New models for evaluating learning outcomes in digital humanities teaching
Awardees: Jeffrey Schnapp, Jessica Yurkofsky, Kyle Parry, and Matthew Battles (FAS-metaLAB)
Summary: Awardees will host a workshop around opportunities and challenges in digital humanities teaching, applying lessons learned to the assessment of metaLAB platforms.
Founded in 2011, metaLAB is a teaching and research innovation hub based at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School dedicated to exploring and expanding the frontiers of networked culture in the arts and humanities. As a number of its projects mature into curatorial platforms, media intensive scholarship, and tools for innovative pedagogy, there is increasing attention to a means for evaluating their impact. Jeffrey Schnapp, Jessica Yurkofsky, Kyle Parry, and Matthew Battles sought to generate new models for evaluating learning outcomes in digital humanities teaching: Do they scale? Do students and instructors use these tools in ways that motivate and enhance new learning? How do they change traditional classroom dynamics?
They hosted a May 2015 workshop, “Experimental Teaching as Design Practice,” for individuals with interest and/or expertise in evaluation practice both internal (e.g., Loeb, HKS, FAS, The Berkman Center) and external to Harvard (e.g., Bard, New School, RISD, Northeastern) to dialogue around opportunities and challenges in digital humanities teaching. The day-long session took place in the SciBox classroom in the Science Center. The group heard presentations on collective values, and spent the second half of the day in small groups generating responses to the questions raised around documenting evaluation practices in the digital humanities and configuring student roles to allow for more peer instruction.
One of the biggest successes of the day-long conversation was establishing a common vocabulary among the participants. The team intends to create a “tool kit” for instructors to use at the start of their course articulating the goals or values to bring to the course that may not be explicit in the syllabus. The tool kit might include exercises, some structured like games, to promote a “visual language” for instructors and students to have a conversation about the impact of projects, using the same language, and helping to construct a more complex statement about what they are trying to accomplish.