About Michael Rabby

Born in Houston, I now live across the river in Portland with my wife and two young children. Along with the rest of the CMDC department and its students, I cheer for the Houston Rockets and Texas Longhorns.

Fort Vancouver Mobile Team Discusses Present, Future

The Fort Vancouver Mobile Project team met earlier today in the overflowing “skybox” office  on WSUV’s campus. Brett Oppegaard led the meeting, and reviewed the projects ongoing and future projects.

The team featured people from Fort Vancouver’s staff , Videographers Forrest Burger and Troy Wayrynen, members from the Ke Kukui Fondation, content createor Brady Berkenmeier, graphic designer Marsha Matta, CMDC professors John Barber and Dene Grigar, History professor Steve Fountain, web developer Joe Oppegaard, and the Director of New and Social Media for the National Park Service John Tobiason, among others.

Having garnered $83,000 thus far in grants, the project has received support from the NEH, the Clark County Historical Promotion Grant, Washington State University Vancouver, and the Creative Media and Digital Culture programs. Forthcoming blogs will detail some more of what the project has in store for the coming year!

(Special thanks to Kerri Lingo for her copious notes from the proceedings!!!)

Director of New and Social Media for the National Park Service to visit

The Creative Media and Digital Culture (CMDC) program at WSUV will host a visit with John Tobiason, the Director of New and Social Media for the National Park Service, from December 11-14.

While visiting Vancouver, he plans on trying out the Fort Vancouver Mobile App (FVM) at the site, and as well as exploring future collaborations with FVM leaders Brett Oppegaard and Dene Grigar and the rest of the team. We are excited to have him here, and will post more details as they become available.


First, for those of you in the Vancouver, WA-Portland, OR, surrounding areas, Fort Vancouver offers a Christmas at the Fort event on Saturday, December 10.

Now on to the links….




A few links from around the Web on the latest in mobile storytelling and mobile application innovations and uses:

Finally, for those who haven’t seen it, Brett Oppegaard runs a Mobile Storytelling website with plenty of further resources and links on the subject.

Fort Vancouver Mobile Project Gets Special Designation

The Fort Vancouver Mobile Project recently received one of two national “Call to Action” designations. from the Fort Vancouver National Historic Sites (FVHS). This indicates the importance that the FVHS feels about its mobile accompaniment.

The project was described in part as follows:

“A partnership between FOVA and the Creative Media and Digital Culture (CMDC) Department at Washington State University Vancouver, is utilizing the talents of student and professor digital artists and storytellers to create a free smartphone app that helps connect visitors to the significance of this national park. Recognized as a nationally significant program through the recent awarding of a NEH Digital Start-up Grant, it is in its second year of 1) utilizing the talents of students and professors in digital humanities and 2) engaging the digital humanities and arts community to connect the public to park stories in new, creative new ways.”


Fort Vancouver Project featured in WSUV class

For interested students at WSUV, the Digital Storytelling class in the Spring 2012 will feature the Fort Vancouver Mobile project. Co-taught by CMDC program director Dene Grigar and the Chief Ranger of the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, Greg Shine, the class is an excellent entry point for students beginning to explore digital media either through the DTC program or on their own. It provides excellent preparation for creative non-fiction writing combined with videography, and will widen students’ set of tools for storytelling in multiple platforms.

The class is open to all WSUV students, and no previous experience is necessary. However, a strong desire to explore and work in digital environments is encouraged. The class will meet both on the WSUV campus as well as at the Fort Vancouver historical site, on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1:25-2:40.

History Department professor Sue Peabody’s class the same semester on Tuesday evenings,  Hist 400.01: History in Media: French Colonial History through Film, Fiction and New Media, serves as a fine companion course for students interested in a deeper immersion. In addition to working as a Core 2 class, students can use their visits to Fort Vancouver and their work with the mobile project in concert with HIST 400.01. This is a one-time-only class, so take advantage of it!

Fort Vancouver Mobile Project Featured at IDMAa

The ninth annual International Digital Media and Arts Association Conference (IDMAa), held in Savannah, Georgia, last week, included a talk by Brett Oppergaard, “Net Locality: Exploring New Ways of Storytelling and Learning with Mobile Devices at a National Historic Site.”

In his talk, Oppergaard described the advantages of using mobile technology to enrich the experience of visiting a National Park through his experience working on the Fort Vancouver Mobile Project. For example, the layers that an app can reveal help illustrate the layers of time and information in a given space. In testing the app, he found that people who used the app lingered at the site than longer than those with a brochure or with nothing. They also demonstrated more learning. It provided some meaningful validation for merits of the Fort Vancouver Mobile Project.

He finished by advising others designing apps to stay flexible, and don’t get hung up on the time something has taken. Sometimes, you have to scrap your work to come up with a better product in the long run.