Web Design & Development

The Public Classroom: Science & Race

The University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology & Anthropology needed a new website to promote and host the Public Classroom, a new collaborative educational program based on the intersection of science and race. We built a responsive site to accommodate the in person and remote attendees of program lectures, and developed related content for increased engagement.

A Flexible Resource

Public Classroom lectures are hosted both on site and online through a live video stream. As people would need access to lecture logistics and accompanying content before, during, and after the events, we built a responsive site that allows them to pull up information on the go and during a lecture as needed. Users are able to find a lecture based on their area of interest and to identify speakers whose areas of expertise they want to learn more about. Quick, free registration and downloadable materials are available throughout the process.

Adaptable Live Streaming

We built a custom WordPress module to give Museum staff greater control over starting and stopping lecture live streams. This was their first time providing online streaming, so we created the module to make it easy for them to manually adjust and to adapt to what happens live in the lecture. A recording of each lecture remains on the site afterwards, for new audiences or those who would like to revisit it. We also created a flexible administrative experience for staff to add and edit pages with additional videos, audio clips, online resources, worksheets, and readings, so that they can continue to add and update materials over time.

Interpretative and Educational Content

We worked closely with the museum to develop educational content for each lecture, prompting questions, allowing space for reflection, and providing additional resources for further engagement. Links to reading lists, glossaries, and online activities provide more ways to interact with the concepts discussed in the lectures. The Genetics and Race lecture worksheet, for example, includes recommended articles, books, and videos, all divided into sections for Academics, Adults, and Youth.

Ongoing Dialogue

We are proud to partner with the Penn Museum in facilitating conversations around the history of racism in science. This series is the starting point for an ongoing dialogue on sensitive topics in future Public Classroom programs. The website is a way for this conversation and related resources to live on far into the future.