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Brett Oppegaard wins two national awards

Brett Oppegaard, assistant professor at WSU Vancouver, won two national awards for his work as the coordinator for the Fort Vancouver Mobile Project.

The first, announced in Oct., was the 2012 George and Helen Hartzog Awards for Outstanding Volunteer Service sponsored by the National Park Service. The second, announced in mid-March, was the 2013 John Wesley Powell Prize for outstanding achievement in historical displays, sponsored by the Society for History in the Federal Government.

Oppegaard has spent more than 5,000 community service hours producing the mobile app accessible through iPhone, iPad, and Android. The project started with his doctoral dissertation research through Texas Tech University but began to physically form in Fall 2011 when he was hired at WSU Vancouver.

When asked his response to the awards Oppegaard stated, “I feel very appreciative of the recognition of our efforts.”

The development of the Fort Vancouver Mobile app was a collaboration of many groups within the Vancouver area. Greg Shine, the chief ranger at the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, functions as the historian and co-project manager for the project. Dene Grigar, director and associate professor in digital technology and culture, and John Barber, digital technology and culture faculty, have also supported Oppegaard’s efforts since the beginning.

Students at WSU Vancouver and Portland State University also played an integral role in the creation of the application,

“Students have been a driving force in this project since almost the beginning,” stated Oppegaard. “I think this project illustrates how the university engages directly with community, integrates coursework with real-work situations and puts students on the leading edge of innovative projects.”

Students at WSU Vancouver in the creative media and digital culture and communication classes worked to design different components of the Mobile app, including “Kane’s Wanderings”, currently featured in the application. They also found and fixed bugs, tested, and designed and directed the stories.

Of course, the project has given a type of new life to Fort Vancouver as well. Oppegaard stated, “The Fort Vancouver Mobile app has given visitors to the historic site another way to learn about the amazing history of the place. It compliments the other attractions and offers interactive experiences unlike anything else in the area.” This app is the first type of interactive application within the National Park System.

To learn more about the Fort Vancouver Mobile app visit fortvancouvermobilesubrosa.blogspot.com.

Note that in our printed version of this article that ran in Issue 13 on April 8, 2013 we misspelled Dr. Brett Oppegaard’s name. Our sincerest apologies to Dr. Oppegaard.
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