I wrote about this some time ago; about the connection between eLearning (blended learning etc.) and the Digital Humanities. The problem is that the connection is a weak one and should be further developed. I know of very few Digital Humanities modules or plugins etc. that are be used in existing learning environments such as Moodle or Blackboard. And it is not as though the DH doesn’t have the learning materials and methods. There has been much work done on teaching digital humanities, but the work done (both research and development) seems to miss the enormous body of knowledge around LMS and educational design. This field is particularly strong in Australia and NZ and it would be good to see some movement in this area; in the same way that the DH has developed a good working relationship (if not an intellectual one), with eResearch.
I have started teaching in a PhD coursework subject here at the University of Melbourne; the first year that this type of subject have been offered in PhD research here. And as part of this, we have started teaching our very first Digital Humanities subject in the faculty; a lot of fun and somewhat experimental. There are 5 of us teaching it (and about 20 PhD students); and all the instructors have many years teaching, research, and computing experience (and ways of understanding and applying computing to teaching and research problems). The aims of the course is as follows (and we have put together our syllabus from a number of excellent sources and thanks to University of Victoria in Canada and especially Brett Hirsch of UWA for blazing a path for us). It is only a 5 week course of 2 house sessions, so barely getting our feet wet in such a large and vibrant field (and sorry some of the links may not work as you will need particular University log-in credentials to access them).
Our Digital Age: implications for learning and its (online) institutions
CATHY N. DAVIDSON, John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute, Duke University, Durham, USA
DAVID THEO GOLDBERG, University of California Humanities Research Institute, Irvine, USA
HASTAC co-founders Cathy N. Davidson and David Theo Goldberg have co-authored an article that was published in the most recent volume of E-Learning and Digital Media. The article is entitled “Our Digital Age: implications for learning and its (online) institutions”.
Over the past two decades, the way we learn has changed dramatically. We have new sources of information and new ways to exchange and to interact with information. But our schools and the way we teach have remained largely the same for years, even centuries. What happens to traditional educational institutions when learning also takes place on a vast range of Internet sites, from Pokemon Web pages to Wikipedia? This chapter, excerpted from our book, The Future of Thinking, does not promote change for the sake of change. Implicit in its sincere plea for transformation is an awareness that the current situation needs improvement. In advocating change for learning institutions, this chapter makes assumptions about the deep structure of learning, about cognition, about the way youth today learn about their world in informal settings, and about a mismatch between the excitement generated by informal learning and the routinization of learning common to many of our institutions of formal education. It advocates institutional change because our current formal educational institutions are not taking enough advantage of the modes of digital and participatory learning available to students today.
I have just started doing this new course on Coursera. Admittedly I know the content pretty well, however it is the method of delivery that is very interesting indeed. I’ll write a review of their ‘experimental teaching methods’ soon…