Using Omeka in the classroom can allow your students to create work for a public audience and can provide avenues for discussions about constructing knowledge, from researching objects and creating original documentary materials to recording metadata and crafting online exhibits.
Omeka has a range of settings for access and privacy, which make it flexible in developing assignments.
If you are interested in teaching with Omeka, please contact our Omeka Team to set up an initial consultation at least one month prior to the semester when you would like to teach the course. We can discuss whether Omeka is the right fit for your class, set up a course site, offer Omeka workshops to you and your class to introduce you to the site, and provide support throughout the semester.
One of the key features of Omeka is metadata -- information about the materials in the collections.
The process of adding metadata is simple: fill in the form with information about the item -- title, description, creator, geographic location, time period, etc. You can add as little or much detail as is helpful. There are ways to add further format specific metadata and even create your own categories.
This may seem like an odd activity to do as a scholar or student; however, many of the catagories of information Omeka allows users to supply are at the heart of debates within fields and subjects. Things like time periods are often central to understanding what a text or object is. Deciding what terms to use for a subject are not value-free judgements. Having students engage in these decision-making processes allows them to better understand key elements of the field and the ways that categories -- in books, in library classifications, and in discourse -- shape the information we find and the questions we ask, in short, how we make knowledge.
Geoffrey C. Bowker & Susan Leigh Star, Sorting Things Out: Classification and Its Consequences (Cambridge: The MIT Press, 1999).
Dublin Core Metadata Initiative, http://dublincore.org/