I’ve been slightly distracted by all of the news over the last few weeks — New Zealand’s tragedy, the replication of elitism in higher ed — as well as getting my graduate students in British Romanticism to think beyond the traditional literary canon for this period (1775-1835) of 6 white, male authors. All of this historical literary work on busting open an accepted canon seems imperative in a world that’s teeming with constant ruptures, revolutions, disturbances, dis-organization, re-organization, tragedy, wanderings, wonderings. The debate about ethics, artificial intelligence (or machine learning), Facebook seems to have gone by the wayside as we all deal with crisis after crisis that inundates us.
In the end, there’s some good news. Today, we’re going to take a circuitous route to end up back at Digital Pedagogy by the conclusion of this post. Just hang on for a moment. Continue Reading…
Black History Month is a time to reflect on the progress we have made and honor the leaders who helped cultivate that change. I was wondering at the start of the month how I should go about writing this piece, and I realized I should do it like the leaders illustrated on our wall did anything –– with passion.
For the wall, I decided to illustrate Dr. Angela Davis, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, Audre Lorde, James Baldwin, Tommie Smith, John Carlos and Toni Morrison. These incredible leaders have paved the way for so many people and their legacy will live to withstand the test of time. Towards the end of January, I was approached by faculty and students to see what I would do for Black History Month. I was already contemplating how I would execute the visuals for the wall and how I would manage the content online. After consulting with my team and bouncing ideas off family and friends, I thought it would be interesting to make a Mt. Rushmore styled illustration of phenomenal Black leaders.
On top of creating the illustration, I also managed a weekly visuals for our media platforms by highlighting other notable Black leaders.
It is imperative we look back at the people who came before us and our history. I pride myself on commemorating influential people on our wall. I do my best to represent everyone and be inclusive. We have made enormous strides but the work is far from done. From the Civil Rights Movement to #BlackLivesMatter, activists and modern day leaders are working hard to preserve the hopes and dreams of those that came before us. I urge you all to not only research the work of those highlighted in the illustration but other Black folks who have fought for change.
For the past 8 years, I’ve been working on a co-edited volume, Digital Pedagogy in the Humanities, that includes the stuff of teaching, syllabi, assignments, rubrics, that are often the unsung and often an invisible labor of our teaching jobs. To write a clear, concise, well-situated assignment prompt is an art form, especially considering that our students’ abilities and needs have experienced a profound shift in the last 10 years.
What am I talking about?
Those full-fledged computers we carry around in our pockets.
Or, the need for wifi at all places all over campus to research, write, engage.
Or, the network of friends we’ve all established in a virtual world.
In the last post, “It’s Not About the Tools,” we got a look inside the pedagogical theories behind a collaborative, project-based learning environment in a Humanities course. Students were offered a broad research question at the outset and an established goal. But, as you can see, that goal had to change due to resources and the needs of the project. Since no one had written about Beardstair prior to this course, or, more accurately, publicized/published a piece on its process and progress, the graduate students deemed it appropriate and in line with Digital Humanities scholarship to publish a history and process piece.
In that post, I gestured towards the technology, but the technology did not govern the course. In fact, the students offered a critique of the digital tools, their failings, and their limitations foisted onto the project. The seamless tech, blogs, Facebook groups, Google Docs, photography, were used for the purpose of collaboration and documenting the progress. A Facebook group was established by the student teams (Tech Team & Literature Team) as the easiest form of facilitating constant contact — primarily because of the seamless integration between mobile and laptop platforms along with notifications of recent postings to their groups. (They discuss this choice for collaboration space in their peer-reviewed article for the Journal of Interactive Technology and Pedagogy, “BeardStair: A Student-Run Digital Humanities Project History, Fall 2011 to May 16, 2013.) Continue Reading…
I’ve spent a lot of my career here at SJSU converting my research-oriented practices towards a more forward-facing collaboration with my students in project-centered learning environments. During my first forays into adventures with SJSU English and Composition students more than a decade ago, I taught the way that faculty had taught me at Cal State L.A. so many years ago: lectures with lots of interesting discussion centered around a novel or poem or philosophical musing. Grad school was like that, too, until I got into my dissertation area. And, I just assumed, even while teaching at multiple schools in the City University of New York system, that all students were as fascinated as I was about literature, culture, news, politics, the world. The CUNY students at Hostos Community College, Queens College, and Lehman College taught me differently, but in the throes of finishing a dissertation, living in the vibrancy of NYC, and moving across country for a job, I didn’t quite get it.
And, I didn’t quite get it when I arrived at SJSU an Assistant Professor in 2005, though I had just finished a traditional dissertation PLUS a project-based dissertation where my advisors let me roam around, ask questions, fail, and discover for myself. I hadn’t yet found a bridge to be able to facilitate that kind of learning…at least until Digital Humanities methodologies became much more transparent.