Pontes into the Curriculum: Introducing DH pedagogy through global partnerships

Pamela Espinosa de los Monteros (espinosadelosmonteros.1@osu.edu), Ohio State University Libraries, United States of America and Joshua Sadvari (Sadvari.1@osu.edu), Ohio State University Libraries, United States of America and Maria Scheid (Scheid.31@osu.edu), Ohio State University Libraries, United States of America

This poster proposes a discussion on the challenges and lessons learned in the integration of digital humanities pedagogy into a traditional graduate foreign language course through a heterogeneous collaboration among global DH scholars and North American experts in geographic information systems (GIS), copyright, digital humanities, and area studies. Significant barriers of entry exist for humanities students and faculty attempting to introduce DH into their departments and classrooms. Uneven institutional infrastructure and programmatic presence of DH at universities leave faculty with the dilemma of simultaneously learning DH methods themselves and integrating DH pedagogy into the curriculum for their students. As such, DH methods can present real and perceived psychological and cultural barriers (Battershill and Shawna, 2017) that surpass the digital and technology competencies of students or faculty. Humanities departments recognize the value of DH methods, research, and the need to develop the next generation of DH scholars, but may lack in-house expertise to design the initial curriculum.

Partnership with the community of DH scholars, and the research library, may assist faculty member to overcome technological infrastructure and subject expertise lacking in their own departments. The proposed poster and case study will highlight a team based approach to introduce DH research and DH curriculum from the Lusophone world. Three DH methods were introduced including text-analysis, GIS, and text-encoding and transcription. Each method was paired with course content, DH literature, mediated exploratory assignments, and current DH research by scholars in the field. Sessions were team taught in workshop and lecture settings to provide students with both experimental learning models and theoretical background. DH curriculum was customized to meet the subject content of the Portuguese literature course and taught in both English and Portuguese.

The most significant and time-intensive DH assignment students completed during the course was the collaborative creation of an ArcGIS Story Map on the African diaspora of Lisbon. With the advent of web-based mapping platforms, user-friendly on-ramps exist for humanities scholars to integrate geovisualization and location-based storytelling into their research (Presner & Shepard, 2016), and this assignment was designed for students to recognize the utility of such a platform for their own work. After a brief introduction to some key GIS concepts and a hands-on tutorial, students collaboratively identified images and text associated with course topics to overlay points on a georeferenced historical map of Lisbon. In this way, students combined a growing knowledge of course subject matter, copyright considerations when identifying and incorporating suitable content, and newly-developed digital mapping skills to create an end product that differed from the more traditional written paper to which they might be accustomed. In collaboration with the faculty instructor, adjustments were made throughout the project to accommodate humanities students’ varying levels of technical and information literacy proficiencies in the classroom.

In this poster, we will address challenges faced by the team to blend and balance traditional and DH pedagogy, multilingual limitations of existing DH tools, and design of an exploratory assignment with specific disciplinary content. A focal point of the poster will be the role of each participant and timeline for the project’s implementation. By sharing our experiences in developing this introductory intervention, we hope to explore with attendees the ways in which DH methods, tools, and dispositions can be introduced into traditional foreign language humanities courses. This poster will outline lessons learned and promote discussion on unique challenges in curriculum design, collaborative instruction, and delivery of GIS DH instruction for a foreign language course.

Appendix A

  1. Presner, T., & Shepard, D. (2016). Mapping the geospatial turn. In S. Schreibman, R. Siemens, & J. Unsworth (Eds.),
    A new companion to digital humanities. Chichester, UK: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., pp 201-212.
  2. Battershill, C., & Ross, S. (2017).
    Using digital humanities in the classroom: a practical introduction for teachers, lecturers, and students. London: Blomsbury Academic.

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