muncie (MOWM)

Project: MOWM seeks approaches to upgrade its communication with volunteers, beneficiaries, and donors. The Meals on Wheel–Muncie: Driving Forward, Faster project will provide rich information regarding its activities, a system for financial support, a picture gallery, a series of videos useful for broadcast, a webcast, and personal delivery to some donors.

Timeframe of project: Summer–Fall 2014

Student experience/skill set needed: Telecommunications students who know how to produce a good quality video or who have web skills, such as use of Dreamweaver, Photoshop, and Illustrator. (Java script is preferred.)

Credit hours: 3 credit hours

For more information: Michael Lee

Project mentors: Maura Jasper, School of Art’s assistant professor of video art; Elizabeth Richter, School of Music’s professor of harp

Community partners: The City of Union City Indiana, Mayor Bryan Conklin, and the Union City Chamber of Commerce

Project: The Union City Arts Festival immersive learning experience will create an opportunity for Ball State students to work directly with city officials and community leaders in Union City, Indiana, to plan, develop, and implement the first of a proposed annual arts festival. An interdisciplinary team of students will be assembled to work directly with the city as a client in the planning and production of this festival, and in a cohesive compilation of resources that can be used as a template for future festivals. Students will gain professional experience in arts administration and event production including programming, budgeting, marketing, and arts and media installation.

Timeframe of project: Spring and fall semesters 2014

Student experience/skill set needed: Arts administration, fine arts (visual art, media art, theater, music, dance) event production, programming, curating, marketing, visual communications, and media art production

Credit hours: 3

For more information: Maura Jasper

Project mentor: Kirsten Nicholson, Department of Geological Sciences professor

Community partners: The Everest Biogas project, Dr. Dhananjay Regmi of the Himalayan Research Center, and Dr. Ranjan Kumar Dahal of Tribhuvan University (Nepal).

Project: Mt. Everest is highest mountain in the world. It is situated in the Sagarmatha National Park, Nepal, and is part of the greater Himalayan Mountain belt. The region is of huge geologic interest and importance, both tectonically and petrologically.

Each year more than 30,000 people visit the Sagarmatha National Park hoping to catch a glimpse of Mt. Everest. With a resident population of roughly 3,000, very limited power and water supplies, extreme high altitudes, cold temperatures, and very low local incomes, the region suffers terribly from environmental degradation.

The main three problems are human waste, garbage, and deforestation. The Himalayan Sustainability Initiative course focuses on the issue of clean drinking water. The basic structure of the course is a four-week excursion to the remote mountainous regions of Nepal where students will learn about the formation of the Himalayan Mountains and complete a water quality survey in the region. The students will apply their knowledge and skills to designing and implementing the survey, processing the data, then present their results to local community leaders, the Everest Biogas Project leaders, and aid agencies in Kathmandu.

Timeframe of project: Travel dates are May 4–June 3, 2014

Student experience/skill set needed: Participants must have a basic interest in geology (Geology 101 is preferred), love being outdoors, and base level fitness. Students from the sciences as well as journalism and telecommunications are encouraged to apply, however, students from any discipline are invited to participate.

Credit hours: 9 (6 summer credits and 3 fall credits)

For more information: Kirsten Nicholson

Project mentor: Donna Carloss 

Community partner: Huffer Memorial Children’s Center

Project: EDEL 231, Family Relations, will meet at Huffer Memorial Children’s Center for all coursework in order to be immersed in both the school and community during the Family Partnerships in Context project. In partnership with families and administration, the students will design and create a family center which will be used by the families for small group gatherings.

Timeframe of project: Spring 2015 

Student experience/skill set needed: The students will need to have positive communication skills, be active listeners, be open to change and other’s needs, be able to work with state guidelines and rules pertaining to building concerns (such as fire regulations, etc.) and be willing to create, edit, and implement a small space design that is effective as determined by the community partners.

Credit hours: 3

For more information: Donna Carloss-Williams