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PIs:  Students in the Creative Media & Digital Culture Program; Dr. Dene Grigar & Vancouver City Councilman Jack Burkman, Advisors;

Funding: $38K from Washington State University; theCougParents Fund; Comcast; Fort Vancouver Regional Library District; Clark College; City of Vancouver; Columbian Newspaper; the Community Foundation for Southwest Washington; Vancouver School District; Evergreen School District; Schwabe, Williamson, & Wyatt; AHA!; BergerABAM; Heathman Lodge; and Adco.

Awards:  Washington State University Vancouver, “2013 Undergraduate Research Award.”

Site: http://hashnextchapter.com

#nextchapter is a media literacy initiative aimed at preparing the Vancouver, WA community for a growing knowledge-based economy. Envisioned as a 3-year pilot project with the potential for long term presence in the city, #nextchapter was devised by the faculty in the Creative Media & Digital Culture (CMDC) program in the summer 2012. The project was formally adopted by Washington State University Vancouver, City of Vancouver, other local stakeholders and received strong support from 17 different sponsors, including the Fort Vancouver Regional Library, the Friends of the Vancouver Community Library, Internet Essentials by Comcast, WSU Foundation CougParent Fund, Clark College, Vancouver Public Schools, Evergreen Public Schools, the Community Foundation of Southwest Washington, Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt, BergerABAM, AHA!, and The Columbian newspaper.

Spencer Watson, the web coder from the CMDC student team, demonstrating how to access #nextchapter’s mobile app on the iPad.


Year One of #nextchapter focused on the theme of “digital ethics” and made the book, Program or Be Programmed by noted internet pioneer Douglas Rushkoff the center of study. To that end, 1000 books were purchased and distributed for free to the public, and Rushkoff was brought Vancouver for a series of free public lectures that offered insights into issues raised in the book. The project also offered a free workshop series that provided instruction in using social media, programming, implementing SEO, utilizing mobile media, and other topics.  Reading forums, both online and face to face, were created to provide readers with the opportunity to talk about the material in the book and issues they face with using and understanding digital media.  All of these events were developed and managed by the students and faculty of the CMDC program.  Students in the program’s Senior Seminar course (DTC 497), led by Grigar, were responsible for producing all of the digital assets for the project, including the website, forums, YouTube videos, and social media content and strategy.  They also handled all of the multimedia design that was also used for print promotional materials.

Participants at one of #nextchapter’s events.

Year Two, now underway, has received the same strong support from sponsors and the community.  The theme is “digital learning,” and the book selected is Cathy Davidson’s Now You See It.  Plans to bring Davidson to Vancouver and WSUV in the spring for public lectures are underway.  In addition to the free public lectures and workshops, a film festival is also planned.  The theme for Year Three is “digital democracy.”

WSUV students at the #nextchapter “launch party” at City Hall. Setareh Alizadeh, on the right, served as the Project Manager for the student development team.