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Blogs, teaching and the digital humanities

March 20, 2012

In On blogging in the Digital Humanities, Michael Ullyot writes that blogging is not just common practice for scholars involved in digital humanities (DH) – it’s their bread and butter. Why? Ullyot says there are two reasons:

  1. Digital humanists deal with an array of technicians. They need expertise in many areas for which they were not trained. Collaborators can provide the kind of advice that turns novices into experts.
  2. Traditional scholars develop ideas in isolation, present early findings at conferences, and later publish results. A digital humanist can immediately post – and get feed back on – questions, ideas, methods, and recorded conference talks. For now, however, the journal article is still the definitive “archival” statement.

Ullyot’s article addresses the research aspects of a faculty member’s life. How does the notion of DH connect with teaching? Below are sample teaching strategies that relate to the two points above, as well as two additional goals of digital humanities:

  • Group expertise – help students learn how to learn new tools by taking advantage of online resources and experts.
  • Sharing ideas – assign a blog-based project where students collaboratively develop ideas and share feedback on methods or presentations.
  • Digital tools and methods – incorporate assignments where students use DH tools for data mining, visualization, or publication
  • Beyond text and paper – require a multimedia project in lieu of an essay or assign a video viewing in lieu of reading an article

In teaching and learning, DH is not simply another name for educational technology. It involves a whole new set of tools, depends on collaboration, and places much higher value on non-paper media.

Additional reading: Teaching and Learning through the Digital Humanities.

UPDATE: an upcoming event that’s apropos – NITLE: Digital Pedagogy.

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