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2017 Modern Language Association Convention

Thursday, 5 January 155. Curating Digital Pedagogy in the Humanities 7:00–8:15 p.m., Franklin 3, Philadelphia Marriott A special session

Presiding: Katherine D. Harris, San José State Univ.

Speakers: Lauren Coats, Louisiana State Univ., Baton Rouge; Anne Cong-Huyen, Whittier Coll.; Rebecca Davis, St. Edward’s Univ.; Matthew K. Gold, Graduate Center, City Univ. of New York; Elizabeth Mathews Losh, Coll. of William and Mary

Respondent: Zach Whalen, Univ. of Mary Washington

This session addresses the shifting definitions of digital pedagogy by focusing on some of the important practices that help define it. Each participant presents sample teaching materials related to a particular aspect of digital pedagogy before discussing how open digital publishing has revolutionized pedagogy through broad sharing, reusing, and hacking of digital assignments.

keywords: digital pedagogy, digital humanities, pedagogy

After a brief introduction to the panel’s rationale by Katherine D. Harris, each speaker will offer 5-7 minute remarks, followed by a response by Zach Whalen. The roundtable will then move to open discussion.

Presider Katherine D. Harris will open the roundtable by explaining how the digital has changed practices, perspectives, and locations for humanities pedagogy. Open digital publishing has revolutionized pedagogy through broad sharing, reusing, and hacking of digital assignments. The digitization of primary sources enables students to engage in authentic research activities, while increasingly available digital tools offer new avenues for students to analyse humanities materials. Finally, the digital has changed the classroom itself, blurring the geographical, temporal, and personal lines between class, community, and globe, through ongoing collaborative projects and opportunities to interact with all sorts of audiences.

Rebecca Frost Davis will discuss how digital teaching practices can foster open processes of scholarly production, leveraging digital tools and networks to reveal knowledge creation. Moving humanities teaching practices out of the space of solitary classrooms and into participatory networks, Davis will show, extends the reach of humanities work and opens it up to multiple communities.

Matthew K. Gold will explore how open publishing systems can be used to engage humanist pedagogues in new publication workflows related to their teaching, sharing course materials on open platforms and blurring the lines between teaching and research. Bringing pedagogical materials into open publication workflows lets students and the larger public see and participate in humanities education.

Following these general discussions of digital pedagogy, connected learning, and digital publishing, the roundtable will turn to particular keywords of digital pedagogy such as “archive,” “affect,” and “gender.”

Elizabeth Losh will explore the intersection of digital pedagogy and affect. Shared learning projects around coding in Processing, creating webtexts in Scalar, editing Wikipedia, building 3D prototypes, curating critical selfies, and delivering Ignite-style presentations all require sensitivity to the register of affect. Critical questions include the following: How are digital skills gendered? How are hybrid or online classrooms constituted as safe or brave spaces? What are the consequences of demo-or-die practices? Does an ethos that celebrates failure work for everyone? How do students feel about digital mess? What are the ethical obligations of pedagogues to combat online racism or misogyny that can be so psychically hurtful?

Lauren Coats will address the way the digital has transformed the archive and implications for archivefocused pedagogy. Investigations of the archive make literature and literary history tangible. The focus on the object that is at the heart of archival pedagogy helps students grasp the materiality of textual artifacts and grapple with the relationship of form and content. By relying on wonder, mediation, and curation in many kinds of classes—from the special collections single session to the survey course to the advanced seminar—the use of archival materials, digital or analog, requires thinking about the archive itself. More broadly, archival practice gives students a compelling introduction to the intellectual consequences of curation, the many choices about an object's archival fate that determine if and how future users will see and use it.

Anne Cong-Huyen will address both embodied gender and gendered practice as they dictate and create a structure within the politics of the classroom community. When students are conscious of their own identities, privileges, expectations, such self-awareness allows them to to interrogate their long-held beliefs, question how those beliefs were formed, and puts pressure on assumptions about the neutrality of a text or tool. Are their texts really epitomes of genius regardless of gender, race, and class? What privilege does the very act of writing, of coding, of tinkering speak to? Such questions are common to the humanities, but digital practices can expand scope of examination to tools, texts, and environments that students are immersed in on a daily basis.

Respondent Zach Whalen will offer a response to the presentations and draw out connections between them, also articulating a number of points for further discussion with the audience.