With new laptop and new equipment in hand, I am getting back into my curriculum development. Today i’d like to take a break from talking about the structure of my Digital Manuscript Studies seminar (see posts one and two) in order to discuss some of the pedagogical gimmicks and techniques that have been circulating around the teaching and learning blogs i’ve been following. But first a little context.
This all started a couple of weeks ago when reading an article in Digital Humanities Quarterly by Craig Bellamy, Australian Historian, Digital Humanities scholar and writer of a very good blog. I have included the details for this article below:
…teaching in the digital humanities field should emphasise that computing is not simply a set of techniques to achieve a predetermined set of results. Computing in the humanities is a set of humanities questions to achieve a set of challenging interpretations. Digital resources and tools are made available to students through a series of choices by their creators, educators, and administrators, and making student aware of these choices is vital for facilitating active and critical engagement with them. (p. 1)
…teaching technical skills to humanities students – so that they are faced with the similar technical choices of developers — is one way to emphasise that computing technologies, just like the academic monologue, is a series of (applied) choices, arguments and interpretations. But not all schools are equipped to provide computer programming classes and this level of in-depth technical knowledge may not always be achievable or desirable unless the student is considering a longer-term research career in the field. A “critical interpretation” of digital objects may also be fostered by providing technical architectures that open-up critical interpretations of digital objects (within assessable tasks) to broader audiences of students. (p. 7)
- The Online Lab – the entire unit is online in a lab-like environment, but takes place on campus. This makes sense in light of Bellamy’s model, because it gives students maximum time to critically interrogate and experiment with their manuscript resources in class in a lab environment. This approach, however, makes more sense when combined with
- The Rotation, in which students move in-class between self-paced online learning and break-out small group work. This is ideal for a masters seminar because A) the contact hours for the unit are two hours in a single block each week, enabling easy blending in-class and B) the class is likely to be very small, so one could split students into, say, two groups of five on rotation.
I would also combine these models with a component of the ‘flipped classroom’ giving students time to experiment, research, play and work together out of class, giving maximum space in-class to guided laboratory work mixed with group sharing and demonstration mixed with small group work. This could then be blended once again with some peer-centred learning, and certain students could act as discussants for their tutorial groups, and guide the readings-based discussion.
So that is where I am right now. Suggestions are not only encouraged, but strongly desired. I really want my digital humanities material to be personal and collective, digital and humanist, self-guided and tutor-guided in balance.
Signing off from the Mad Curricular Science Laboratory-Atelier,