A prototype for the Object Project. (Photo credit: Nicole Roché)
The work of Project Support Assistant Nicole Roché was featured in a recent university news article, “Adventurous Learning with Real-World Impact: The St. Lawrence University First-Year Program During COVID-19.”
The article highlights work associated with Roché's campus-wide storytelling program, the “Object Project.” The grant-funded project aims to collect and archive short recordings, images, and other media detailing the significance of objects students have brought with them from home—objects that tell a story about who they are, where they come from, and what they care about.
Students from other FYPs and other classes will contribute to the project by completing a range of assignments related to objects. In Roché’s FYP “We Are Our Stories,” one assignment asks students to present a “time capsule” of objects that encapsulate their experiences in 2020.
“Our experiences always matter, but we are also living in a significant moment in history right now,” Roché states in the article. “The ‘Object Project’ is just one opportunity to help students to recognize that and think about how to record and reflect on their experiences.”
The article also discusses the many technologies Roché, Director of Research and Digital Scholarship Eric Williams-Bergen, and other members of the Digital Scholarship team are exploring to support this project, the work of fellow faculty and students, and remote instruction across campus.
“We are also experimenting with photogrammetry and 3D scanning processes, which collect data points that are used to create 3D models of physical objects, architecture, and locations,” Roché said. “The resulting models have many potential applications—such as creating virtual tours of campus buildings or other locations—but one primary function is to provide enhanced access to physical objects related to various fields of study.”
These technologies also help to increase access to library materials, especially given current social distancing requirements on campus. Recently Williams-Bergen has been using 3D scanning technology to create 3D models of a set of rare artists’ books in Special Collections—books classes ordinarily would be able to view in person. The 3D models created in this process have the added advantage of helping to digitally preserve these books and other vulnerable materials, thereby permanently increasing access.