On Thursday & Friday, May 31-June 1, Jentery Sayers and I worked with faculty from various disciplines to 1) theorize using Digital Humanities and Digital Pedagogy and 2) build “bloom & fade” single use (thanks Bethany Nowviskie!), digital assignments, an entire scaffolded project-centered course. On the first day, we chatted intensely with the 20 faculty in attendance about the pedagogy inherent to such teaching and learning endeavors. Much of my points were based on my NITLE Digital Pedagogy Seminar and my experience with sneaking Digital Humanities in traditional literature and composition curricula. (Two assignments, the collaborative mid-term in the Gothic Novel course and the new Dickens in the Digital Age syllabus are the only examples that are not available only. Otherwise, check out that NITLE post or see my Courses page and the Student Projects that resulted from many of my courses.)

On Day 2, we split the group into two sections: 1) One Course, One Project and 2) One Course, Multiple Technologies. In my section (#2), we focused primarily on revising and dreaming up a single assignment for each person. Because we decided to work on individual assignments (to facilitate each participant leaving with the theories behind their assignments at the end of the day), we resorted to a quick writing exercise that I learned from Sondra Perl (CUNY Graduate Center).  Then, and only in the last 15 mins of the session, did we talk about the tools. Bamboo DIRT helped tremendously with this portion, especially the “I want….” section.

After laying out the tenets of Digital Humanities/Digital Pedagogy (collaboration, process, building, tinkering/screwing around), spending some time creating learning outcomes and establishing assessment criteria (a la Jentery from Day 1), we moved into several prompts:

  1. What is the intended knowledge acquisition with this assignment?
  2. How will students demonstrate this knowledge acquisition?
  3. How will you value process?
  4. How will you evaluate collaboration (see rubric above)?
  5. Will peer review or comments be incorporated into the assignment?
  6. Is the process and/or outcome public to the world or just to the students?
  7. Where does the assignment fit into the semester (1st assignment? last one?)?
  8. Where does the assignment fit with your larger goals for the course?
  9. How will you build on the knowledge or a skill from this assignment?
  10. What resources are required to complete the assignment? (access to subscription databases?)
  11. What technical proficiencies are required by the student? (See EdTech for tutorials!)
  12. Do you require a lab day for learning technologies or presenting process/final projects? (make sure to leave time in the schedule)
  13. Will the work be done in class or out?
  14. How willyou engage with this assignment (process and/or outcome) during class discussion?
  15. Have you left room for waypoints/check-in moments for the assignment (especially relevant for assignments that come later in the semester or require several steps)?
  16. How does this assignment differ from previous assignments that don’t use technology?
  17. Can you boil the project down to a single research question for your students?

We then broke into conversation about process of even a single assignment and inserting check-in moments for the assignments. We also looked at the rubric for collaboration. But, we always went to foregrounding the assignment, content, theories, ideas before even discussing the tool.

After lunch, the groups had an opportunity to swap projects and provide feedback. We even had two students in attendance who were working on one of the assignments — it’s always good to get student feedback.

My primary message is that of screwing around — faculty, students — I do this with my own research. Why not let my students do it. After all, that’s who I want to be as a faculty member. But, this requires doing the risky thing and an acceptance of failure, productive failure. I had some other things to conclude the session that can be found back on my NITLE post.

All in all, a good time and great eats were had by all!

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