The Saharan World at a Glance (SWAG) is a mobile-first digital text book. The site was designed specifically with incoming undergraduate students in mind. The site’s content is framed around the Saharan World: the North African coast, the Sahara, and the Sahel.
The site is composed of micro essays and images that introduce students to the Saharan World as a region, and key concepts for the study of this region. SWAG was inspired by the author’s experiences as a teaching assistant at Michigan State University. My project’s goal is to make complicated material understood and accessible.
The project’s model was Overcoming Apartheid, a web-based teaching tool which uses a variety of media to introduce students to the history of Apartheid in South Africa. Every aspect of the site was designed with the incoming freshman student in mind. The micro-essays are written in a casual-lecture style. They are carefully edited so that each section consists of no more than three paragraphs that are easily read on a small screen. The project uses the process of scrolling through the site to encourage critical thinking. The site requires students to scroll past the images as they read. Future units will rely on other forms of media (photography, video and audio files) to break up the micro essays and inspire critical thinking. The site is best used as supplementary material and individual units might prove useful in a variety of classes.