Anne de Marcken, Ruth Hayes, Amy Greene, and Stephanie Zorn, The Evergreen State College
The eBestiary is a collaborative web site that grew out of the work that students and faculty did during spring quarter of 2012 in the interdisciplinary academic program Animal Others in Image and Text at the Evergreen State College.
Each student chose an animal to study over a six-week time period, conducting extensive direct observation as well as research into the animal’s visual, cultural and natural history. In other work, students designed characters based on their animals, animated short sequences, and explored several modes of nonfiction writing that made use of their observations and research. Students compiled their writing, observations, drawings, images and research into spiral bound “Animal Books”, and then selected elements from those to contribute to the site. Students were responsible for transferring information from their “Animal Books” to a digital format, web-optimizing and exporting their animated work, and authoring a section of the group WordPress site about their animal.
The eBestiary was a culminating activity that allowed students to gather, organize, and share their work, creating something much bigger—a rich interdisciplinary resource and record of their shared enterprise.
This project serves as a model for how interdisciplinary programs can create cohesive artifacts that reflect both individual student accomplishment and the collective impact of such work. By making this work public, it makes student learning visible and serves as a valuable teaching, learning, research and assessment tool.