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Stand and UnfoldYourself: MOOCs,
Networked Learning, and the Digital Humanities
Jesse Stommel (@Jessifer)
“The work of pub...
I have Shakespeare tattooed on
my forearms. On my right arm is
the first line from Hamlet in binary
code. On my left arm is...
The Digital Humanities
The DIGITAL HUMANITIES is as much about reading humanities texts
with digital tools as it is about ...
Photo by flickr user Emmanuel Amador
What counts as digital humanities is work that doesn’t police the
boundaries of what c...
The Public Digital Humanities
The PUBLIC DIGITAL HUMANITIES is built around networked learning
communities, not repositori...
Photo by flickr user Marti
"If digital humanities is going to engage the humanities, it is precisely
in that moment of enga...
Teaching the digital humanities is not equivalent to digital
pedagogy.The evolution of DH, though, intersects at key
point...
There is a not-so-subtle distinction between Digital
Humanities, Digital Teaching, Digital Rhetoric, and Digital
Pedagogy....
Photo by flickr user henry grey
Pedagogy is itself a discipline with a long history and its own
literature, but is also, as...
“To bracket pedagogy in critical discussions of the digital humanities or
to completely exclude it from these discussions ...
The Digital Humanities has turned its face away from key
moments in its own history.
Photo by flickr user Fio
“I don’t know a single digital humanist who likes MOOCs.”
~ from the audience at the MLA Dark Side of DH panel in 2013
Pho...
“If we insist that MOOCs are not part of DH, then we have a scandal on
our hands. For we cannot have it both ways.We canno...
What I believe exuberantly is that we need to be more thoughtful and
critical in our engagement with online learning in al...
“It is possible to think critically about technology without running off to the
woods — although, I must warn you, it is p...
Returning to Shakespeare’s question: Who’s there inside a MOOC?
How can the necessary reflective dialogue flourish within fu...
While the primary instructors have 60+ years of experience teaching
Shakespeare among us, we will not be serving as talkin...
In Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Paulo Freire argues against the banking
model, in which education “becomes an act of deposit...
MOOCs and Critical Pedagogy are not obvious bedfellows.
Photo by flickr user Fio
In place of the banking model, Freire advocates for “problem-posing
education,” in which a classroom or learning environme...
Some critics of MOOCs hold that these massive courses cannot possibly be interactive, and
certainly not at the level of th...
MOOC MOOC ran in August 2012 with over 600 registered participants and
again in January 2013 with over 1000 registered par...
The MOOC is not a thing. It’s a strategy.
Photo by flickr user Fio
Photo by rromer
“The classroom, with all its limitations, remains a location of possibility. In
that field of possibility w...
“We often ignore the best resource for informed change, one that is
right in front of our noses every day—our students, fo...
moocs.wisc.edu
@Jessifer
Stand and Unfold Yourself: MOOCs, Networked Learning, and the Digital Humanities
Stand and Unfold Yourself: MOOCs, Networked Learning, and the Digital Humanities
Stand and Unfold Yourself: MOOCs, Networked Learning, and the Digital Humanities
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Stand and Unfold Yourself: MOOCs, Networked Learning, and the Digital Humanities

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I have Shakespeare tattooed on my forearms. On my right arm is the first line from Hamlet in binary code. On my left arm is the latter half of the second line of Hamlet in hexadecimal code.

The first line of the play, “Who’s there?,” does several things: quite literally, the speaker asks the listener on stage to identify herself; when performed, the line is also spoken to the off-stage or off-screen audience, calling attention to their simultaneous presence both within and outside the world of Shakespeare’s play; finally, it is a deeper question from Shakespeare about the nature of being. The question takes on a new and different set of potential meanings when it is read on the screen of a computer, iPad, Kindle, or smart phone, forcing contemporary readers of Shakespeare to question the nature of their own humanity in the face of rapid technological changes. Just as who we are as humans could be contained and expressed in the language of a theatrical play, now we must also consider who we become when our selves are reduced to the flurry of 1s and 0s that constitute us in our Facebook profiles, Tweets, and text messages. No matter which medium or device we use to encounter a play like Hamlet, no matter what self we bring to the encounter, Shakespeare continues to ask these questions of us, continues to ask who we are, what we see, and how we know.

Published in: Education

Stand and Unfold Yourself: MOOCs, Networked Learning, and the Digital Humanities

  1. 1. Stand and UnfoldYourself: MOOCs, Networked Learning, and the Digital Humanities Jesse Stommel (@Jessifer) “The work of public engagement comes not after the scholarship, but as part of the scholarship.” ~ Steven Lubar,“Seven Rules for Public Humanities” Photo by flickr user Fio
  2. 2. I have Shakespeare tattooed on my forearms. On my right arm is the first line from Hamlet in binary code. On my left arm is the latter half of the second line in hexadecimal code.The first line, “Who’s there?,” is both a literal question to the audience and a deeper question about what it means to be human. The second line,“Stand, and unfold yourself,” wonders at humanness but worries at its edge.
  3. 3. The Digital Humanities The DIGITAL HUMANITIES is as much about reading humanities texts with digital tools as it is about using human tools to read digital texts.At the center of the digital humanities should be an emphasis on individual and collective agency, which means advocating for marginalized teachers, scholars, and students.This is how DH can and should innovate, not through competition, clearcutting, and hype cycles, but by listening intently to more (and more diverse) voices.
  4. 4. Photo by flickr user Emmanuel Amador What counts as digital humanities is work that doesn’t police the boundaries of what counts as digital humanities.
  5. 5. The Public Digital Humanities The PUBLIC DIGITAL HUMANITIES is built around networked learning communities, not repositories for content, and its scholarly product is a conversation, one that engages a broad public while blurring the distinction between research, teaching, service, and outreach.
  6. 6. Photo by flickr user Marti "If digital humanities is going to engage the humanities, it is precisely in that moment of engaging larger publics." ~ Dean Rehberger, on a panel at MLA 2015
  7. 7. Teaching the digital humanities is not equivalent to digital pedagogy.The evolution of DH, though, intersects at key points with the development of educational technologies and innovative pedagogies in the humanities.A history of DH should track and theorize this overlap. Photo by flickr user Fio
  8. 8. There is a not-so-subtle distinction between Digital Humanities, Digital Teaching, Digital Rhetoric, and Digital Pedagogy. DH and Digital Teaching are not successful unless they are also mindfully rhetorical and pedagogically reflective. No academic work lives in a vacuum without an audience, readers, collaborators, or students. Photo by flickr user Fio
  9. 9. Photo by flickr user henry grey Pedagogy is itself a discipline with a long history and its own literature, but is also, as Cheryl E. Ball writes, a space where “student and teacher, author and editor, reader and scholar learn from each other.”
  10. 10. “To bracket pedagogy in critical discussions of the digital humanities or to completely exclude it from these discussions reinforces an antagonistic distinction between teaching and research, in which the time, effort, and funding spent on the one cannibalizes the opportunities of the other.” ~ Brett D. Hirsch, Digital Humanities Pedagogy: Practices, Principles, and Politics Photo by flickr user Pedro Figueiredo
  11. 11. The Digital Humanities has turned its face away from key moments in its own history. Photo by flickr user Fio
  12. 12. “I don’t know a single digital humanist who likes MOOCs.” ~ from the audience at the MLA Dark Side of DH panel in 2013 Photo by flickr user Ray Smith
  13. 13. “If we insist that MOOCs are not part of DH, then we have a scandal on our hands. For we cannot have it both ways.We cannot insist that we are open to all comers who have an interest in forging a synthesis between digital technologies and the humanities and then exclude those efforts to which we have an instinctive aversion.” ~ Rafael Alvarado, “Are MOOCs Part of the Digital Humanities?” Photo by flickr user Sunchild57 Photography.
  14. 14. What I believe exuberantly is that we need to be more thoughtful and critical in our engagement with online learning in all its varieties. MOOCs are not one thing. Digital Humanities is not one thing.To imagine that they are is, well, just bizarre. Photo by flickr userValerie
  15. 15. “It is possible to think critically about technology without running off to the woods — although, I must warn you, it is possible that you will never be quite so comfortable again about the moral dimensions of progress and the part we all play in it. I know that I’m not.” ~ Howard Rheingold, “Technology 101” Photo by flickr user SergeyYeliseev
  16. 16. Returning to Shakespeare’s question: Who’s there inside a MOOC? How can the necessary reflective dialogue flourish within fully online courses, within social media platforms, within MOOCs? Photo by flickr user Fio
  17. 17. While the primary instructors have 60+ years of experience teaching Shakespeare among us, we will not be serving as talking head “experts.” The heart of the course will be the community we build among the participants.
  18. 18. In Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Paulo Freire argues against the banking model, in which education “becomes an act of depositing, in which the students are the depositories and the teacher is the depositor.” Photo by flickr user Fio
  19. 19. MOOCs and Critical Pedagogy are not obvious bedfellows. Photo by flickr user Fio
  20. 20. In place of the banking model, Freire advocates for “problem-posing education,” in which a classroom or learning environment becomes a space for asking questions -- a space of cognition not information. Vertical (or hierarchical) relationships give way to more playful ones. Photo by flickr user Fio
  21. 21. Some critics of MOOCs hold that these massive courses cannot possibly be interactive, and certainly not at the level of the traditional classroom. Because of the sheer number of participants, facilitators can indeed be hard-put to set the table for meaningful discussion and collaboration. However, as analytics from MOOC MOOC demonstrate, interaction is not only possible, it has the potential to be far more dynamic in MOOCs than in on-ground courses.
  22. 22. MOOC MOOC ran in August 2012 with over 600 registered participants and again in January 2013 with over 1000 registered participants. During the first iteration of the week-long MOOC MOOC, there were over 6000 unique visitors to the course and almost 7000 tweets on the #moocmooc hashtag. “Analytics and #moocmooc” by Sheila MacNeill An interactive graphic representation of #moocmooc Twitter participation by Martin Hawksey Analysing threaded Twitter discussions from large archives using NodeXL by Martin Hawksey #moocmooc tagged twitter posts for first six days of MOOC MOOC by Andrew Staroscik
  23. 23. The MOOC is not a thing. It’s a strategy. Photo by flickr user Fio
  24. 24. Photo by rromer “The classroom, with all its limitations, remains a location of possibility. In that field of possibility we have the opportunity to labor for freedom, to demand of ourselves and our comrades, an openness of mind and heart that allows us to face reality even as we collectively imagine ways to move beyond boundaries, to transgress” (207). ~ bell hooks, Teaching toTransgress
  25. 25. “We often ignore the best resource for informed change, one that is right in front of our noses every day—our students, for whom the most is at stake.” ~ Martin Bickman,“Returning to Community and Praxis” Photo by flickr user tai chang hsien
  26. 26. moocs.wisc.edu @Jessifer

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