Public Understanding of Research Program

The OKAPI Public Understanding of Research (PUR) program helps campus scholars translate research data and knowledge into valuable public resources for research, teaching and learning.  These semester-long collaborations bring together campus researchers with educators, designers, technologists and undergraduate research apprentices to develop Web-based solutions for public outreach and open dissemination of research. Each project is sponsored by a research unit, center or department, which provides access to their experts, data and facilities, as well as financial support.  Collaborating with faculty, researchers and other experts, students assume the role of multimedia journalists and exhibit developers, helping introduce research questions, data, and tools to diverse academic and public communities.  OKAPI also works with research staff and partners to enhance capacity for outreach and dissemination, providing tools, training and support. The collaboration culminates in the launch of a web exhibition, featuring multimedia educational resources and publishing tools, such as blogs and wikis, for ongoing dialogue and dissemination of research.

OKAPI PUR Director Noah Wittman is an award-winning multimedia producer and former Director of Interactive Media at the Exploratorium. OKAPI PUR builds upon Noah’s’  experience developing multimedia exhibits at the Exploratorium, as well as recent collaborations with faculty, students and staff at the Multimedia Authoring Center for Teaching in Anthropology (MACTiA) at UC Berkeley.

OKAPI PUR helps campus researchers at several levels:

Developing the Public Outreach Capacity of Research Centers
These semester-long collaborations bring together campus researchers with educators, designers, technologists and a dozen or so undergraduate research apprentices to develop Web-based solutions for public outreach and open dissemination of research. OKAPI works alongside research staff and partners to enhance capacity for outreach and dissemination, providing tools, training and support. The collaboration culminates in the launch of a signature web exhibition, which features multimedia educational resources and a suite of tools (blog, wiki, content database) to support ongoing sharing of research ideas and data.

Sharing Expertise and Fostering Community of Practice

OKAPI PUR will share tips, tools, and templates with colleagues and help foster a community of practice around open dissemination of research and web-based public outreach.

Shaping Campus Policy and Cyberinfrastructure
OKAPI will help guide campus policy and investment in future technology services and cyberinfrastructure through regular leadership and participation in campus-wide planning projects sponsored by the Data Services Department and the Office of the CIO

Connecting Campus Efforts to National and Global Initiatives
OKAPI partners with state and national education leaders, public interest groups, industry and international standards bodies to ensure that campus outreach and education efforts serve the diverse needs of teachers and learners and connect to broader knowledge networks and initiatives.

Examples
Blum Social Networking Platform (Fall ’09)
We are working the the Blum Center for Developing Economies to develop  a web-based platform for student learning, project collaboration, and social networking.

Chang’an 26 BCE (Spring  ’09)
A  multimedia exhibit and research archive  documenting ancient Chang’an, capital of the Western Han dynasty from 206 BCE  until 8 CE

Tracing Tambo Colorado (Spring ’08)
An exhibit containing photographs, illustrations, site plans, and field notes documenting the design and construction of an Inca administrative center

Ars Synthetica (Fall ’08)
A collaboration with the Synthetic Biology Engineering Research Center to create a web-based forum for dialogue around the emerging field of synthetic biology.

Projects developed in partnership with UC Berkeley’s Department of Anthropology and the Berkeley Archaeologists at Catalhoyuk (led by Ruth Tringham) as part of U.S. Deparment of Education Scholar’s Box project:

Remixing Catalhoyuk: Research Archive and Online Exhibition (Fall ’07)
https://okapi.wordpress.com/2007/10/05/remixing-catalhoyuk-launches/ (about project)
http://okapi.berkley.edu/remixing (web exhibit & research archive)

Public Archaeology Program in Second Life (Spring ’08)
https://okapi.wordpress.com/2007/11/06/remixing-catalhoyuk-day/ (about Second Life project)
http://okapi.dreamhosters.com/video/small_island.mov (video introducing Okapi Island)
http://okapi.dreamhosters.com/docs/other/slickr.pdf (Slickr: Mashup of Second Life and Flickr)

Open Archaeology Collection (Fall ’08)
http://okapi.berkeley.edu/openarchaeology

Open Source Technologies
Whenever possible, we use open source software for our projects, including blogs, wikis, and collection systems. We recently developed our own OKAPI template (theme and plug-ins) for Omeka, a web-based platform for museum exhibits and collections.

Sample Project Timeline
Pre-Planning (prior to semester)
•    Conversations with senior research personnel to gauge interest
•    Planning meeting with larger research team to discuss collaboration
•    MoU (project outcomes, roles, dates, resource allocation)

Discovery (1st month of semester)
•    Tours of research facilities
•    Presentations by research staff
•    Informational interviews
•    Access to research databases
•    Supplemental reading, Web research (by non researchers)

Final Planning (2nd month of semester)
•    Selecting of topics/content for web exhibition, blog, wikis

Production (2nd and 3rd month of semester)
•    Selecting, digitizing, and adapting research data to share with public
•    Developing Web exhibition, wiki and blog content

Review & Proofing (4th month of semester)
•    Science Review (pass around final time for review by research team)
•    Editorial Review (editing copy for clarity, consistency, grammar, spelling, etc.)
•    Proofing

Launch & Handoff (4th month of semester)
•    Training and handoff of website, wiki, blog, database to research team
•    Launch of Web resources

Sample Project Team
Project Sponsor: Final decision maker on project design and content
Advisors: Faculty, researchers, etc.
Education Advisors: We will incorporate and build upon existing education and public outreach activities
Project Director: (Noah Wittman) oversees project implementation
Research Liason: Facilitates access to experts and resources
Production Coordinator: (Lizzy Ha) oversees digitization and multimedia production
Research Faculty, Staff, GSRs:   Available for informational interviews, tours of facilities, content expertise, etc.
GSRs (2-4): Co-develop content and training on tools and practices for public outreach
K-12 Teachers (2): Select, adapt research content for K-12 teaching and learning
Undergraduate Research Apprentices (12): Development of educational resources and multimedia web exhibition
Graduate Student Collaborators (0-2): Expertise from graduate students in School of Information, Journalism, Education, New Media.
Digitization Assistants (2): Undergraduate workstudy students to help with digitization, metadata entry
Web Designer: Hired on contract basis
Editor: Hired on contract basis

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