The People and the Bay: Developing Online Educational Resources in Environmental History

Photo: Frank Hilzerman

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In 2008-09, McMaster University students in the upper-year Environment and Environmentalism in Modern North America course taught by Ken Cruikshank were teamed up with a senior multimedia class at Hamilton’s Westdale High School taught by Wendy Melnick. Together, they formed teams of 2-3 students to develop web-based multimedia projects.

This project had two closely related objectives

  1. Creating public online educational resources in environmental history, using our existing 47 minute documentary film in DVD format, The People and the Bay: The Story of Hamilton Harbour as the foundation
  2. Developing a model for collaboration between university and postsecondary school students in the development of online curriculum materials.

Whereas initially the projects were to incorporate The People and The Bay: The Story of Hamilton Harbour, a documentary film that Cruikshank and colleague Nancy Bouchier had created, they ended up covering a wide range of topics, allowing the teams to follow their interests.

Each team was to create a website that included a brief film clip. As it turned out, some of the students were very skilled at working with cameras, and their films dominated their project. The final products be viewed at the Westdale High School multimedia site:

For both university and high school students – and their teachers – this was a learning experience. Melnick called it one of the best, most sustained educational collaborations with which she has been involved.

The McMaster course outline may be found here:

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