DH FAQ (White Paper)

Overview

*What is Digital Humanities?

Reading and writing humanities texts while using 21st century technologies

 

*Examples of Digital Humanities?

Teaching students via social media, graphics, and shared writing spaces

Scholarly articles posted online containing links, images, video, and sound

Online archives of works by authors like Emily Dickinson and Plato

Using computers to discover features of texts the human eye can’t see

 

*Goals for Digital Humanities?

Provide students the knowledge and skills necessary for 21st century professional success

Define and promote technological literacy for students and teachers

 

*Purpose of a Digital Center?

Unify digital work in humanities across the university

Promote sharing and collaboration between departments, disciplines, and classes

Create an online presence for the university that is attractive and cutting-edge

 

*What’s in a Digital Center?

State-of-the-art computers, software, hardware, and technological equipment

Desks, chairs, and work-stations designed to be mobile and produce dynamic learning environments

 

*Implementation Costs and Timeline?

The budget for CNU’s Digital Center is approximately $500,000

University personnel seek to build the center prior to Fall/Spring Semester 2016

 

Introduction

Christopher Newport University’s Center for Digital Innovation in the Humanities (CDIH) will provide an advanced classroom setting that promotes both collaboration and extensive technological literacy. As a physical site to house the newly-created Digital Humanities minor (https://dwilicnu.wordpress.com/digihumanities/minor-program/), the CDIH will bring together faculty and staff from across the university — English, Communication, History, Fine Arts, Theater, Computer Science, Library, and more — to build collaborative and interdisciplinary opportunities for students of all majors.

Background / Problems

For humanities students to succeed in competitive job markets, they will not only need critical thinking, reading, and writing skills, but advanced techno-literacy and experience with collaborative invention in twenty-first century working environments.

Digital Humanities Centers (DHC), as defined by Diane Zorich, are spaces “where new media and technologies are used for humanities-based research, teaching, and intellectual engagement and experimentation.” This includes intellectual pursuits ranging from the computational analysis of texts to reimagining writing in relation to broadcasting, mapping, gaming, multimedia, online publishing, community intervention, and beyond. DHCs foster inventive scholarship and knowledge creation across the humanities and show how new media and digital technologies have the potential to change the humanities’ disciplines and subfields.

Solution

As one of the first DHCs at a small liberal arts college, CNU’s CDIH will set the standard — especially among its aspirant peer group in the Mid-Atlantic region — for promoting and incorporating the digital in university learning practices. Much like existing DHCs at research-driven universities, including UCLA’s Center for Digital Humanities, University of Nebraska’s Center for Digital Research in the Humanities, the University of Texas at Austin’s Digital Writing and Research Lab, and Columbia University’s Heyman Center for the Humanities, the CDIH will emphasize across-the-disciplines research and faculty-student projects with a focus on the changing nature of humanities study in this time of great digital remediation. It will likewise serve as a forum for intellectual discussion, debate, and presentation of ideas amongst students and scholars for articulating the theoretical significance of humanistic pursuits via multimodal means, exploring the significance of contemporary networked thought.

It will also serve as a space for technological pedagogical support for faculty, and a lab for developing applied technologies/finding novel uses for pre-existing devices and platforms.

Conclusion

CNU’s CDIH will be a student-centered, pedagogy-forward, interdisciplinary meeting place for inventive collaboration to occur. This will give students the experience and technological skills needed for outbound real-world success in any field.

Works Cited

Zorich, Diane. “A Survey of Digital Humanities Centers in the United States.” Council on Library and Information Resources, 2008. Web. 21 Sept. 2015.