Isasza, "Composition aux pavés verts et gris." Source: Wikimedia Commons.

What is digital pedagogy?

Teachers who do Digital Humanities in the classroom conceive of their teaching as a place where theory meets praxis. To practice Digital Humanities in the classroom means that the teacher and her students must do more than merely use technology (or worse, be used by it).

Instead, digital technology should allow students and teachers to practice new ways of critical thinking, of asking new questions or old questions in new ways. At the same time, students and teachers apply critical thinking to ask questions about the technology they are using, about how it does or does not transform our understanding of a given question.

This twofold pedagogical process is commonly understood as Digital Pedagogy or Hybrid Pedagogy.

What is the difference between using technology in the classroom and doing Digital Pedagogy?

Most of us use some form of technology in the classroom. From PowerPoint presentations to clickers, digital tools have become nearly ubiquitous in the college classroom. Some disciplines have been using technology in their classrooms for a long time: statistical analysis and data visualization are intrinsic to fields in the social sciences and natural sciences; digital video and audio are the bread and butter of many courses in Communications. But there is an important distinction to be made between the use of technology to meet an end (e.g., the visualization of research results) and digital pedagogy.

The Basics of Digital Pedagogy

  • Evaluate:
    • Selecting a digital tool or platform should be the result of careful consideration.
    • Be aware of why this particular medium is appropriate for your pedagogical goals and how it will help you to meet them.
    • It is also crucial that you know who makes this medium and how their work is funded so that you can make an informed decision before endorsing a particular tool or platform.
    • If a tool or platform is not readily available either online or at the DH Lab, make sure you and your students can afford to buy it and that all your students have an equal opportunity to learn how to us it. Some students do no have laptops or twenty-four hour access to a computer. Practicing accessible digital humanities is at the core of our mission and we strongly encourage you to consider this as you plan your assignment or course. The Lab is always here to help!
  • Understand:
    • Know how this digital medium will inform and, crucially, transform how students ask questions in your classroom.
    • State the relationship between the assignment’s goals and the digital medium, and make time to discuss these in class.
    • Integrate critical reflection about the digital medium to the assignment or, if your course is entirely digital, then throughout the semester.
  • Collaborate:
    • Collaboration is central to the Digital Humanities. It provides an excellent means to redefine group work by asking students to collaborate in ways that both open up new avenues for conversation and allow them to practice being good members of their communities.
    • Many of our own resources come from teacher-scholars working at PLU and at institutions across the country, who have shared their syllabi or assignments with us.
    • Please always give credit to these very generous collaborators.
    • Consider sharing your assignments or your syllabi with us so that we can showcase it as one of our Pedagogy Resources or add it to our PLU Project Gallery.

Critical Reflection

Common misconceptions about the Digital Humanities assume that scholar-teachers who work in DH drank the Kool-Aid, that they are fierce technology advocates, and conceive of analog forms of knowledge production as antiquated or conservative. In reality, as Diane Jakacki and Katherine Faull state in their introduction to digital pedagogy, “one of the distinguishing features of a Digital Humanities course is the foregrounding of critique.”

  • One way of thinking about this is that in a Digital Humanities context, critical inquiry in the classroom involves not only asking questions about a particular object of study but also about the means–the digital tool or platform–a student is using to ask these questions.
  • We recommend integrating a critical reflection to any assignment that you create using digital technology where you ask students to inquire how the digital might have shaped the kinds of questions they asked and how they answered them; how it shaped their engagement with the object of study; how it might compare to other ways of asking and answering similar questions.

What you will find here

The resources we are collecting are meant to provide options for everyone: from beginners wondering how to integrate Digital Humanities into the classroom (some call this “digicuriosity”) to seasoned digital humanists who wish to go further.

We have organized the resources by category. You can access these from the main menu or by clicking the adjacent list. Each resource provides: a framework for why and how to create a specific kind of assignment; examples; links to get you going.

We will be adding resources gradually, but please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you are looking for something specific that is still not highlighted here or are curious about a digital tool or platform.