Julia Fox

(I know this is fairly long and I had some trouble writing it…but I guess that’s the point of a rough draft?)

Before coming to Bloomsburg University, I wasn’t even aware there was a field of study called Digital Humanities. In fact, the first day I sat in Dr. Schlitz’s class and she began speaking about the topic, I almost panicked. If there was an entire class dedicated to DH, there must have been something I was missing out on. How could Digital Humanities have evaded me after eighteen years of immersing myself in not only the humanities, but also technology?

However, once I began to get to know my peers better, I discovered an interesting development: none of them had heard of Digital Humanities either. In fact, they had harbored the same feelings that first day that I was so sure were exclusively my own. After my initial feelings of relief, another thought came to me. How is it that, in the era of digital communication, so few digital natives have been introduced to this field?  Why is the body of work  that defines digital humanities made up of pieces written by individuals who are immigrants to this age? I’m not saying the work is not credible; I am simply stating that it would make a lot of sense for people my age to be involved in digital humanities. That is why I believe digital humanities should be taught at an undergraduate level, open to any college student who desired to be more informed. It is our future, but unfortunately, it is a future of which so few people are aware. Digital Humanities needs to be a part of college curriculums across the nation in order to educate students about not what has happened, not what has worked for previous generations that had such different lifestyles and values than us, but what works for us and what we, as a digital generation, need to succeed.

I am typing this in the midst of studying for my other exams. When I say studying, I mean I am copying information from slide shows my professors compiled from textbooks I never opened and read verbatim to the class. Right now you are probably thinking of me as a lazy college student, “What, she never even opened her book!? What kind of a student is she?” Trust me, I spent eighty dollars on it, I wish I had used it at least once. The need just never came, though, and that’s sad. What’s even worse is that it isn’t just me feeling this way. Most college student’s courses consist of regurgitating information that means nothing to them, that they have never fully investigated because they don’t need to. We copy the information displayed on a screen in a solitary way, then sit for hours practicing our rote memorization skills. What are we learning from that? Sure, the information gets in, but only to about half of the functioning brains in the room, and even then, those who can keep every piece of information read to them in their memory have never had experience working with other people or articulating their ideas, so they are still at a loss.

This is why we need Digital Humanities taught to us! It’s not a course centered in memorizing facts we most likely don’t want or need; it’s based on collaboration. It’s not concerned with dates and definitions that we can Google in seconds if need be; it’s main goal is to help us to understand the age we are living in and to think about our futures; to understand the field of humanities through means we are most familiar; to understand the age in which we are living.

Yes, math functions and chemical compounds are important. I simply believe that Digital Humanities is an important class to teach because it allows undergraduates to learn how to learn. It is a course about collaboration and how we will eventually be living our lives. We are children of the digital age; all of our children will be children of the digital age. This is a study that will continue to be important. The internet was devised as a way to share information with people more freely and easily. If that is where our futures are headed, why shouldn’t we learn about DH? We need to start as early as possible. That is why Digital Humanities should be an option to all students at the college level.

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