Grace

I believe that teaching Digital Humanities to undergraduate students is critically important. Today’s college undergrads are part of a unique, new generation.  We have been immersed in this new climate every day, surrounded by the digitization of the world, and yet most students probably know very little about the actual study of Digital Humanities.  We spend hours each day on the computer, surfing the web and watching Youtube videos, yet we spend very little time actually reading books or studying.  The area of Digital Humanities brings these two practices together and, hopefully, makes scholarly work more attractive to those of us who are digital natives.

Today’s students love technology; in fact, they cannot live without it (or so they say).  It is astounding, then, that so little is being done to truly integrate technology into new teaching and learning practices.  While computers for the teacher and a projector focused on a screen may help the instructor to show, say, a Powerpoint, that practice is far from innovative.  What the students of the day need is something that engages them, something that presents information in a way that is interesting and up to date.  Mostly, students of today are different, and they need to be taught how they learn so that information actually sinks in. Teaching Digital Humanities to undergrads can be beneficial because it gives insight into how the onset of technology has changed our world, and how we can change with it.

I am aware of our generation’s immersion in technology, but our involvement with new science seems to be mostly frivolous. I know that, as of now, students are more likely to download a movie then view an image of an ancient manuscript.  Though learning Digital Humanities does not need, as a goal, to turn its students into scholars, it can prompt them to make their work a little more worthwhile. The study of humanities is truly an art form, and if this practice is not passed on to the next generation, using the new tools that we are accustomed to and can use easily, the art form will be lost.

As most college students would, I went into this class blindly.  Though that made a class named Digital Humanities seem daunting, it was an incredibly worthwhile endeavor. As I said, we are completely surrounded by technology.  We are not, however, using this amazing tool to its full potential.  I feel as though my use of a computer is much more structured, and I seek out more useful, impressive material.  I frequently think of the principles for something that “is DH” when looking on sites.  I have gained invaluable information about things such as XML and visualizations of which I had not known the merit before.  All in all, though I came into this class blindly, I feel that I, and all of my classmates, have come out of the class as a more knowledgeable and well-rounded individual who is ready to spread the news about DH.

And… clearly this is an important task that scholars are grappling with: how do we teach undergrads DH?

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