An interactive audiovisual learning series produced by a team of Northwestern University in Qatar (NU-Q) faculty and students has been recognised by the Webby Awards.
The team, led by Professor Spencer Striker, was awarded the Silver Medal for Education, Art, and Culture at the first annual Anthem Awards. The award recognises social good and impactful work that inspires others to take action in communities around the world.
The digital learning series, History Adventures, World of Characters explores various periods in world history, including Empires & Interconnections (1450 – 1750), Revolutions & Industrialisation (1750-1900), and Global Pandemics (antiquity to present), utilising animation, digital storytelling, and character design to bring the pages of history to life.
By combining mobile entertainment technology with narrative design, History Adventures inspires interest-driven learning—and takes students on an immersive journey that reframes history as a series of challenging and meaningful choices people had to make.
“Our project presents an interactive learning approach to a vital subject that has unfortunately become uninteresting for many children around the world, said Striker, associate professor at NU-Q. “We are delighted to have been recognised for the impact our project has on enabling students and teachers to make the most of the opportunities of online learning.”
History Adventures joins other award-winning projects recognized by the Anthem Awards, including The Daily Show with Trevor Noah; the New York Times’ 1619 project; and Al Jazeera’s Still Here. Other notable winners include American film director Adam McKay, American naturalist Jane Goodall, and Japanese tennis player Naomi Osaka.
In developing the interactive learning series, Striker, who teaches courses in digital media design, worked with various NU-Q students, including Samson Mbogo, Rui Xin Oh, Laiba Mubashar, Arya Mainali, Yingyin “Jade” Chen, Mishaal Shirazi, Eden Wagari, and Xingyu Qin. The faculty-student team developed the project through the full digital design life cycle—from ideation, concept art, character design, and screenwriting, to game development, sound design, and user testing, to cross-platform release, community building, and social media promotion.
Pointing to the importance of such faculty-student collaborations, NU-Q dean and CEO Marwan M Kraidy said they produce impactful work through innovative media in the region and across the world. “Projects like History Adventures encourage students to develop practical skills in digital media while at the same time embodying what Northwestern Qatar is all about—a community of scholars and storytellers contributing to the production of knowledge. I congratulate the History Adventures team for this award that recognises their effort in creating impactful work,” Kraidy said.
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