I was recently appointed to Romantic Circles’ new Pedagogies Advisory Board, a group of Romanticist digital humanists led by Kate Singer (Mt. Holyoke) and David Ruderman (OSU). The rest of our team includes Andrew Burkett (Union), Lindsey Eckert (Georgia State), myself, and Roger Whitson (WSU). We held our first Google Hangout this week to brainstorm ways to invigorate the content on the RC Pedagogies site. The Hangout was the highlight of my day, not only because I had the rare opportunity to see and chat with Romanticist colleagues I respect and adore and usually only see once or twice a year. As a group, we brainstormed a number of ideas that would enhance the website, if we choose to pursue them, and that also had special productive resonances for many of us as we prepare our syllabi for our own upcoming courses this Winter and Spring.
Here’s a catalog of our ideas and questions. Add further ideas or questions in the comment feed, and I will pass them on to the group!
- What might a virtual “lab” space for teaching include? Perhaps tools of particular use for Romanticists, like a poetry or figurative language visualization encoding tool, Voyant (Stéfan Sinclair & Geoffrey Rockwell), For Better For Verse (UVA), Juxta, and examples of how to use these tools perhaps in shorter and longer assignments. It might also include a corpus of encoded texts from RC, Shelley-Godwin Archive, ECCO-TCP, or other digital archives. Perhaps a place where we can interact with these encoded texts in various ways.
- A “github”-like aggregate for syllabi or assignments
- A project similar to Just Teach One that encourages teachers to assign lesser-known works of the Romantic era. How do we best do this? What resources might we need to provide to contextualize these works and to make instructors comfortable veering away from their expertise and the canon? Perhaps provide sample lessons and readings. There is concern that pairing a non-canonical with canonical texts provides a model that understudied works need the canon to stand on. We agreed that being able to search the non-canonical authors/texts list for keywords that describe the work would help teachers identify titles that pertain to their course coverage needs.
- “Bootcamps” or workshops for developing syllabus drafts
- Integrate the Press Forward bookmarklet for sharing material live
- Question: how do we find out who is developing what syllabi or working on other DH (pedagogy) projects? We discussed the NASSR Grad Student Caucus as a group to consult.
- Syllabus drafting workshops would be a great platform for developing mentoring relationships. We also discussed that it may be difficult to get untenured/contingent faculty and graduate students to share drafts of their work in certain settings.
- Create short videos or mp3 files with recorded lecture segments or “spots” — mini readings and interventions that anyone can borrow and show/assign their students. [My follow up note: imagine a collection of master “spots” in video files to assign for canonical works in their expertise? I imagine these as close readings. I am excited about this! We could film them at NASSR.]
- Cross-collaborations to build digital exhibits for the website that include students from multiple classes (multiple institutions) working on the same text. We agreed this may pose a problem of adding too much content to manage. We discussed a text like The Woman of Colour as a possibility.
- Roger’s inspired closing question: How can we use this platform/site to promote literature as both historical and presentist, as a cultural exchange with our students?
We welcome your feedback on these (rough) ideas as well as new ideas for the site.
Featured Image credit: Rodrigo Carvalho, https://www.flickr.com/photos/visiophone/14132949092/in/photostream/, no alterations.