THATCamp pt 2: Digital Pedagogy & Digital Humanities

The session I went to on the second day was close to my heart: it focused at the intersection of digital pedagogy and digital humanities. One of the themes at the conference has been that digital humanists build things (whether with code or without), and doesn’t necessarily push on digital pedagogy.

  • Reading is a first level of engagement; writing requires people to think through things more (and we should continue to require writing and writing about texts); but we can also engage people with texts without writing a paper
  • Digital humanities as working with texts; can engage students with texts in a number of ways
  • Could create: digital versions of texts, digital archives of texts, mashups of texts
  • Building something requires a real understanding of it (I’d point to Bloom here)
  • How to build engaging projects that won’t hijack students from goals of humanities classroom?
  • How does the project impact the learning; how does switching from text to screen impact students? Don’t want tech to become the theme rather than the medium.
  • Discussion of Creative Commons and ethical responsibilities of person/teacher/etc that are even separate from legal obligations under law
  • We have to role model the way to cite things (etc) because (some of) our students will be teachers later
  • Sometimes tools open up an entirely different mode of analysis (like tracks in music in audacity, or slowing down or frequent pausing) Tool as new interface, close listening tool
  • Building changes stakes in the classroom
  • How do we grade or assess them?
  • Can tell students to go forth and make things even if you don’t know how… (From faculty member at tech school who can point students to resources on campus to help them learn) Which is also a good thing to model: you have a problem, how are you going to use them? This is my approach in the video project.
  • Part of my job is to get them from being high school students to more of a model where students understand resources available to them as a faculty member does. Giving some class time for this type of exploration.
  • Humanities teach you to critique cultural production; with new objects of cultural production, it’s good to give them the experience of making so they understand the production
  • We’re studying all this material as a way of figuring out this thing that scholars are working on all the time, with a specific project in mind; ex. archeological question: what happened to these people 3000 years ago. It’s problem solving, how to help them see it that way. Students have this myth of genius, can show them they can participate.
  • And it shows them what happens in the classroom continues on after in meaningful ways
  • intelligence as node-ed: not memorizing, but making connections between resources
  • Acknowledging good work takes work, and it’s not inherent in people
  • Discussing meeting students where they are, even when everyone in the class is coming from a different place.
  • Discussion of Fair Use… one suggested: if don’t push boundaries on Fair Use, it shrinks over time
  • How to push boundary so you can put content out there as critique and not just parody
  • Work you do in the classroom doen’t have to be about the end product, but could be a composition/building as an entry into the text that can lead to something else (even a later essay or something)
  • If using public domain, have students produce a critical edition: start with microtasks such as mark up text, have it be available on web,  annotate. Then have them write the essays that go with the text.  Tell them: this is what humanists do. Put it out there. How do you use it in future classes?
  • When students don’t take class seriously and tell you it’s not their most important class: well then, you don’t get an A.
  • Great session!

I keep thinking that it’s worth writing something on instructional design for digital humanists. Several of the things that came up in this session is core to the ID field, but others might now know it. I guess I’ll start here sometime, and look into places where that would make sense to publish.

This was a really good session for me, but to be there I had to miss the librarian/scholar session. I followed the other on Twitter and on a Google Doc, and it would have been good. I decided not to go since I went to my session with WFU scholars (already collaborating!), and the pedagogy side is something I’d be ready to plug into for any digital humanities project. It’s a mark of a good conference when you genuinely have a hard time choosing!

Wrap up

  • 56% tenure stream faculty
  • 28% librarian/archivist (might be one of the highest representations at a THATCamp)
  • Over 1/4 librarians, might have the highest librarian participation at a THATCamp
  • Looking for an institution to host this event next year

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