This week, I am at Arizona State University attending the annual HASTAC Conference. Today, I’ll be on a panel discussing a recent collaboration I had with Sofia Dueñas, an undergraduate and our inaugural Digital Liberal Arts Cauffman Fellow, at Whittier College. Below is the abstract of our panel, and some information and media from our panel.
Digital Humanities have expanded methods and forms for scholarship, increasing opportunities for participation and funding for those in the academy. While alt-ac (alternative academic) staff, faculty, and graduate student collaborations have been an oft-discussed topic in higher education journalism and at academic conferences, collaborations with undergraduate students have received less attention. This panel brings together faculty, academic staff, and undergraduate students from a range of disciplines (English, Education, Mathematics, Public Health) and institutions — private, public, religious, and Hispanic Serving institutions — to present short papers and facilitate a working session on faculty-student partnerships in research, pedagogy, and community-based activism. Panelists will explore the value of and obstacles to collaborative partnerships between faculty and undergraduates.
Anne Choi (CSU Dominguez Hills) will share a case study of a digital humanities project, “Recreating the Aloha Spirit”, undertaken at a medium-sized state university, and the process by which students become experts through learning digital tools. Anne Cong-Huyen (Digital Scholar, Whittier College) and Sofia Duenas (Junior, Whittier College, HASTAC Scholar) will speak about their work in designing a new course that interrogates gender and race in digital labor, and incorporates digital assignments and activities to reinforce the content. Annemarie Perez (Loyola Marymount University) will discuss of the creation of a digital archive on The Chican@ Gothic. This public humanities project allows students to hone their digital writing skills while prompting conversations between the students authors and critics, both in person and via digital means. Lastly, Andrea Rehn (Whittier College) and Bill Kronholm (Whittier College) will speak about an experimental team-taught undergraduate project-based learning course titled “Just Hacking.” In this course, undergraduates with a wide variety of disciplinary backgrounds worked together on a project they titled “Operation F.I.S.H.” (food insecurity and stigmatized homelessness) that advanced from initial conception through prototype during a single semester.
Digital Labor: Faculty-student Collaboration in Digital Pedagogy
Anne Cong-Huyen and Sofia Dueñas
This past year, Whittier College’s Digital Liberal Arts program was the recipient of a generous alumni endowment that created an ongoing student fellowship. The specific parameters of the donation required that the student would work in collaboration with a faculty member to develop or redesign a course. Sofia Duenas, the inaugural recipient of the Cauffman Fellowship, will speak with her faculty mentor, Anne Cong-Huyen, about their work in designing a short, intensive course on race, gender, and digital labor, “Digital Labor: Race, Gender, & Technology in Literature & Film”. This new course, cross-listed in English and Gender Studies, models digital student-centered pedagogy, integrating various technologic tools and methods to interrogate the history of work in the technology industries, and to examine everyday digital labor. Anne and Sofia will speak briefly about the challenges and benefits of designing and co-teaching a course of this nature.
Annemarie Perez, has put together a précis of her talk on the Chicana/o Gothic project she built with her student. You can find that over at her blog, Cited at the Crossroads.
Discussion of the creation of a digital archive on The Chican@ Gothic by students at Loyola Marymount University as part of a course examining Chican@ literature through a gothic lens. The very limited critical publications on the topic became a virtue as individuals and groups of students created digital objects by collecting family folktales, variations on the La Llorona legends, reviews of Chican@ texts as gothic, and visual representations. The public nature of this digital writing prompted conversations between the students authors and critics via email, in person and on social media.
Who is the Expert? Faculty Student Collaborations in the Digital Humanities
Anne Choi (to be updated)
Recent pedagogical trends in higher education have underscored the importance of high-impact practices such as undergraduate research. However, the emphasis on undergraduate research has largely been focused on STEM disciplines. Employing undergraduate research and assessing its impact in the humanities has received less attention. In an effort to address this lacuna, this paper provides a case-study of “Recreating the Aloha Spirit”— a digital humanities project which is currently under development at California State University, Dominguez Hills. This case-study provides insight into the process of building a digital humanities project from the ground up that simultaneously serves the different interests of faculty and students. In particular, this paper explores the processes in which students become the expert on a particular “Recreating the Aloha Spirit” field of knowledge by utilizing digital humanities tools.
Digital Justice and Social Hacking
Andrea Rehn and Bill Kronholm (unable to attend)
This presentation will describe an experimental team-taught undergraduate project-based learning course titled “Just Hacking.” The goal of the course was to decide on a social justice issue students’ collectively wanted to address, and devise a (digital) method to contribute to efforts to resolve that issue. The course was purposely offered without prerequisites in order to attract students who might otherwise avoid either computer science-sounding classes OR social justice-oriented classes. Undergraduates with a wide variety of disciplinary backgrounds worked together and on a project they titled “Operation F.I.S.H.” (food insecurity and stigmatized homelessness) that advanced from initial conception through prototype during a single semester. The course was a radical experiment in student-initiated learning: students organized themselves into project teams, chose project managers, set their own deadlines and goals, and struggled to work together constructively toward an overall goal they envisioned for themselves.
This presentation, which will include faculty and student members of the class, will describe the failures and successes of this experiment. At the beginning of the course, we urged students to realize that the project could fail, and there were some aspects of it that did. But what was created was a radically democratic learning experience in which students developed skills (technical, personal, and social) in response to the needs of the project or the team. In the process, students and faculty engaged with issues as diverse as defining food insecurity, addressing a digital divide among class members as well as among the projected users of the class’s interactive mapping project, ethical interviewing strategies, and questions about student-led projects in an educational system structured by grades.