Digital Pedagogies and Public Humanities
Instructor: Dr. Crystal B. Lake
Twitter: @theinspirelab
Instagram: the.inspire.lab
#digped, #inspirelab

Course Description: This course is an experiment and an intervention. It seeks to linger in and to be inspired by the methods and findings of the digital humanities (experiment) in order to consider new ways of engaging with students in the literary studies classroom (intervention). Yet this course is not a course on (nor even exactly in) the digital humanities. Instead, this course identifies a cluster of emergent concerns in literary studies that draw on or share the concerns of digital humanists (surface and distant reading, design, big data, and the popular, public reading of literature). Doing so, I believe, presents opportunities for radically new ways of not only reading, but also for teaching literature.

Within digital humanities, there has been considerable debate about who, exactly, is a digital humanist and what, exactly, constitutes digital humanism. Often, this debate has pivoted on questions of creation, co-option, and criticism – the digital humanists who make the things, versus those who use the things, versus those who study the things. As digital humanists themselves have often recognized in the course of these debates, pedagogical concerns have slid too easily into the background as the digital humanities organizes itself into a discipline in its own right (or attempts to resist such disciplinarity). Seizing on these questions of creation, co-option, and criticism, this course explores the ways in which the digital humanities’ commitment to making, using, and studying might be productively hacked for pedagogical purposes which, in turn, have implications for literature in the popular, public sphere.

Required Texts:

Many assigned readings will be placed on the course reserve site or linked to on the course schedule page. Please read these with the kind of thoroughness and care you would devote to paper copies. I recommend printing these readings so that you may annotate them and refer to them directly in class discussion.

Grading Criteria:

Final Teaching Portfolio with Statement of Teaching Philosophy (40%)
Maintain Inspire Lab Blog and Twitter Feed (30%)
Think Tank Lab Practicum, including Planning/Observation/Reflection Journal (20%)
Participation (10%)

Course Policies:

Attendance: Because this is a graduate seminar, it is crucial that you attend every class session. You may miss one class session without penalty; after the first absence, however, your grade will be lowered according to the percentage of the class you have completed by attending. For example, if you miss three total classes (out of our 14 scheduled class sessions), you have attended 79% of the class, and you can expect to see a 21% deduction from your final grade that takes into account the number of classes you have missed. Therefore, if you earn a grade of 92% (A), your final grade will be lowered to 72.6% (C). Your participation grade will also suffer. Missing a scheduled “Think Tank Lab” session for ENG 2040 will count as missing 1/2 of a seminar session. If you have an emergency that will keep you from attending class, please let me know as soon as possible. I can’t promise that I will accommodate you, but I may be able to help you get in touch with an administrator who can help you to complete this and the other courses that will have been affected by your emergency. Please note, however, I will do this only in the most dire of circumstances (a death in your immediate family, a major illness requiring hospitalization, etc).

Academic Integrity: “It is the policy of Wright State University to uphold and support standards of personal honesty and integrity for all students consistent with the goals of a community of scholars and students seeking knowledge and truth. Furthermore, it is the policy of the university to enforce these standards through fair and objective procedures governing instances of alleged dishonesty, cheating, and other academic misconduct.” The policy defines plagiarism as “Quoting, paraphrasing, or otherwise using the words or ideas of another as your own without acknowledging or properly citing the other.”

The policy then defines the processes by which faculty may pursue allegations of academic misconduct and potential sanctions on students who violate the policy. This part of the policy may be found here. Assignments submitted by students that violate Wright State’s Academic Integrity policy will automatically be reported and assigned a grade of 0.

Students with Disabilities: If you anticipate needing accommodation for a disability in this course, please register with the Office of Disability Services and plan to meet with me during the first week of the quarter to talk about how we can work together to ensure that you succeed in the class.

Email: I try to respond to emails in a timely manner, but it may take me up to 48 hours to respond to your email, and you should plan accordingly. Before you email me, however, please take a moment to see if your question(s) might be answered by reviewing the syllabus and other course materials, or by doing a Google search for your question. Additionally, I ask that you please do not email me regarding your attendance – except in the case of an emergency that will require me to help you get in touch with an administrator or Student Services. In other words, you do not need to alert me to any and every absence, and you should contact a classmate to find out what you may have missed. Sometimes, emails from students do end up in my spam folder. If you required a response and did not receive one in 48 hours, be sure to ask if I’ve received your email in class so that we can make sure the lines of communication between us are open. It is a good idea to conduct your email correspondence with me and your other instructors in a professional manner; use a conventional, formal letter address (Dear Dr. or Professor….) and make sure that you include your full name so that your reader knows who you are. Finally, you are responsible to keeping track of your attendance and your grades in the course; I do not tally or calculate these until the end of the semester in order to maintain a standard of objectivity.

Turning in Work: Work is due at the time and day as stated on the syllabus. Technological difficulties such as a broken printer, a failed hard drive, or a disrupted internet connection are not acceptable excuses for late work. Likewise, I cannot make exceptions to my late work policy if you’ve forgotten crucial class materials. I recommend that you complete your work before the deadline so that a catastrophic loss of data or an untimely illness does not result in a total loss. I also recommend that you download and install Dropbox as a way to protect your work for the course. Late work will receive a grade of 0 in order to mirror professional climates: missing a deadline for a job application, project report, or appointment will mean that you cannot take advantage of those opportunities and that you have compromised your professional reputation. I only make exceptions to this policy for documented emergencies (a death in your immediate family, a serious illness requiring hospitalization). Unless otherwise specified, I do not accept work via email. All work must be printed, stapled, and handed in in hard copy.

Class Ethos: This course aims to mirror professional climates in order to prepare you for work outside of the college classroom. Please approach your relationship with your professor, your peers, and your work as if you were in a professional setting. You might imagine, for example, that class sessions are like business meetings where we meet to establish facts and best practices, brainstorm ideas, conduct critical conversations, learn to navigate rules and procedures, and strategize about fulfilling project goals. You should come to class sessions prepared, then, to offer productive comments on assigned readings, respond to your professor and peer’s ideas with thoughtfulness and respect, and ask questions that are meaningful. You should avoid inviting speculation about your work ethic that will inevitably arise if you seem distracted by electronic devices like cell phones and laptops, if you seem unprepared, if your personal life consistently interferes with your work, if you cannot stay on task during small-ground activities, and if you are unable to meet deadlines. Likewise, you should undertake work for the course – ranging from assigned readings to in-class activities to written assignments – as if you were conducting that work in a professional environment where your performance will be evaluated and decisions about promotions and projects will be based on the competencies and professionalism you demonstrate.