This semester I am joining the folks over at Smithsonian Enterprises to work on building out their platform called EdX from February through June. The overall mission and purpose of the Smithsonian as a whole is “The increase and diffusion of knowledge.” The unit I will be interning for also has that overall mission as well as a unique mission statement of their own, “To engage in successful and profitable revenue generating business activities that support and extend the Smithsonian’s mission, values, and reputation.”
My role as an intern at Smithsonian Enterprises or SE will be to help build out new courses on their digital learning platform called EdX. This platform can be used by teachers and museum professionals as a form of professional development with no cost. SE offers to build and run courses for other units in the Smithsonian as what they call an ‘internal service’. This way different units in the Smithsonian network can use this service to put their content in a digital learning space for their use without having to look outside the Smithsonian network. While this specific platform is non-revenue generating, this platform helps the other units advance their missions and the overall mission of the entire Smithsonian. I will be helping to advance the Smithsonian’s overall mission by helping to create and build a digital learning platform that will be used to increase knowledge for museum professionals and teachers.
I have just started the internship, as everything was recently confirmed (as of today actually!) The main goals I have been tasked with this week are researched based. I am to set up my accounts and poke around the EdX website to see what past courses look like and how they function on the public side of the platform. On the private side of the platform, I was granted use of their sandbox version to get a grasp on where buttons are and how the backend of the platform functions. I am excited by the ability to use a sandbox version to get an understanding before any real work is completed, this is also a great way for me to go back and use as practice in the future. This internship project sounds very interesting and I am truly excited to be able to take content created by different Smithsonian units and help to create course modules through EdX that will help real teachers and museum professionals. I am also excited to be able to sit in on project meetings which will have members from several different Smithsonian units present and hear their ideas.