Teaching Hub

Let’s Get Digital, Digital (Humanities)! Part One

by Nathan Loewen, Department of Religious Studies

The Discobolus of Myron connected to a computer

The Alabama Digital Humanities Center (ADHC) opened in 2010. At the beginning of my second year at UA, I just now discovered the ADHC and its amazing home in Gorgas Library Room 109A . I arranged for a consultation with Emma Wilson yesterday. We enjoyed a vibrant discussion about how my teaching might deploy a digital humanities project. I really appreciated the upshot of our time together: pedagogy and learning objectives should inform whatever digital tools we might choose to use.

What does “digital humanities” mean? Much like the term “religion,” I think this term is defined more by the interests of the one doing the defining. Wikipedia does a nice job of setting up the umbrella under which all the various interests might arrange themselves: “an area of research and teaching at the intersection of computing and the disciplines of the humanities.”

In all likelihood, then, my teaching is already there! (Do you use any online tools, like UA+Box, Blackboard, or Twitter? Do your students complete SOIs online?) My reason for contacting the ADHC was to explain my interests in using digital tools for collaborative active learning. I wished to discuss how the ADHC might help me put those interest to use in the courses that I teach.

Here is my wish list for collaborating with the ADHC (What might be yours?):

  • I want to create a series of active learning that develop skills in applying theory and critical thinking to complex problems.
  • The activities must involve all the students in my course.
  • And I want those learning activities to span from one semester to the next, such that there is a publicly-accessible display of the students’ work.
  • In other words: let’s get digital!

Stay posted, folks, because this is Part One of this teaching and learning project!