Incorporating digital projects into public history teaching

Hi everyone,

I have had a logistical problem arise that means that I will arrive late to THATCamp and won’t be able to “facilitate” or run this session.  However, I would like to put the idea out there in case it might interest someone else who could facilitate it.

I would like some help in thinking through issues of how to incorporate work on digital history projects into public history teaching.  Since 2009, I have been the scholarly advisor for Driving Through Time: The Digital Blue Ridge Parkway, a digital collection co-developed with the UNC-Chapel Hill Libraries.  I also teach Introduction to Public History each fall — UNC’s only dedicated public history course, which enrolls both undergraduates and a few grad students.

In the past three years, I have had students in the PH class working on projects related to Driving Through Time — in hopes of introducing them to digital history in a public history context and in hopes of harnessing some of their labor for the project.

My problem is that I have yet to scaffold their work on this in such a way as to fully realize these goals.  The technological learning curve is often steeper than I would have expected, and it’s been a challenge, too, to bring them up to speed on content quickly enough to have them produce quality work.  (All this is going on while they are also learning generally about public history.)

I’d love to hear ideas people have had that have worked well for incorporating technology-based, project-oriented work into public history teaching.  How can I scaffold effective tasks?  How can I best evaluate their work?  How can I manage the “teaching the technology” parts without overwhelming everyone?

If this fits in with interests that others have and someone else can facilitate, I’d love to join in when I arrive.  Look forward to seeing/meeting everyone!

Categories: Session Proposals, Teaching |
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About Anne Whisnant

By day, Deputy Secretary of the Faculty, UNC-Chapel Hill. Also, Adjunct Associate Professor of History. Sometime National Park Service consultant. Blue Ridge Parkway expert. Always a historian.