Go to Learning Design home page Susan Donley Learning Design


Media | Museums | Arts/Community/Curriculum

Electronic Media

Web site design and development

1997-2006. Producing and designing web sites for non-profit organizations, artists, and small businesses, including:

Johnstown Area Historical Association

2003-present. Developing web-based educational materials for three JAHA sites: Johnstown Flood Museum, Johnstown Heritage Discovery Center, and Wagner-Ritter House.

  • Pennsylvania Public Television Alliance/WITF Harrisburg

  • 2000-2003. Designed online curriuculum component for prototype of ExplorePAHistory.com, a web-based database of primary resouces and information behind the Pennsylvania's historical roadside markers. Developing ExplorePAhistory Academy teacher training component involving teachers in writing lessons around the marker stories.

  • Center for American Music, Stephen Foster Memorial, U. of Pittsburgh
  • 1998-2004. Voices Across Time. Developing an interdisciplinary secondary curriculum using music to interpret important themes across nine eras in American history. Finished curriculum will created in Adobe Acrobat to allow text searching, remote printing, and embedded sounds and distributed through the World Wide Web. Funded by the Howard Heinz Endowment and the Grable Foundation.

  • Pennsylvania State System for Higher Education
  • 1998. Designed website and helped develop the structure of the SSHE Center for Distance Education. Designing graphics and layout, organizing content, developing interface.

  • Link-to-Learn, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
  • 1997. Link-to-Learn Technology Testbeds and Infrastructure Investments project web sites. Interactive and graphic design of web sites for the 1996-97 and 1997-98 funding rounds of Governor Ridge's technology in education initiative for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

  • Digital Alchemy
  • 1996. GeoBee CD-ROM. Producer of GeoBee CD-ROM children's game for the National Geographic Society, including producing design documents, managing content material, writing dialog and voiceover scripts, and designing interaction. Management duties included scheduling all aspects of production; overseeing staff of artists, animators, and programmers to ensure compliance with client deadlines; interviewing and hiring freelance writers, artists, and sound designers; internal bug-testing and reporting. Created FileTracker and BugCrusher custom databases to provide self-running file and bug tracking systems during production. Anticipated release: Spring 1997.

  • Family Communications, Inc.
  • 1996. Taking Good Care of You. Worked with the producers of Mister Rogers Neighborhood on writing and instructional design of training workshop manuals to accompany four-part video series on health education for child-care providers. Funded by Blue Cross of Western Pennsylvania.

  • WQED Pittsburgh (employed 1991-1996)
  • 1999-2000. Pittsburgh History Series teachers' guide. Web-based teachers' guides for the 13 programs in the local history series at the middle and high school level. Organized around six cross-curricular themes.

    1999. WQED Pittsburgh and Public Television Outreach Alliance web sites. Producer. WQED serves the metropolitan Pittsburgh area www.wqed.org. PTOA serves all public television stations. www.ptoa.org

    1997. Zoobilee Zoo. Wrote and designed Zoobilee Zoo Parents Guide for children's television series. Presented by WQED Pittsburgh, produced by SFM Entertainment, distributed by APS, sponsored by Hallmark. Zoobilee Zoo Parents Guide as adapted later for the Web.

    1996-97. Upon These Grounds: Exploring the White House Gardens. Wrote treatment for video produced for the White House Historical Association about the ground and gardens of the White House. Wrote and designed the accompanying Upon These Grounds Activities for Learning, a viewing and activity guide for teachers, students, and other life-long learners.

    1993-96. Life by the Numbers. Developed comprehensive education outreach plan for public television's first primetime series about mathematics. Funding received from the National Science Foundation, Alfred Sloan Foundation, U.S. Department of Education, Alcoa Foundation. Began implementation of educational outreach including "On the Trail of Math" special event in cooperation with parks and recreation association, "Best of Life by the Numbers" classroom videotape, interdisciplinary teacher's guide, World Wide Web page, Family Viewing Guide newspaper insert, and poster/study guide insert for teaching magazines. Air date: Spring 1998.

    1994-95. National Teacher Training Institute (NTTI). Project director and instructional designer for WQED's inaugural National Teacher Training Institute for Math, Science, and Technology (a Texaco/WNET program) at Slippery Rock University, 1995. Supervised NTTI manager; trained Master Teachers to create and write 30 television-based, interactive science and math lessons; designed lesson plan compendium.

    1994. Next Step: Mars? Interactive designer, content manager, and educational designer of interactive CD-ROM learning adventure based on WQED's Space Age series, book, and educational materials. (WQED and IVI Publishers, 1994). Managed content preparation team (text, visuals, sound and video). Responsible for creating and maintaining design documents, flowcharts, and asset lists and links. Created nine family learning activities that encourage users not just to interact with the computer, but go outside to try out ideas and discuss them with friends and family.

    1993-94. Mind Your Own Body. Instructional designer for 12 program series, author/editor, illustrator, and designer of 12 student newsletters and teachers manual. WQED and PBS Video, 1993­94. Funded by the National Institutes for Health.

    1993. The Triad Video Workshop for Choral Education. Instructional designer, editor, and designer of print manual; QED Communications and Music Educators National Conference (MENC), 1992. Worked with renowned choral educators Christine Jordanoff and Robert Page and producer Linda Blythe to organize Jordanoff's and Page's successful teacher workshops into self-teaching videos and manual. Funded by the Vira I. Heinz Endowment.

    1991-92. Space Age. Implemented educational outreach plan for the six-hour PBS series. Assisted in development of poster/study guide magazine insert and activity guide for informal education. Promoted series and educational materials to the educational press and at instructional television and science, technology, and social studies education conferences. Educational outreach funded by NASA, the U.S. Department of Energy, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and McDonnell Douglas.

    1991. Wrote script treatment documenting the architectural history of the White House for a video produced for the annual American Institute of Architect's awards ceremony, January 1992.

    1991. Wrote viewer's guide and wrote, designed and illustrated teacher's guide for the video Within these Walls: A Visit to the White House, produced for the White House Historical Association in observance of the 200th anniversary of the laying of the cornerstone of the White House. Viewer's guide written for a general adult audience; teacher's guide assumes a middle school audience, but provides suggestions for adapting materials for younger or older students.

    1989-1991. Served on steering committee to plan The Pennsylvania Story video series for use in the state's schools. Committee chose themes for six video segments (ethnicity, the world of work, making social change, etc.). Designed needs assessment sent to schools throughout the state.

    1989. Wrote Facilitator's Guide for teacher training using Critical Thinking in the Arts video.

    Museums and Sites

  • Johnstown Area Heritage Association
  • 2004. Developing educational materials for the Johnstown Flood Museum, the Johnstown Heritage Discovery Center's America: Through Immigrant Eyes exhibit, and the Wagner House. Pre-visit, during-visit, and after-visit activities will explore three different themes at each site for a middle school audience. Anticipated publication on the JAHA web site: November 2004.

  • Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission
  • 1999. Wrote and designed National National History Day in Pennsylvania: A Guide to Using State and Local Resources. Includes strategies for using primary source materials in the history classroom, ideas for choosing local and Pennsylvania topics, and resource lists for Pennsylvania museums, libraries, and archives. Fall 1999 distribution to Pennsylvania schools. Available as PDF on the PHMC Web site.

  • Pittsburgh Children's Museum
  • 1990-92. Wrote, designed, and illustrated five teacher's guides to suggest curriculum connections, give background information, and provide learning activities for use before, during, and after class visits to the museum. Exhibits are clustered into themes in the study guides: Space Explorations (a three-dimensional climber, the architecture of the historic building itself, the hanging sculpture, "Sky"); Looking at You (bringing together the exhibits "Urban X-Ray," "Self-Portrait," "Stuffee," "Heart Works"), Riverscape (Pittsburgh's river history); Warhol's Myths (pop culture and family myths through art); Puppets (a multi-cultural look at character-making). Guides are directed toward preschool and early elementary age and stress the importance of learning through play.

  • National Road Heritage Park of Pennsylvania
  • 1993. Education consultant for landscape design firm Rhodeside and Harwell, Inc.'s team that developed the Management Action Plan for the National Road corridor in Washington, Fayette, and Somerset counties. Worked with communities along the Road to develop a coordinated plan for education and interpretation of the Road, economic development, municipal government coordination, and archeological and architectural preservation and restoration.

  • Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater, Western Pennsylvania Conservancy
  • 1991. Conducted workshops on strategies for teaching about architecture for Fallingwater Teacher Residency program. Led tour of Pittsburgh for high school residency program.

    1989-1990. Developed Havens Houses, Forts, and Factories, using the theme "Architecture as a key to unlock the past" to tie five diverse rural historic sites--Fallingwater, Ft. Necessity, Friendship Hill, Nemacolin Castle, West Overton Village--together in a meaningful educational program for regional schools. Wrote, illustrated, and designed Havens Houses, Forts, and Factories study guide; produced and scripted two slide programs (one to introduce the art of architecture and one to serve as a social history of the region as seen through its architecture; wrote, illustrated, and designed individual study guides for each of the sites to relate them to the common theme.

  • The Frick Art and Historical Center, Henry C. Frick Educational Commission and Helen C. Frick Foundation
  • 1990. Developed curriculum materials and teacher inservice programs to prepare teachers to integrate Clayton visits into a variety of subject areas in its proper context as an elite residence during Pittsburgh's industrial age at the turn-of-the-century.

    1989. Conducted needs assessment and long-range interpretive plan for Clayton, the restored home industrialist Henry C. Frick; devised timeline for first three years of operation, and identified possible funding sources for various aspects of the plan.

    1987, 1988, 1989, 1992-93. Developed curriculum materials and teacher inservice programs to prepare teachers to integrate class visits to special exhibits at the Frick Art Museum into art classes and a variety of other subject areas at all age levels. Topics included: Drawing: A Way of Seeing (an exploration of Old Master drawings as windows into the mind of the artist); At Home in Pittsburgh: Art and Furnishings from Clayton; Uncovering Hidden Treasures: Developing Critical Thinking Skills through Museum Collections (conducted at three small, diverse galleries to include Old Master paintings, contemporary crafts, and African art); An Eye for the Everyday: Dutch and Flemish Seventeenth Century Paintings.

  • George Westinghouse Museum
  • 1989. Conducted needs assessment and school program feasibility study for small community museum; devised timeline for first three years of plan, and identified possible funding sources.

    1991. Proposed new story and redesign of main exhibit area to better communicate the significance of Westinghouse's accomplishments and the impact of Westinghouse plants on their employees and the Turtle Creek Valley communities where they were located.

  • Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation
  • 1988-1992. Developed outreach kit, wrote training manuals, trained and supervised docents for Portable Pittsburgh local history outreach program. Continuing involvement in docent training.

    1986. Developed, taught, wrote course manual for Hands-On History Teacher Institute, where teachers learned methods of applying "detective skills" to the raw materials of archives, maps, oral history, folklore, artifacts, architecture, landscape, and photographs to excite their students' interest in neighborhood history.

    1985-1990. Developed and taught Exploring Your City, Exploring Your Neighborhood, and Exploring Architecture teacher inservice courses to help teachers use architecture, documents, and people in Pittsburgh and their own local neighborhoods as resources for students to use to interpret their community's past.

    1985-86. Wrote and illustrated teacher guides for Neill Log House historic site and Landmark Survivors and Architecture: The Building Art exhibits.

  • Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania
  • 1987. Wrote and designed Frontier Democracy, a high school curriculum on western Pennsylvania's reaction to the federal constitution in 1787. Packet contained teacher's guide, illustrated student text, facsimile 1787 edition of the Pittsburgh Gazette, and biography cards of leaders and everyday citizens on various sides of the conflict.

  • Riverview Children's Center Museum Project
  • 1982 to 1984. As Project Director, conceived, developed, and implemented local history project in which elementary and secondary students conducted primary research and designed museum exhibits: secured funding; wrote and designed student workbook and teacher's manual; trained and supervised teaching staff; managed project budget. Conducted two-year summer day camp and gifted Arts Apprenticeship field-test.

    Arts, Community, and Curriculum Projects

  • Modern Woodmen of America
  • 2002-2003. Lead team that wrote and designed and design second edition of MWA's Ecology Awareness program titled Partner's in Ecology. Level one includes leader's guidebook and learner's logbook for preschool through second grade. Level two includes leader's guidebook and learners fieldbooks for upper elementary and middle school age. Engaging, interactive activities were particularly adapted to serve informal education programs yet meet many science and ecology education standards. In 2004, over 216,000 children participated in the Ecology Awareness Program. According to a survey, 97 percent of users say program materials are of excellent to good quality and 98 percent say kids enjoy the programs.

  • Heartwood Institute
  • 1997 to 1998. Wrote and designed the Heartwood Ethics Curriculum for Children, Kindergarten Level. Literature and activity-based curriculum built around seven cross-cultural ethical attributes: Courage, Loyalty, Justice, Respect, Hope, Honesty, Love. Publication: January 1998.

  • Pittsburgh Fund for Arts Education, Pittsburgh Cultural Trust
  • 1992. Co-authored (with Ann Nickerson Kowalski), illustrated, and designed trade paperback entitled There's Nothing to Do! A Guidebook of Answers Right in our Hometown. The first 55 pages of the book interpret southwestern Pennsylvania's history and culture by themes and geographic neighborhoods and regions. The remaining 145 pages, designed to help parents and teachers plan outings, detail graphically the educational offerings of 125 cultural organizations, and index them in a variety of helpful ways. 30,000 copies sold. Second edition in planning stages.

  • Pennsylvania Ethnic Heritage Studies Center, University of Pittsburgh
  • 1991. Assembled travelling loan kits of ethnic crafts and designed classroom activities for use by Pittsburgh teachers. Slide loan kits serviced Pennsylvania teachers in areas outside Pittsburgh.

    1990. Wrote, illustrated, and designed A Sampler of Ethnic Crafts curriculum; developed and taught Crafts and Community teacher inservice to alert art teachers to the rich multicultural art resources available in their communities and to provide them with strategies for teaching about art form other cultures.

    1987-88. Wrote, illustrated, and designed Toward a Better Balance curriculum guides and conducted teacher workshops in ethnic studies for Pennsylvania schools under contract to Legislative Office for Research Liaison, Pennsylvania House of Representatives. Both elementary and secondary curriculum guides (each 225 to 250 pages in length) contained units involving students in using primary resources to investigate the role ethnicity plays at three levels of society: "Belonging: Ethnicity is Rooted in the Family," "Mainstreet Mosaic: The Ethnic Texture of Your Community," "Uniformly Diverse: A Nation Becoming," and "Our Global family: Living in an Ethnic World." Adopted by the Pittsburgh Public Schools and many other Pennsylvania school districts; adapted by other multicultural education initiatives throughout the nation, including Harmony through Difference by the Antidefamation League.

  • Breakthrough
  • 1989-90. Co-authored with Janet E. Turner, Ph.D, communication, speech and hearing consultant, teachers guides to accompany Breakthrough musical/sign-language performances. Designed and illustrated Breakthrough with the Message: Learning about Communication and Breakthrough the Silence: Communication with Sign Language for upper elementary and middle school.

  • United Way of Allegheny County
  • 1988-1990. Co-authored with Sarah Jane Rehnborg, Ph.D., volunteer management consultant, VYTAL (Volunteer Youth Training and Leadership) supplementary curriculum for training middle and high school students in skills and attitudes for effective volunteer service. Illustrated and designed 250-page curriculum guide.