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Session Overview
#SG1: Pedagogical Approaches to Teaching Digital Humanities Roundtable
Thursday, 25/Jul/2019:
2:00pm - 3:30pm

Session Chair: Helene Williams
Location: Salon 2 & 3, Grand Ballroom, Marriott City Center
capacity 108

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Pedagogical Approaches to Teaching Digital Humanities and Digital Scholarship: Common Ground and Collaborative Models for Faculty and Librarians

Helene Williams, Sarah Ketchley

University of Washington, United States of America

The discipline of digital humanities, and digital scholarship more broadly, is fluidly defined. Frequently considered non-traditional in nature, it resists straightforward approaches to pedagogy and learning. Centers for digital scholarship are often housed in the library, staffed by librarians expected to have skills ranging from traditional librarianship, technical expertise, digital project development and management, and provide training, workshop development and education. Humanities faculty teaching with or about DH tools and methodologies may draw on librarians for support in developing their digital humanities curricula, but more often develop course materials without taking advantage of overlapping expertise and experience.

This roundtable will consider whether it possible to determine a core set of skills to successfully work and research in the field of digital humanities. Can we identify a pathway for educators to present these skills to their students and in doing so define best pedagogical practices for classroom instruction, and for learning? These questions will be considered from the perspective of faculty-led DH courses situated in humanities departments, and librarian-led digital librarianship and digital scholarship courses in an MLIS program.

While there are frequently intersections between the content and technology required to work successfully in the fields of academic and library digital scholarship, there are also subtle differences in library vs. faculty roles. Digital librarians need to understand both analog and digital worlds, and the different relationships they will have with both the technology and its end users. They need to be conversant in digital scholarship writ large, to facilitate and support digital scholars in multiple disciplines. Librarians may know five mapping tools and have a good grasp of print and digital resources across the humanities, but they are usually not experts in specific subfields or tools, focusing more on resource awareness and facilitating the setup and operation of tools than the process of research as such. By contrast, faculty often choose one tool to work with to support their research goals and go deeply into their subject and the workings of this tool. Training in digital librarianship emphasizes breadth, while faculty research and teaching focus on depth. Another key difference is that librarianship research methods emphasize the ‘meta’ aspect of data: where does it come from? What are the ethics and values of data-driven research?

Roundtable participants will consider the pedagogy underpinning digital humanities and digital scholarship programs across a variety of classroom situations including in-person, virtual and hybrid offerings. We’ll highlight pedagogical practices that have been successful in the panelists’ experience, as well as those that have been less so. We will explore the value of identifying common pedagogical ground in an effort to develop curricular materials and teaching strategies that are relevant for digital scholars and librarians, and taught by specialists from both fields, with the goal of making DH pedagogy an engaging experience. We’ll also discuss the question of what department(s) are the best homes for DH/DS education in both undergraduate and graduate settings, addressing the issue of balance between technology and subject matter expertise.

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