The Laboratory for Educational Innovation

The challenge: design, build, and deploy a fully functioning website to mark the Innovation Lab's public launch—in just five days.

This site was designed and built quickly to announce the formation of a new teaching and learning design/production studio at Brown University and to highlight a few of its initial projects. Using a customized Metalsmith build pipeline and Jade templates to render the site's HTML content saved time in development, allowing more time for crafting layouts influenced by single-page site designs. A reduced color palette, generous spacing, simple typography, and occasional animations focus attention.

Online Modules for Environmental Science Education

An experiment in designing a self-paced, interactive reading assignment to develop basic data literacy and critical reasoning in the study of environmental science.

This single-page application functions as an online micro-lecture, introducing students in an environmental science course at Brown University to the effects modern agricultural systems have on the global environment. Simple interactive graphs and visualizations, created with D3.js, allow students to explore public datasets on their own. The site is generated by a Metalsmith pipeline that reads data and configuration details from an online spreadsheet (which can be edited at any time by the instructor) renders HTML from templates, and compiles a single-page application ready for deployment.

Women Writers in Context

A minimalist reading interface for publishing brief scholarly essays on topics in early modern history and culture.

Intended to complement the Women Writers Online thematic research collection by making short topical essays publicly available, Women Writers in Context combines a highly simplified reading interface with a few features designed to augment the reading experience. Keywords, personal names, and other metadata allow readers to find topically related essays easily. Timelines display historically relevant events in selected essays. And personal names throughout are dynamically linked to prosopographical records and external sources such as Wikipedia and WorldCat.

Built using Backbone.js on the client and an eXist XML database on the server, this single page site provides a clean, distraction-free reading environment while also exposing simplified linked data that enhances the reader's understanding of the topic.

Cultures of Reception

A single-page web application for browsing, searching, and editing historical book reviews and related publications.

To support a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Cultures of Reception editing interface enables a distributed team of researchers to create and edit records for tracking the publication of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century reviews of women's writing. Information density is high in this design, reflecting the specialized nature of the work the interface supports. Backed by a CouchDB database, this Backbone.js application features separate browsing and editing modes, a simple authentication system, basic searching, record tracking/filtering using flags, and an XML record export mechanism for authorized users.