Within the Digital Humanities, a new wave of teaching has formulated thus creating an experimental methodology. This innovative pedagogy would be understood as more hands-on for both teachers students. Leigh Bonds proposes “while the means may differ from text-based assignments, the inquiry, problem solving, and collaboration remain consistent” (152). This new way of teaching coerces students into engaging and thinking about ideas, just as scholars do in their disciplines. Relatively new, DH has moved past the initial steps and moved into explicating this philosophy.
It isn’t the material that’s changing, rather, the way teaching is explicated. Dr. Crystal Lake contributes her projects toward this pedagogy in her undergraduate Great Books course. One class period was spent splitting up her students into small groups, giving each group a poster board and coloring materials. Each group was instructed to draw a map based on different three pages of Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe and at the end of the class, each poster was aligned into a timeline of events. The timeline portrayed the difference in setting and emotion constantly changing in the book. This activity engaged students in thinking critically about imminent and important details in the novel. It also gave students insight on aesthetic effects presented in literature.
Bonds explains “through ‘making’ and ‘doing,’ students ultimately gain a better understanding of DH work in humanities disciplines” (150). By allowing her students to engage in creative outlets, Lake contributes toward this “making” and “doing” philosophy of DH. This movement toward more student involvement also holds something valuable to the teachers. Instead of delivering knowledge to students, teachers now can partake with students in producing knowledge. Bonds terms this a “methodology of experimentation.” Teachers can collaborate with students on critical thinking in aesthetic ways, allowing teachers to also learn from the students.
Bonds, E. Leigh. “Listening in on the Conversations: An Overview of Digital Humanities Pedagogy.” The CEA Critic76.2 (2014): 147-157. Print.