Digital Library Federation (DLF) (2015)

What if nobody shows up to your DH course?; Building a DH community of practice in the liberal arts college library Brooks, Mackenzie; Sanders, Ashley; Barry, Jeff


What if Nobody Shows up to Your DH Course? This case study explores the challenges in developing a digital humanities curriculum at a small liberal arts university. In 2015 we launched DH Studio, a series of one-credit courses taught by library faculty on specific topics within digital scholarship, such as scholarly text encoding or digital history. This year librarians also were asked to teach a 4-credit DH 101 course. With strong university leadership and faculty support behind the emerging DH program, what could go wrong? As a lab course for the humanities, each DH Studio is paired as a co-requisite with a humanities course. Functioning as a lab component, DH Studio addresses the need for in-depth learning of digital topics without sacrificing class time from the humanities courses. The aim is to provide students with the conceptual foundation and practical experience to understand why they’re using certain digital methods and tools in their assignments and research projects. Our pedagogical innovation is failing in one key area: enrollment. Even with a highly collaborative faculty and the dean of the college as a champion for DH, logistical concerns like registration and degree requirements curtail enrollment in the new courses. The lessons we learned while developing and teaching DH Studio and a more extensive DH 101 course have refocused our attention on student engagement. This presentation will cover motivations and practical considerations for developing curriculum based on digital scholarship in a liberal arts environment. Presenters: Mackenzie Brooks, Jeff Barry Building a DH Community of Practice in the Liberal Arts College Library At the Claremont Colleges, a consortium of five undergraduate liberal arts colleges and two graduate universities, the library is not just a container for Digital Humanities events. Claremont librarians have made it a vital center to foster digital scholarship among librarians, faculty, and students interested in integrating digital technology in their instruction and research. Through planning and facilitating symposia, workshops, a summer institute, and an introductory short course for faculty, librarians have become an integral part of the DH community and digital skilling process at the Claremont Colleges. To meet the needs of interested but inexperienced faculty members, the library offered a six-week course to introduce Digital Humanities methodologies. Each week we examined a different trend or methodology, including data visualization, spatial and temporal pattern finding, network analysis, and topic modeling. Through our conversations, we interrogated the underlying epistemologies of the theories and technologies under investigation, as well as how those tools and approaches might support our own scholarship and pedagogy. Librarians were also actively involved in planning the Claremont Colleges’ inaugural DH Spring Symposium and Summer Institute this year. Sharing their expertise with the interested and growing DH community at the colleges, they offered workshops on digitization best practices, copyright and fair use, sharing scholarship online, digital pedagogy and instructional design, responsible digital citizenship, and developing one’s digital identity. In this way, Claremont Colleges librarians are offering services, in alignment with the library’s traditional mission. Just as importantly, they are positioning themselves as experts in their own right, as well as potential digital scholarship collaborators on faculty projects. What is more, over the next two years, the library will launch several of its own digital scholarly projects based on special collections materials to participate in knowledge production and to train undergraduate and graduate students in digital humanities research and publication. Presenter: Ashley Sanders, Ph.D

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