Museum and Object-Based Learning, Fall 2016 (Instructor)



Objects embody natural processes as well as human activity and can connect people, places, and ideas. This course invites students to begin examining the role of objects in learning and teaching, especially, although not exclusively, in museum contexts. Students will explore how the close examination of physical things can be the starting point for engaging learners in sophisticated and varied inquiry. Through readings, discussions, group work, and object experiences, students will investigate questions such as: What is object-based learning? What frameworks have been used to understand the learning that happens through objects and in museums?  How are object-based learning experiences designed? Students will engage in object-based activities in the classroom and in museums to gain a first-hand understanding of these forms of learning. The main project in the course requires students to work in small groups to design and implement an object-based learning experience for an audience of the group's choosing. This is an introductory survey designed for students with an interest in thinking creatively about teaching and learning using physical objects in general as well as those interested in museum contexts in particular.