The Digital Liberal Arts Programs Committee will be hosting a series of online events on “Digital methods and tools in teaching and learning.” The first of these is the following talk by Alex Wermer-Colan, the Digital Scholarship Coordinator at Temple University.
This talk aims to provide direction and clarify best practices for instructors looking to integrate digital pedagogy into learning sessions, syllabi, and curricula more broadly. To do so, I overview a modular framework and strategy for incorporating digital technologies and tools for cultural analytics (including text mining and mapping) into university courses across a wide range of disciplines.
Taking emerging software and methods in computational textual analysis as the primary example, this talk will showcase user-friendly, web-based tools, such as Voyant and HathiTrust’s Bookworm, that instructors can use for introducing new methods, such as distant reading, within the context of traditional course content. By adapting a modular framework over time, teachers can experiment with lesson plans, like those available through the Programming Historian, to introduce tools and methods to their students without radically rethinking their syllabus. At the same time, a modular framework allows teachers, by working with a network of collaborators, including librarians, IT staff, faculty, and students, to slowly develop longer-term digital projects for cultural analytics. Such collaborative projects offer a unique opportunity to teach students through active-learning about the entire data life cycle, as students learn how to build a dataset, analyze the data, preserve and share their data and code, and present their research results.
To demystify digital pedagogy, then, this talk aims to give a clear idea of practical ways for teachers to introduce new methods into their instruction, while also accumulating over time the work of individual students and classes. Instructors can then approach their pedagogy in relation to digital technology with a holistic eye towards immediate pedagogical benefits and long-term goals, teaching students practical skills while rewarding their productive labor through credited role in contributing to larger digital projects integral to faculty research, departmental initiatives, and institutional projects.
Dr. Alex Wermer-Colan works as a Digital Scholarship Coordinator at Temple University Libraries’ Loretta C. Duckworth Scholars Studio. Alex holds an M.A. in the Humanities from the University of Chicago and a Ph.D. in English from the Graduate Center, City University of New York. Alex leads workshops on computational methods of interpretation, while offering consultations, and developing research projects. To contact Alex, email email@example.com and on Twitter @alexwermercolan.