Introducing Freshmen to the Digital Humanities

Employees discussing project at Bell labs

I’ve been building a class with humanities colleagues at the University of New Haven. Before this class, none of these colleagues would have considered themselves digital humanists (some didn’t even know what digital humanities was). But as we met to discuss our research and teaching for the Arts and Humanities Research Series, I realized that many of my colleagues were incorporating technology into their teaching and research in ways that are very much in line with the digital humanities. And so we decided to build a DH Lab.

I always incorporate digital pedagogy into my courses, but that is not the same as introducing students to digital humanities as a field of study. Because we don’t expect that we will have enough students (or enough faculty) to build a robust undergraduate curriculum in DH, we have opted to introduce students to opportunities for faculty-mentored research through a 1-credit lab. This lightweight approach allows students to hear multiple faculty members (8 in the Fall 2019 semester) talk about their own research and the research they’ve done (or would like to do) with students. In the second half of the semester, students in the lab select one faculty member to work with one-on-one to build a project or plan one to be pursued in the future through an independent study or a summer research fellowship. The freshmen who were encouraged to sign up for the course by their first-year writing instructors (who also give presentations in the course) have been especially responsive to this opportunity, which is very encouraging. We’re currently working on the best way to alert students to this opportunity.

I’ll return to update this page once we have a sense of the projects they wind up putting together!