On Day 1 of a course, after I’ve given students essential information like my office hours and how to pronounce my name, I ask about their prior knowledge of the subject. In my introduction to Shakespeare, for instance, I ask which of his plays they read in high school, which they’ve seen in performance, and if they have a favourite (and why). And I ask what students hope to get out of the course, beyond fulfilling a requirement. Continue reading “Listening with Twitter”
Ramsay investigates the “digging into data” metaphor — widely used in the DH community because of its formalized support and recognition across multiple funding bodies. But this metaphor suffers (Ramsay writes) from what Neal Stephenson calls “metaphor shear“: essentially, we take it too literally. Continue reading “Methodical methodologies”
Is encoding text an act of literary interpretation, or of pattern recognition? Either way, is it quantifiable? And if so, can a computer do it as readily as a human reader?
Those are just a few of my questions after a week-long course in text encoding at the Digital Humanities Summer Institute 2011, with the wonderful Julia Flanders from the Brown University Women Writers Project, Doug Knox from the Newberry Library, and Melanie Chernyk from the Electronic Textual Cultures Lab at the University of Victoria. We learned how to encode texts in TEI. That means taking texts that look like this — Continue reading “Encoding (and) Interpretation”
Having decided to teach Shakespeare with Twitter this fall, I’ve been thinking about a few issues. If others occur to you, gentle reader, I’d be grateful for your solutions in the comments below.
Groupthink. Jonah Lehrer recently wrote about groupthink overshadowing–skewing–the wisdom of crowds. In sum, when you consult a group of people as individual thinkers, their aggregate response is remarkably close to the truth. But when they can see each other’s responses, there’s a reversion to the mean: “um, what she said.” Particularly when the question is vexing, or seems to have a right-or-wrong answer. Continue reading “Groupthink, multitasking, & other issues”
So it’s official, now: I’m teaching with Twitter in my English 205 (Shakespeare) course this fall.
How? By requiring all students to submit questions that the reading material provokes in them, after they’re finished reading a text. I’m explicitly not encouraging multi-tasking, or tweeting while reading; on the contrary, I underscore the benefits of solitude, of focus, of (as Milton put it) “the quiet and still air of delightful studies.” Continue reading “Teaching Shakespeare with Twitter”
What are digital humanists doing now with early modern books and manuscripts? Ann M Blair recently argued that medieval and early modern systems of “managing textual information in an era of exploding publications” are precedents for modern information management systems. Do early reference books, annotations and compilations inform, anticipate, or otherwise influence our computer-assisted thinking?
I’m going to try two online systems for managing student questions, on anything related to the course.
The first is Google Moderator, which I’d not heard of before I read a New York Times story today. In theory, this tool “lets a class type questions and vote for the ones they would most like answered.” I’m interested to see how it works in practice. Here’s the link.
The second is Quora, a sort of social network for questions and answers. Here’s the link to the Fall 2011 English 205 topic I started. Note that it uses the same code (F2011 ENGL205) as this blog, which I borrowed from Blackboard.
This post has been converted to a permanent page, so that I can nest contents related to the course there.
In the next few months (Summer 2011) I’ll begin repurposing this site to post teaching and research materials. That means my Twitter feed is no longer posted to the blog; that was a fine way to supply posts for the past few months (since last fall), but it will just clutter things up in the future.
My immediate plan is to launch a new collection of posts for materials related to English 205 (Foundations: Shakespeare) in Fall 2011. The posts will replace all the elements of a traditional course syllabus.