Week 4: Digital platforms in the classroom, Twitter as a Resource, and more resources

1.     I’d like to discuss 2 digital platforms, Facebook and Google Classroom. Both have their limitations in regards to scholarly work, but both provide unique collaborative opportunities inside and outside the context of a class.
       Facebook is the only social media platform I frequent, and while I periodically lament the hours I spend aimlessly scrolling, I’ve come to realize that, through the culling and collating of my own preferences over time, my feed has become largely a content aggregator for articles surrounding teaching, education policy, race/class/gender, public policy, and politics. Over time, I’ve opened, responded to, and liked many links posted by a small number of friends relating to these issues that are important to me, and so, because these handful of people are actively reading and posting things everyday, these types of linked articles are my main interface with Facebook (with the occasional cat picture, hah). I’m not visiting the New York Times homepage or reading NCTE or MLA journals with any regularity, so Facebook has become my primary source of news and professional, personal development. As a member of one or two private groups and group message chains, I think Facebook can also be an informal place for like-minded individuals to share and receive feedback (in varying degrees of depth) on scholarly work discovered, created, or in the process of being created. An English cohort member at LMU and published poet uses group messages to share new poems and get feedback, and I think something similar could work among academic working on research as well.
       Google Classroom is a tool I mostly use as a basic class blog upon which I can post and collect homework as well as share resources, handouts, and notes from class. However, I’ve heard about several colleagues at my school using it in more innovative, intriguing ways to engage students. One teacher posts discussion questions to students on the ‘feed’ in class, which he projects onto the wall. Students discuss prompts with their partner and then posts their response (and often questions related to the reading) to the discussion thread, which then becomes visible to the whole class. The teacher can then choose questions from the thread, and students can see the ideas and questions that are most common among their peers, making connections and also giving them the sense that they weren’t alone in their opinions or confusion regarding a text. Another teacher does this open forum before class, similar to the way these blog posts function for this class. She gives students the option to both generate and respond to posts on the first run, which, for many of her senior students in their first honors class, allows them to observe the level of discourse and learn from the model provided by other student’s responses regarding symbolism, literary analysis, etc. This teacher mentioned that the Classroom has a very user-friendly mobile platform, so when she posts both pdfs and the prompt there, she finds better student engagement because students can do their reading, check over the discussion threads, and even add their comments while waiting for the bus, in their carpools, after soccer practice, etc. For this teacher, these threads have guided the course of her instruction and in-class discussion the next day, just as they have in this class.

2. I found the syllabus and resources for several of course that took place at HILT, especially the De/Post/Colonial Digital Humanities Course, to be quite helpful as jumping off points for more scholarship in the various hybrid fields this class in particular covers, largely dealing with the intersection of digital spaces and postcolonial discourse. The syllabus provides many examples of other digital archives for students to peruse, providing many examples for us to observe strengths and limitations of the medium and how we can improve on these models for our own archive. I also really enjoyed a link to an article in the Digital Pedagogy Lab by Jesse Stommel called “The Twitter Essay,” focusing on a great activity that allows students in a first year writing/rhetorical arts course to both sharpen and condense argument with precise language, but also remove the stigma of ‘text talk’ and twitter syntax as uncouth or immoral forms of discourse.  Since I’m still struggling to navigate twitter’s interface, the curated slides of Lee Skallerup’s Storify of the conference was very helpful for me, a ‘cheat sheet’ to navigate the overall structure of the conference and choose the examples and links that looked most interesting to me.

3. My Best Sources on Digital Humanities Pedagogy – I culled almost all of mine from one issue of CEA Critic dedicated to DH pedagogy and a book of essays called Digital Humanities Pedagogy: Practices, Principles. The items with asterisks were ones I didn’t get a chance to read but still want to.

CEA Critic (Vol. 76, Number 2)
Making the Leap: Incorporating Digital Humanities into the English Classroom– Ann R. Hawkins
Introducing Digital Humanities Pedagogy – Luke A. Iantorno
Listening in on the Conversations: An Overview of Digital Humanities Pedagogy
– E Leigh Bonds
Teaching Attentive Reading and Motivated Writing through Digital Editing – Amanda Gailey ** 
From Text to Tags: The Digital Humanities in an Introductory Literature Course
– Sarah H. Ficke
Digital Humanities Pedagogy: Hitting the Wall and Bouncing Back – Maura Ives

Digital Humanities Pedagogy: Practices, Principles
Digital Humanities and the First Year Writing Course – Olin Bjork
Teaching Digital Skills in an Archives and Public History Curriculum – Peter J. Wash, Cathy Moran Hajo, Esther Katz **
Teaching Skills or Teaching Methodology? – Simon Mahoney and Elena Pierazzo **
Pedagogical Principles of Digital Historiography  – Joshua Sternfeld **


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