Skip to main content

Celebration of Learning: An Exhibition of Students as Producers

Logo for the Celebration of Learning event

On February 4th the Center for Teaching will hold a Celebration of Learning, an exhibition of students as producers. Research projects and design initiatives, podcasts and documentaries, candle-making devices and board games, clothing catalogs and virtual reality simulations… these and more will be on display in Alumni Hall from 2pm to 4pm. We’re inviting faculty, students, and staff to stop by and get a snapshot of what Vanderbilt students have learned, created, designed, and discovered across campus.

All of the projects on display at the event are the result of instructors who engage their students not only as consumers of information, but producers of knowledge. The projects emerged from courses and other learning experiences where were asked to tackle open-ended problems, to operate with a degree of autonomy, or to share their work with wider audiences. All of the projects were nominated by faculty members, and all were completed in calendar year 2018.


  • 2:00pm – 2:10pm – Opening Remarks by CFT Director Derek Bruff
  • 2:10pm – 4:00pm – Poster Session (featuring far more than just posters)
  • 4:00pm – 4:45pm – Student-Faculty Panel

All events will be in Alumni Hall, on the second floor. Stop by between 2:10pm and 4:00pm to see the projects and talk to the students behind them. From 4:00pm to 4:45pm, join us for a student-faculty panel discussion of assignments that engage students as producers. What is it like to mentor students on projects like these? What is it like to do the kind of creative, open-ended work these projects require?

If you’re curious about the amazing work that Vanderbilt students produce in and out of their courses, please join us on the 4th! If you’re interested in attending the Celebration of Learning, you can RSVP here. Questions about the event? Please contact CFT Program Coordinator Tracy Tveit.

2018 Celebration Highlights

At last year’s event, more than 100 faculty, staff and students attended the event in Alumni Hall, which featured three rooms of student work: an exhibition hall with posters and projects, a digital media hall featuring podcasts and more, and a presentation hall with screenings and talks. Most all of the 34 projects on exhibit were created by students as part of coursework here at Vanderbilt. Students shared podcast episodes, short films, webcomics, manufacturing equipment, oil paintings, service learning projects, design thinking projects, laboratory research, a mural, a board game, a computer roleplaying game, a policy brief, a magazine, a photo essay, and much more.

All of these projects were the result of instructors who engaged their students not only as consumers of information, but producers of knowledge. The projects emerged from courses and other learning experiences where students were asked to tackle open-ended problems, to operate with a degree of autonomy, or to share their work with wider audiences. All of the projects were nominated by faculty members, and all were completed in calendar year 2017.

Collage of images of exhibitors talking with participants at posters and laptop computers panel discussion, artwork, and a board game

A student-faculty panel explored the teaching and learning dynamics in courses that lead to projects like the ones shown in the exhibition. Andy Rogers, who designed a video game adaptation of a Japanese myth for a course taught by Bryan Lowe, assistant professor of religious studies, discussed the challenge of creating in a new medium. Kevin Galloway, director of making at the Wond’ry, and students in his “How to Make (Almost) Anything” course shared their human-centered design process for solving problems for local nonprofits. And Carrie Plummer, instructor in nursing, and her student Roxanne Crittenden talked about the opportunities for learning that arise when students take on collaborative projects over multiple semesters.

The event concluded with prizes in three categories as voted on by event attendees:

  • The DO GOOD award for a project most likely to make a positive difference in the world went to “Vana Learning,” software for improving interventions for struggling K-12 students designed by Robert Trone and Joshua Stafford as part of the Wond’ry’s Pre & Post Flight program
  • The BE CREATIVE award for the project that demonstrated the most creativity also went to a Wond’ry project: “Wknot,” an 8 foot-by-8 foot mural made of two miles of yarn by James Cavenaugh and Joshua Forges
  • The TELL A STORY award for the student who best told the story of their project went to Michelle Sidle for her presentation “Perspectives of Students with and without Disabilities on Inclusive Schools in India,” an honors project mentored by Anjali Forber-Pratt, assistant professor of human and organizational development

2019 Project Spotlights

  • Automated Liquid Handler,” a robot that can perform common biological assays at the fraction of the cost of commercial options. This liquid handler was constructed from over 50 custom parts that were 3D printed out of plastic or machined out of aluminum.
  • Beyond Walls and Policies, Crisis at the U.S. Border,” a video told from a student perspective overviews a trip taken by three Vanderbilt affiliates (1 professor and 2 professional students) and how students helped serve as interpreters to Central American Refugee Caravan that had made its way to the US-Mexico Border.
  • Digital Restoration of Block XI of the Parthenon’s West Frieze,” a digital restoration of a section of the Parthenon, reconstructing lost and damaged parts of the frieze.
  • The J. Peterman Company Catalog Reimagined,” a website replacing the luxurious descriptions for clothing items with descriptions of the sweatshops where many of our clothes actually come from in order to raise awareness to the continued existence of sweatshops.
  • Inside Her Head,” a multimedia experience that maps sounds to colors and projects corresponding colored lights onto musicians during a live musical performance to encourage greater understanding and accessibility of classical music.

2018 Project Spotlights

  • exhibitors at celebration of learning talk with participants about thier projectsExisting Quietly, Living Loudly,” a first-person webcomic on identity and culture created by Elizabeth Lee that describes how her identity has been a significant lens through which she interacts and interprets the world around her.
  • Waste Reduction for Turner Construction,” a plan for how to reduce construction and demolition waste by creating a warehouse that buys unused construction materials and resells the materials to other contractors or families, sending less waste to dumpsters.
  • Non-Cents and Sensibility,” a podcast episode produced by Adam Gottlieb and Caroline Kohler exploring the issues that schools encounter in funding and how finances play a larger role in schools than some may think
  • Cass Gilbert’s Woolworth Building,” an online exhibit designed by Buchanan Library Fellow Ellen Dement focused on 150 architectural drawings of the famous building recently acquired by the Vanderbilt Fine Arts Gallery
  • Kandinsky Visualizer,” visualization software created by Adam Merk that analyzes and displays sound through color implementing theories by Wassily Kandinsky that seeks to bring to life Kandinsky’s theories concerning the experience of sound and color
  • Vana Learning,” a software application that adds data analytics (to deliver actionable insights) to the daily report card intervention strategy to deliver an effective academic intervention for struggling K-12 students



Read the myVU article about the event