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NYCDH: Building a Support Structure for Digital Humanities Research Projects in the Classroom

Hi!

I went to the NYCDH workshop on Tuesday, February 5th at 10:00am. It was held at the DH Studies department of NYU in a conference room. The workshop was a “hands-on experience in which participants learn about the different aspects of support necessary for planning and implementing digital humanities research projects in the classroom.”

There were about five participants in the workshop that were not part of the support staff (of which there were about ten). Because the workshop was supposed to simulate a kind of collaborative process through which a pedagogical project that utilizes the digital humanities might go through to achieve the best experience for the classroom, we were divided into different roles within that process.

I willingly took the role of the student. This was probably because I wanted to talk through any fears that I had about entering into a digital humanities group project as a student! There were also the roles of Faculty, Librarian, Technical Staff, and Designer. We talked together as group before splitting into our individual roles. Once separated, we each met with one or two members of coaching to discuss our thoughts about the project that we were creating.

While there wasn’t a ton of information that I was able glean that would help me with our DH class specifically, it was still very interesting to think about the group project in the larger picture of the class. The timeline for the project was one of the areas that was helpful to think about, as was the division of group labor and the way in which it can be graded, and the benefits of learning one particular DH skill through the process of completing said project.

There wasn’t much insight I was able to contribute to the workshop in the form of previous experience, but it was still beneficial to hear the perspectives of the other participants and their suggestions for making the project most effective. Especially in light of my group project, late-19th century immigrant newspapers, the discussion surrounding copyrights and online “archiving” was very relevant to me (we were working on a theoretical project that involved classical music and the aural identifiers that can indicate period, as expressed through a digital databased that would be created by the students in question).

Overall, the takeaway from this workshop is that there are many untapped resources in the realm of pedagogy, especially in the elementary or high-school age, that exist in the technology and library science fields. These roles are often available to the faculty when planning such a project, and as we learned in this workshop, are largely under-utilized during the gestation period of lesson planning. This is particularly true when the plan is based so heavily on an element of the digital humanities being explored within the classroom.

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