This guided talk outlines the English Department’s experiences with a number of different digital humanities tools in its curriculum, from Freshman composition classes through to courses in the Literature Major. It identifies what gaps we discovered in ourselves and our students and the refinements and resources needed for the future to develop and support this pedagogical approach.
What happens when an English Literature department decides to implement digital humanities into its curriculum, from Freshman Composition courses through to all course levels in the English Literature Major? How does this goal require us to rethink the way the discipline is taught with new digital tools and technology? What are our assumptions about the digital competencies of our students and ourselves? What is the level of library and technical support required? What is a reasonable level of financial support for developing the acquisition and use of digital tools in the classroom? How do the advanced capabilities of certain tools help improve learning outcomes? What digital skills can be developed and transferable across platforms? What is the reaction of faculty and students to this way of teaching and learning? How can classroom work help to grow interest and support for advanced digital humanities research like the department’s WROME Project (Writers in Rome)? How does the use of these tools inspire curiosity about others? This guided talk will address these questions through the sharing of our experience with a variety of digital tools in selected courses of composition and literature.
The presentation will highlight our experiences — both positive and negative — when integrating digital humanities tools, including Storymapping, podcasts, Omeka, and Voyant into a number of different courses. We will identify some of the surprising discoveries we made about what our students and ourselves lacked or needed to support implementation of these tools into the curriculum whether in terms of social or technological skills, including both openness and resistance to technology, constraints in terms of time to develop skills competencies, necessary library support follow-up after initial training, limitations in the use of free versions of tools, etc. We will outline what we would do differently in future experiments and will ask for audience suggestions to meet these challenges.
As a follow-up activity we would solicit feedback from the audience on their own sense of the digital competencies in their classrooms and their own experiments with similar or different tools. We would also ask for suggestions about other available tools that might be useful to consider implementing in the future, including suggestions on affordable and user friendly options, etc.