Friday, February 03, 2012

What do we call that "digital" thing that we want to teach?

I've been wrestling with the notion of an interdisciplinary academic program for undergraduates that engages students in thoughtful consumption of digital media, in production of scholarly and creative work in various forms of digital media, and in exploration and analysis of the implications of such media.  In trying to clarify my thoughts before I go talk to people about this idea at my school and elsewhere, I asked for help on Twitter.  The following is the conversation that emerged.  I'm still analyzing it--I'm clearly still stuck, for example, in my quest to find a term that captures much of what I like about "Digital Humanities", while including the social sciences and sciences as well--but I thought it might be useful to have the whole thing in one place for me and for anyone else who is interested.  I'd welcome any other comments or contributions to the discussion.


Mike Cosgrave said...

I caught part of that conversation, and meandered on my blog this morning about three things I trhink are central to our new model of research and teaching - using digital to ask new questions, how digital enables new colloaborative methods, and how digital enhances research based teaching at UG level. I think if you start with these three general questions it is easier to get an interdisciplinry perspective. I have, however, no good name for it, yet.

My ramble is here, if folks want to read it

Jeffrey McClurken said...

Thanks for your comments here and on your post. I think you've identified three core areas that I would agree with, but again, we're still left with the problem of defining a name for this field of study.

Ultimately, like it or not, the names we use to describe what we do matter.

But maybe the difficulty we are having naming this "digital thing" is related to Susan Garfinkel's tweet -- we aren't talking about a separate field or discipline, but about a set of skills and approaches that are discussed both within disciplines as well as "across the curriculum", much as writing and speaking skills are treated at most institutions.