The Innovation Institute saw the potential for innovative models to showcase the research UWF faculty are doing on the Gulf of Mexico. We created two massive open online courses and launched a radio series with WUWF, public radio, called “Gulf Stories Moments”, which is also available by podcast. Both programs combined have reached over 1,000 people since their launch, increasing education and passion for the Gulf of Mexico.
The University of West Florida’s proximity to the Gulf of Mexico, combined with the rich history of Florida’s Gulf Coast, create unique opportunities for UWF scholar researchers. The Innovation Institute was asked to help create innovative ways to showcase their important and impressive work on and in the waters of northwest Florida.
Several highly visible avenues were created to bring notoriety to the work of these scholars. Two video-based MOOCs (massive open online courses) were created, each one featuring five UWF scholars talking about and teaching about their work on a variety of topics including maritime history, marine archeology, hurricanes, invasive species, microplastics, citizen science, logistics, and much more. In concert with the MOOCs, a radio series was created that airs every week on WUWF public radio called “Gulf Stories Moments.” The show is available via podcast by clicking here: https://goo.gl/vo2W8i. We’re also creating immersive, 360 videos featuring the work of our scholars that will put the viewer on historical Dead Man’s Island in northwest Florida, right in the water with Don Tristan de Luna’s wrecks in Pensacola Bay, inside our Sea3D Additive Manufacturing laboratory, plus many locations.
Since the launch of the first MOOC in 2017, nearly 850 students have signed up for Gulf Stories 1 and 2. Meanwhile, thousands of people have heard the Gulf Stories Moments radio series. The 360 video series, UWF Research 360, will have countless ways to immerse audiences in the incredible work of UWF scholars on and in the Gulf of Mexico and other area waterways.