Africana Interactive Studies Center – Merritt College
The Africana Studies Center was conceived by Dr. Siri Brown, Chair of the Ethnic Studies Department at Merritt College in Oakland, CA. The production team collaborated with Dr. Brown for 24 months to design, produce and present a first of its kind interactive learning experience. The principal platform is the iPad Air. The Center also features three Mac Mini’s in a room designed with a custom African theme. Over 800 students a year will spend a minimum of 8 hours each in the Center over the course of two semesters.
Interactive elements include four opening animations, 105 5-7 minute edited videos, interactive maps, enhanced still photos and graphics, dramatic voice-overs, animations and a timeline slider allowing users to move instantly between all four modules. The project is designed to serve the needs of all students including the visually and hearing impaired and Spanish language speakers.
For accessibility, there are 420 videos: 105 in English, 105 Closed Captioned in English, 105 Spanish Captioned and 105 Audio Described. The Africana Studies program is delivered on a closed server system that allows all of the videos and other content to be delivered to the user instantly without
having to wait for the content to load.
The Center was designed to enable all students to engage with the content that includes non-standard and accessible furniture and graphics including colorful bean-bag chairs with backs, a special table for the Mac Mini’s and custom tables with tethers for the students to use with the iPads. The team designed four interchangeable 48” x 96” wall panels based on the theme of each module.
Watch some of the opening animations: