There is no denying the fact that a majority of America has no idea what Digital Humanities (DH) really is. This is largely in part due to the fact that the target demographic of DH is those in the later paths of their learning career. It is therefore baffling as to why the concepts of DH are not taught at the undergraduate level. The undergraduate aspect of college is really a point when students begin to learn in new ways, it is a dramatic shift in ones learning life. It is the perfect time for students to begin to learn of the importance of DH. If DH is to survive, it must reach out to those who are really the most digitally native, and that is those who are young.
If DH is as relevant to everyone as we like to believe, it is inexcusable that there are not more DH classes at an undergraduate level. To say that the the ability of DH thrive lies in those that were born and raised in a digital age, is is foolish to wait for them to come into h as older students. To reach out to the youthfulness of undergraduate students would be like reaching into a goldmine of creativity and ideas. These ideas are often times looked as wasted upon useless online forums and social networks, even calling this generation the “dumbest”. I ask then, why do we not inform and educate ignorant minds of the ways that the internet can be used to further their own knowledge?
It is important to look at what an undergraduate DH class would have to offer. In the simplest sense, the course would need to inform the students of what DH really is, letting them define if for themselves. It would also be important to not scare the students away with too much technical specifics. It would be best to look at this class as a introductory course that would allow a little dip into each pond of knowledge in the field of DH. Giving students a brief understanding of such things as TEI, XML, transcribing and what really constitutes something as DH.
If education is to leave the medieval levels that it currently resides in, then those that are currently in the system need to be involved in the process of developing a new system and they must be involved early.Who to be more interested in the flaws of how they are learning than those that are paying money to learn. It is in their best interest to find ways to learn that benefit themselves. A set of DH courses, or even just a single course, can act as a catalyst for an advance in educational advances.
Digital humanists often struggle with the definition of what DH is. Is it possible that this is because these academics and humanists are still being confined by their own mins? Was this group of scholars not raised in a world where computers were not asÂ dominantÂ as they currently are? Perhaps the definition of DH is much like the “bird’s nest in a rainbow” described by Peter Robinson in Effects of Digitalization on Ideas, Behaviours, Products and Institutions. Maybe those that are trying to define DH, really cannot because they are still confined by the limits of their own imagination, and the answer to this problem may lie in those who have grown up in a digital age, undergraduate students. Is it not important to reach out to these students as early as possible to foster interest in DH and help it to grow?