Each semester, students and faculty collaborate with community partners on projects that address local challenges. These partnerships involve local neighborhoods, school systems, non-profit agencies, businesses, associations, and initiatives. The following videos provide an in-depth look at how Ball State University students are working with the community to impact local challenges and how they benefit from these immersive learning experiences.
2021 - 2022
Check out the project features from the 2021 - 2022 academic year. 

A Ball State Student looks at grade school children.Summer learning loss is a problem experienced by school children as they forget content between the academic years. In its fourth year, this project aims to assist with that for students in Delaware County by making learning fun. Ball State students taught literacy, science, poetry, outdoor skills, art, and more. 

 

A group looks over a mapOn three different projects, Ball State architecture students worked with community partners to redesign aspects of downtown and adjacent neighborhoods. With Downtown Muncie, the students looked at how the downtown alleyways can be activated and put to better use. Moving south to the Thomas Park/Avondale Neighborhood, they looked at the Hoyt Corridor and how it can be connected to the downtown area. Finally, in conjunction with Habitat for Humanity and the 8Twelve Coalition, neighborhood enhancement projects were completed to beautify the neighborhood. 
Check out the project features from the 2020 - 2021 academic year. Explore the projects in-depth at the 2020-2021 Immersive Learning Virtual Showcase

Two students look at a cameraIn this immersive learning project, students worked with a nonprofit that had been born out of a Virginia Ball Center seminar, Beneficence Family Scholars and then existed independently to do a rebrand to something that would resonate more with its constituents. The organization works with single parents who would like to further their education. They chose the new name, The Family Alliance. Additionally, the student team created video content for the organization.

Visit the organization's website

A person is undergoing a height measurement In this ongoing immersive project, a mixture of students from the College of Health work with a weekly Cardinal Zumba program to do health assessments for those who participate. They conduct height and weight measurements, hip to waist ratios, blood pressure, and more. Healthy foods are prepared for the workout attendees.

Over a shoulder looking at a painting of butterflies This immersive learning project combines science and art, which often go together, to create a series of children's books that showcases wildlife conservation and contains teachable moments. An ongoing project, this iteration looked at monarch butterflies and invasive carp in the midwest. Students plan and conduct every aspect of the books.

Visit the website to learn more about the project.

Computer Screen with children's book on it. In this immersive project, students in two different Spanish classes worked with the Dual Language Immersive Program at West View Elementary, creating a mentoring relationship with students there to work on their Spanish and creating a promotional pamphlet to promote the program. 

Check out the blog post to learn more about the project.

A student blows glassArchitecture and glass students combined on this project to learn from each other about the industrial glass process and create designs for a donor wall at Minnetrista in Muncie. These designs incorporated Ball Company history and inspirations drawn from the city of Muncie. They were also able to learn from various industry professionals through video calls.
A student holds up a food tray in front of an upraised handIn this immersive learning project, students in exercise science worked with Burris Elementary to participate in a national program, Henry Gets Moving. The program encourages healthy eating and being active and moving. The Ball State students met with the Burris students each week to read the Henry Gets Moving storybook, do workbook activities, and to do a series of exercises and physically active games. On the final day, they were joined by Charlie Cardinal.

Student shows off map to residentsUrban Planning students are working with the Industry Neighborhood and the Urban Light Community Development Corporation to create an action plan for the Neighborhood Association. The students walked the neighborhood to gather data of the area and worked with the residents to get their options through a series of meetings. They gathered data in the neighborhood, which included looking at the conditions of streets, sidewalks, street lights, and other infrastructure-related items. They are also identified problems and opportunities through discussions with the neighborhood residents. 

Check out the blog post to learn more about the project.

A student works on a computerIn the fall of 2020, Interior design students continued working on a multi-year collaboration with the Children's TherAplay Foundation in Carmel, Indiana to design sensory furniture for the patients there and observe its use in therapy. Children's TherAplay is a nonprofit hippotherapy clinic. The Ball State students involved in this project are helping redesign the TherAplay facility and creating engaging toys and sensory furniture. Students get to visit the nonprofit to make observations and adjust their designs accordingly. 

Check out the blog post to learn more about the project. 

Student holds up and looks at paperThe Midwestern Stories project is a two-part immersive learning project. This first semester, students are looking at the representation of the midwestern past in literature and creating podcasts looking at living in the midwest. Next semester, students will look at the current representation of the present Midwest and create an exhibit for Minnetrista – an experience that preserves the history and tells a compelling story about the Midwest. 

Check out the blog post to learn more about the project. 

Three students hang up a poster"What is the midwest?" "What defines it?" "Who are the people there?" Building off the fall portion of the project, students continued their exploration of the midwest, working with Minnetrista to create an exhibit that explored those questions. They conducted interviews and looked at popular media such as Stranger Things or Parks and Recreation. They had a successful opening at the end of April. 

Visit the website to learn more about the project.

Student handling vegetablesThe Muncie Food Hub is a nonprofit that works to connect produce from farmers to Muncie Residents in food deserts. One component is the Mobile Farmers Market (MFM) which was developed as a step toward helping Muncie residents connect to fresh and healthy local food products. The MFM purchases produce from area farmers and sells it for affordable prices in low food access areas of town. It’s has been successful but is looking to increase its impact. It is doing this by working closer with the neighborhood associations and proving educational opportunities to the community.

Check out the blog post to learn more about the project.

Student cooks a meal while recording it in cameraIn the project, dietetics and nutrition students teamed up with Second Harvest Food Bank to create recipe demonstrations using foods commonly distributed at tailgates and other food distribution sites across their eight counties. The students first volunteered so as to gain an understanding of the type of foods distributed. Using cellphones, lights, and other filmmaking aides, they created their recipes along with video cooking demonstrations, recipe cards, and other supplemental material such as children activities and games.

Student writes on chalkboardThe Philosophy Outreach Project is a Ball State immersive project that gets Indiana high school students thinking about philosophy through student groups, online resources, and an annual conference. While working with schools across the state of Indiana, the Philosophy Outreach has an ongoing partnership with Muncie High School with weekly club meetings focusing on such topics as medical ethics, epistemology, feminism, and more. Due to COVID-19, they have had to adapt to working virtually. 

Check out the blog post to learn more about the project.

A map is displayed on a projector screen with a head in front of itMany people in Muncie, particularly Ball State students are unaware of what the downtown area of Muncie has to offer in terms of restaurants, bars, art, and entertainment. Downtown Muncie Development and Muncie Map Company partnered with a geography class to create a variety of maps for downtown covering food and beverage, walking paths, history, artworks, and picturesque locations. Many of these can be built upon by future cohorts of students.
A students conducts a survey outside a carWorking with Second Harvest food bank, students in a sociology capstone course looked at the Big Idea program which works with schools in East Central Indiana counties to provide food and other informational needs. Impacted by COVID, this program has become more vital than ever. Students became familiar with the program and Second Harvest and conducted surveys and interviews to determine satisfaction with the program and suggest improvements.

A student in a mask looks at a computerStance is an International Undergraduate Philosophy Journal run by Ball State students currently working on its 14th volume. Students run every facet of the journal. Award-winning, Stance has received the American Philosophical Association/Philosophy Documentation Center Prize for Excellence and Innovation in Philosophy Programs, the American Scholastic Press Association Award for Best University Journal, and the Ball State University Immersive Learning Award.

Visit the Stance website to learn more about the project.

A student works on the computer. A stuffed dinosaur is in the foreground. Helping to dispel a misconception that good design and branding can only happen in big cities, Studio 165+ spends over one hundred sixty-five minutes each week partnering with local organizations to provide branding and visual design. Partners have included Queer Chocolatier, the Yorktown Fire Department, Building Better Neighborhoods, and a series of neighborhoods throughout Muncie, such as Riverside-Normal City or Halteman Village. 

Visit the website to learn more about the project.

Computer Screen with film festival brandingThat One Film Festival is a biennial festival of experimental moving picture art put on by an immersive learning class in the School of Art and the Muncie Arts and Culture Council. Started in 2018, this second iteration was originally scheduled to happen in the spring of 2020 but due to COVID-19, was moved online and took place on September 11 & 12, 2020. The group introduced a chat as videos streamed, letting audience members speak directly with filmmakers and each other from the comfort of their home and by going virtual this year, the event was able to reach a much larger audience.

Check out the blog post to learn more about the project.

Students sit in class on a zoom callWhile most immersive learning projects use students from the upper levels, this particular project encompassed first year students in the beginning composition and rhetoric English classes. The students in three different sections worked with their partners over the course of two semesters to provide rhetorical assistance, suggestions on program improvement, and additional content. The partners consisted of YWCA of Muncie, Muncie Mission, and Beyond I Can. This year served as a pilot and will continue in future academic years.

Beneficence Records is housed in Ball State's Music Media Production Department and is managed by a team of interdisciplinary students focused on promoting the local music scene. As a part of the Cardinal Music Group, this project is a new immersive offering that focuses on Indiana's burgeoning music business and showcases a diverse roster of artists and their work. This semester, students merged the Beneficence Records project and Indiana Public Radio's show, "The Scene," to help support the regional music ecosystem.  Project deliverables included promotion materials for new musicians, curated playlists, music videos, social media, and email marketing campaigns.

Faculty Mentor: Dan Porter, School of Music
Community Partner: Indiana Public Radio

Diversity is essential for the future success of Computer Science (CS). Still, few students experience CS in elementary, middle, and high school. As a result, they are less likely to know what it means to be a computer scientist, or if they have any interest in becoming one. Although Indiana recently adopted new CS standards for K-12, most local schoolteachers have little or no experience teaching these new topics. The focus of this multi-year project was to introduce middle and high school students, particularly underrepresented minorities and females, to CS and Computational Thinking (CT). The project team researched the specific needs of the three schools, accumulated instructional resources, and developed modules that met the new Indiana standards. When not developing materials, the project team spent time in classrooms delivering content and assisting teachers with their students' questions. In addition to increasing the number of schools and age groups involved, this year's class also updated online teaching resources created by last year's team. The school administrators and teachers planned to utilize the versatile materials during the school year, after school, during extended breaks, or over the summer, based on the students' needs. 

Faculty Mentor:  David Largent, Associate Lecturer, Computer Science.
Community Partners: Northside Middle School, Burris Laboratory School, and Muncie Central High School

The High Riding Art, Science and Equestrian Day Camp project offers authentic experiences for students seeking to design and implement a day camp program. The students in this project studied psychological, environmental, and cultural factors that affect children with mild and moderate disabilities. Working collaboratively with several community agencies and nonprofit organizations, the students planned and implemented a two-week program for campers with disabilities. The camp included horseback riding and associated equestrian experiences, arts and crafts, physical exercises, science, music, swimming, and other enrichment activities.

Faculty Mentor: Ruth Jefferson, Department of Special Education
Community Partner: Blackford County Community Foundation

Over the past three semesters, students and industry partners used "design-through-production" methods to prototype and assemble full-scale design solutions for area non-profits. Some of the products developed, fabricated, and constructed included benches and other structures for Minnetrista's campus and farmers' market. The students also redesigned the courtyard area at the MadJax location downtown. These improvements will benefit the entire community as Minnetrista and MadJax continue to play a central role in cultural enhancement for the City of Muncie.  

Faculty Mentor:  Kevin Klinger, Associate Professor, Architecture
Community Partners:  Minnetrista Cultural Center, MadJax, and Midwest Metals, and the Indiana Hardwood and Lumberman’s Association

The Children’s TherAplay Institute offers various treatments for children with special needs, including one-on-one therapy, sensory stations, and hippotherapy. This interior design project is a continuing collaboration between Ball State undergraduate students and the TherAplay Institute located in Carmel, IN. This semester’s work built on a fall 2019 project funded by a Provost Immersive Learning Grant. In the previous iteration, students did surveys and onsite observations, developed floor plans, and created construction documents.  In spring 2020, the students focused on three additional components: designing a new gymnasium, designing and furnishing a new sensory room, and building customized furnishings for use in the therapy clinics and sensory room. In the third phase of this project, scheduled for fall 2020, Dr. Kanakri and her students will study the effects of their design decisions on the children using the space. 

Faculty Mentor:  Shireen Kanakri, Department of Construction Management and Interior Design
Community Partner:  Children’s TherAplay Foundation

 

Churches play a significant role in the lives of Muncie residents, and every church has a story worth preserving. St. Mary Catholic Church located on West Jackson, held its first mass on December 8, 1930. Then, the parish had 100 families. Today, the church campus has grown and the  community is now made up of approximately 700 registered families. Although the parish has kept an extensive collection of historical records, photos, and other memorabilia dating back to the 1930s, many of their stories had gone untold. The goal of this year-long, immersive project was to assist St. Mary Church with a variety of storytelling initiatives. Students conducted interviews, filmed and produced a series of seven short videos covering topics such as the grounds, the stained-glass windows, and church architecture.  The students are also publishing a photo book that incorporates augmented reality so that the photos can tell stories of their own.

Faculty Mentor:  Peggy Fisher, Associate Teaching Professor, Communication Studies
Community Partners: St. Mary Catholic Church

Reconstructed Early Language and Literacy Learning: Addressing school readiness through critically conscious listening centers.

Children aged 0-5 must gain early language and literacy skills tosuccessfully navigate elementary school reading curriculum.However, early childhood teachers are currently underprepared tooffer effective, developmentally appropriate, and culturally relevantinstruction to best fit children’s needs. This project addresses this instructional gap through having Ball State pre-service teacher candidates work with classroom teachers and community members in creating and implementing listening centers that provide culturally relevant stories as well as engaging wordplay and songs.

Faculty Mentor: Emily Hoffman, Department of Early Childhood, Youth, and Family Studies
Community Partner: Huffer Memorial Children Center

In this two-semester project, Ball State students from English, creative writing, journalism, public relations, and other humanities degrees connected with Muncie senior citizens to capture their stories of resistance and resilience. In the fall semester, students read, studied, and analyzed creative narrative nonfiction (memoir), ethnography narratives, and community writing. They then put those writing skills into practice by collaborating with seniors at Westminster Village and the Muncie Senior Center. During the spring semester, the students set out to edit and design a book for those stories to be published through the 409 independent book press in the English department. In addition, they planned to engage local photographers, spoken word artists, and musicians through YART (a local group of artists) to create visuals for a story collection and a spoken-word performance set to live music. Some of that work has been delayed, but, when finished, the publication will be free to participating senior citizens, community partners, as well as local libraries. Performances (dates to be determined) will also be free to the community and hosted at established sites with YART.  The students will run the same performances for seniors at the Muncie Delaware County Senior Center and Westminster Village.

Faculty Mentor: Darolyn “Lyn” Jones
Community Partner: Westminster Village, Muncie Delaware County Senior Center, Moth Danner and YART (Yard Sale for Art).

Stance provides undergraduate students from around the world an opportunity to have their original scholarly work reviewed by or published in a peer-reviewed journal. A transdisciplinary team of Ball State students produces and edits the journal, participating in all aspects of the publishing. Philosophy majors handle manuscript review and content decisions, while English majors do copy editing and transcribing. Marketing and Communications majors assist with social media, and architecture students handle print and digital production for the journal.  Approximately 140 manuscripts are received annually, and each paper goes through a multi-round, anonymous, peer-review process. Authors receive substantial feedback whether the paper is selected for publication or not. The product is available in print or in digital form online.

Visit the Stance website.

Faculty Mentor:  David Concepcion, Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies
Community Partners:  EBSCO, The Philosopher’s Index

Ball State University’s Teachers College is committed to providing pre-service teaching candidates with immersive, real-world experiences within the surrounding community. Partnerships between community establishments, local schools, and higher education facilities promote advanced learning opportunities and professional growth. Summer Learning Fun at Camp Adventure (SLFCA) is a collaboration between Camp Adventure staff, local public and charter schools, K-5 children and their families, as well as Ball State Education candidates. This combined effort focuses on providing an enriching atmosphere for learning for Muncie area children while supporting novice teachers in their professional development.

Faculty Mentor: Stacey Allred, Department of Elementary Education
Community Partner: Muncie Community Schools

A student overlooks a house blueprintTo learning more about immersive projects in the Fall 2018 semester, check out the brochure from the Immersive Learning Showcase. 

To learning more about immersive projects in the Spring 2019 semester, check out the brochure from the Immersive Learning Showcase.