Hands-on learning with UTA Libraries - News Center - Upsmag - Magazine News

Hands-on learning with UTA Libraries – News Center

Friday, Jul 01, 2022 • Devynn Case :

The class assignment was unlike any other. Explore some of the underutilized archival collections in The University of Texas at Arlington Libraries, then design and build a board game with playing pieces based on the materials.

Students in the “Game and Arts” class, taught by Leah McCurdy, senior lecturer of art and art history, pitched their gaming concepts to library staff members and made gaming pieces and playing boards in the library’s FabLab. Evan Alicea Guivas, a visual communications design major, created a game based on a collection of materials from local gardening clubs, calling the experiential learning “super fun.”

“You’re looking at these handwritten letters from the 1950s, at newspaper clippings and at parts of a scrapbook, and someone’s telling you, ‘OK, turn this into a board game,’” he said. “You really have to think outside the box.”

UTA Libraries is partnering with faculty across campus to facilitate experiential learning opportunities in Maverick Country. Experiential learning allows students to engage hands-on with technologies, resources, and materials to gain new skills and knowledge, while also encouraging them to reflect on the learning experience.

“We are committed to providing enriching experiences that allow students to explore many ways of making and collaborating with faculty to bring experiential learning curriculum into the classroom,” said Rebecca Bichel, dean of UTA Libraries.

Bichel honored two faculty members with the inaugural Experiential Learning Faculty Engagement Awards at the Faculty Creative Works event this past spring semester:

  • Billi London-Gray, the 2021-2022 winner, is an associate professor in the Art and Art History Department and was chosen for the award due to her collaboration with the UTA Libraries FabLab. One of her assignments invites her students to use 3D modeling techniques, which can be mastered with help from FabLab staff and equipment, to design art installations.
  • The 2020-2021 honoree was Jaime Cantu, associate professor of industrial, manufacturing and systems engineering. Cantu has been a partner of UTA Libraries since 2016, utilizing everything from 3D printing to the woodshop in his coursework.
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