Update (1/24/12): See Ryan Cordell’s ProfHacker article on the launch of DH Commons, “DHCommons Launches for All Users” (Chronicle January 24, 2012).

Mentioned in “Digital Humanities Research Part 1: Organizations & Code” (Bessette, Inside Higher Ed, January 10, 2012)


This morning at the DH Commons workshop, I served on the panel “How to Get Started in Digital Humanities.” (See Twitter hashtags #dhcom and #mla12.) After sitting between the fabulous Amanda French and inimitable Julia Flanders, we broke into table sessions for two rounds. Much to my surprise and glee, both sessions were filled (over-filled, even) with various levels of the DH curious and skilled alike. After brief introductions, it became obvious that we need a dynamic portal for storing, archiving, demonstrating, and evaluating digital pedagogy — beyond a print text. During the in-between conversations, the attendees wanted more — more information, more access, more experts, more informal chatting about all levels of digital pedagogy. Below is a sketchy list of needs, desires, curiosities from both sessions:

  • integrating digital skills into the curriculum of a single class (how-to?)
  • desire for a community of dh pedagogues
  • creating a community in the classroom using digital tools
  • integrating large digital projects into the course (where students create/build in conjunction with the disciplinary content)
  • create digital projects that are accessible to and useful for public audiences (scholars and more)
  • creating a DH methods course
  • creating an Intro to DH course (and the subsequent levels of courses after that)
  • build an archive in the course of the semester
  • creating a DH major outside disciplinary boundaries
  • articulating transferrable skills between traditional and digital assignments, i.e., critical thinking
  • discover a vocabulary for articulating the value of digital skills to students (that’s comparable to what they already know)
  • cross-disciplinary undergraduate teams for digital projects
  • introducing faculty (slowly) to the efficacy of using digital tools in the classrom
  • teach digital critical editing skills
  • teach TEI (or other mark-up language)
  • scaffolding digital assignments
  • focusing on project-based learning
  • creating archives (with students) to expose public to invisible languages and authors (Chicana authors)
  • incorporating social networking and e-literature assignments
  • expand the digital toolbox (for a faculty member)
  • create digital project (art) that exists beyond the classroom experience
  • interactive assignments
  • concern about using laptops in the classroom & lack of deep attention
  • blogging about pedagogy
  • having students move beyond theorizing and get the building the stuff

I did my best to lay out the various levels of digital pedagogy (see this video from THATCamp Pedagogy with my undergraduate, Pollyanna), and we did a lot towards identifying resources. I promised to email these resources to all of them, but it might better if I put them here.  And, this is by no means a complete list, just some rudimentary things off the top of my head scribbled while I come down from the sessions and sit in on another MLA panel (the very start of the convention).

On your own campus, try to find examples of digital pedagogy in other departments and disciplines. Often, other departments are already doing it and are happy to talk to your department about using digital tools in the classroom. (Plus, they’ve already beta-tested it for students; use it!). Snoop around your libraries and librarians. They’ve been at the forefront of digital use for years. Composition & Rhetoric studies have also been engaged in digital pedagogy for at least thirty years. If your on-campus teaching and learning center has an Instructional Technologist, yank on that person for all he/she is worth. If you hold the purse strings, invest in this person. It will be worth your while.

We’ve come a long way since last year’s Future of DH panel organized by Kathleen Fitzpatrick. It seems that digital pedagogy no longer needs a champion. Lots of people are vocal about their successes and failures in using digital tools, crafting Introducing Digital Humanities courses, building student-driven projects, and more. Please add more in the comments section here. (Because I’m an archivist, I’m a bit chagrined that I couldn’t capture everything and convey everything to everyone — can you say mal d’archive?)

Rock on with your bad selves.

Edit (1/7/12): The workshop was attended by Professor Pannapacker, who wrote up an interesting piece for the Chronicle of Higher Education on the MLA and DH with specific reference to the pedagogy session and some of the above references.