Category Archives: Professional

Building Digital Humanities in the Undergraduate Classroom: MLA 2012 Roundtable

I’m excited to be showcasing some of my students’ fabulous Digital Mapping Projects at an Electronic Roundtable/”Show & Tell” session at MLA in Seattle this January.  You can visit the official website of the panel here and read the descriptions of all the projects on display.

Here’s my original proposal for the panel:

At Georgia Tech we are encouraged to teach composition as multimodal and to design assignments that incorporate all aspects of communication.  Gone is the mandated five-paragraph essay and in its place is the possibility of creating a blog, a Dipity time-line, a word cloud, or a Prezi.  My assignments frequently set up a series of tasks and objectives but allow students to complete those tasks in a variety of different ways, using their choice of digital format.

The space for creativity that this opens up has been exciting but challenging, and I will use my presentation to present some of the potential benefits I see in pushing student creativity to the forefront of the composition classroom along with some of the possible problems and pitfalls. For the display portion of the presentation I will showcase a “digital mapping” assignment from my current English 1102 “Literary London” course, along with the detailed assignment, the objectives, and the assessment rubric.  The maps the students are producing include both“geographical” maps like a Google map of locations and landmarks in Oliver Twist or an interactive, annotated map of Mrs. Dalloway’s journey around London, and “digital mapping” projects which visualize data such as the statistics on the plague victims in Defoe’s A Journal of the Plague Year or use word- and tag-clouds to analyze the occurrence of dialect and slang in Oliver Twist.

Some of the questions and problems implicit in my presentation, which I will address in my discussion or introduction, include:  To what degree should we expect our students to be creative or original?  Is there a place for that in the composition classroom? What are the problems with encouraging creativity in the classroom – does creativity mean  “free-reign” or “multiple submission formats,” or “harder to grade”?  Is there a point at which digital pedagogy becomes too much about the technology?  How do we insure that the students are cognizant of how these creative approaches to teaching and assignments are meeting the course objectives and, more importantly, how they are equipping them with the skills they need to succeed in all kinds of careers?

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Filed under Digital Humanities, Professional, Uncategorized

Falling into fall…

It’s hard to believe that fall semester is here — especially when it was 85 degrees here in Georgia yesterday.  But the semester has already begun and at Georgia Tech we already have the first week of the semester under our belts.  I’m looking forward to this semester – here’s an update on what I’ll be doing :

  • I’m teaching an English 1102 course on “Literary London.”
  • I was accepted into the Class of 1969 Teaching Scholars program at Georgia Tech — a semester long seminar along with a $1000 grant to implement a project related to “student engagement” into my spring class.
  • I’m presenting at 3 conferences this coming year:  the Victorians Institute Dickens conference in October, NAVSA (North American Victorian Studies Association) conference in November and MLA in January (I’m presenting on digital pedagogy).
  • I’ve become the Chair of the Social Media Committee and  Editor-in-Chief of the Brittain Fellows blog “TECHStyle” at Georgia Tech.
It’s going to be a busy semester, but I’m really looking forward to it!

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Filed under Miscellaneous, Professional, Teaching

Welcome!

Welcome to the Arcades.  I’ve created this space as a place for me to do some informal musing on topics related to my research and teaching, with the goal that frequent short writing will keep my ideas flowing and my writing skills honed.  In fact, just writing this introduction I’m having to think so much about the flow of my prose, what “voice” I should have in this space, how to organize spontaneous ideas into coherent posts – it’s already working!

I’ve titled this blog “The Arcades” because I envision it as a vast space to wander around, framed and supported by the many thrusts of my ideas and interests.  I also think of it as a Victorian space, a space designed to be both ornamental and eminently practical (many arcades were designed as shelters for pedestrians).  Arcades also make me think of Walter Benjamin’s Arcades Project, and — to bring in my interest in the digital — arcade games.  The picture on this blog’s header is of the Cleveland Arcade built in 1890 and captures the sense of space with structure that I hope this blog will be for me.

I’ll be writing about Victorian literature and culture as it relates to my research, but also as I see it intersecting with my other interests in Neo-Victorian and Steampunk literature, and my teaching in the digital humanities.  I can also envision posts dealing with general pedagogy, course design, and teaching with technology which are all topics I’ll be considering on a daily basis as I teach first-year English at Georgia Tech.  And finally, as a candidate on the job market, I will be chronicling my experience in the job search and using this site as a place to direct people who are interested in my teaching and research.

I’m also going to set myself some challenges related to reading and writing.  My first is my goal to complete a revision of an article draft that I have been working on this summer.  More on that to follow, but I will use this space to keep myself motivated about my writing and to set myself writing goals.  Secondly, I plan to write a weekly review on new journal articles and academic texts which relate to my research and to Victorian scholarship in general.  And finally, I have set myself a “Victorian Novel Challenge” — I’m planning on reading (or re-reading as the case may be) 50 Victorian novels (or collections of stories or poetry) by fall 2011.  I will post my reading list here and chronicle my progress in regular installments.  This would be a whole lot easier if I were a Modernist…

So, come on in, wander around, and say hello.  This is a big space, I wouldn’t mind some company.

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Filed under Books, Books, Books, Digital Humanities, Miscellaneous, Professional, Teaching, Victoriana, Writing about writing