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Tuesday, Oct 22, 2019

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mAppAthens

“The mAppAthens project brings outdoor experiential learning to life in a way that is accessible to everyone, regardless of their affiliation with Ohio University,” Ohio University President M. Duane Nellis said.

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mAppAthens project brings place-based learning to campus and community


The OHIO Museum Complex has developed an outdoor museum exploration tool for both the Athens campus and surrounding community. The mAppAthens project is a web-based integrated, interdisciplinary app that can be leveraged as outdoor museum experiences to help students build connections to the world outside the classroom.

“The mAppAthens project brings outdoor experiential learning to life in a way that is accessible to everyone, regardless of their affiliation with Ohio University,” Ohio University President M. Duane Nellis said. “We are fortunate to have a living learning laboratory all around us, and the Museum Complex connects us to our natural surroundings and other important features of the University in an engaging, exciting and entertaining way and compares favorably to the best that southeast Ohio has to offer.”

Curated by OHIO professor Nancy Stevens, this collaborative project offers online maps that can engage visitors of all ages in active, self-guided educational experiences to explore an array of topics, including art, wellness, history, geology, ecology, and more. Several of the first tours that have been developed are connected to The Ridges because of its appeal as an indoor and outdoor learning laboratory.

“This project is a place-based learning tool, leveraging knowledge and creativity to transform our campus and community into an outdoor museum for immersive, experiential learning,” said Stevens.

Users can access the tours through the mAppAthens web page on their mobile device at www.ohio.edu/mappathens. Inside each tour, you will see photos and a map of your route. While you physically travel from stop to stop, you will read information at each location and follow the directions provided. (An accessible option is to click/tap through the tours without physically travelling to each stop. Each stop contains a photo that pertains to the information.)

These place-based learning routes have been provided by local experts from the University and surrounding community.

“This app brings concepts from the classroom to life, offering opportunities to engage more deeply with natural features while exploring the Athens landscape,” said Alycia Stigall, geology professor and author of the Geology Trek tour. “We’ve had groups from Girl Scouts to geology majors learning by exploring along the trails.”

Nine active tours are available on the mAppAthens web page, with more to be released in the future. Some of the current options include:

  • Geology Trek—Follow one of the popular hiking trails at The Ridges, learning about local geological phenomena along the way.
  • Birder’s Trail—Discover a diversity of bird habitats around Athens, encountering songbirds, swifts and shorebirds.
  • The Ridges History Loop—This tour takes you around the Athens Asylum, including historical images and current-day photos.
  • Kids Nature Hike—Visit one of the many places children explore throughout The Ridges, learning about nature through the lens of a child.

“From poetry to women’s history, ornithology to architecture, land use history to wellness, mAppAthens invites you to go out and explore,” said Stevens.

Ideas for additional tours are welcome; if you have an innovative tour idea, feel free to reach out to mappathens@ohio.edu. Stevens is particularly interested in expanding the platform to include tours across OHIO campuses. Each tour concept must have a series of stops accompanied by a description of what the audience can expect to see at the locations.

The mAppAthens project began as a proposal to the 2017 Academic Innovation Accelerator. Tours have been made possible with support from the Office of Instructional Innovation together with content experts across the campus and community.