ENGL 723 - Georgetown Digital Commons

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ENGL 723 The Problem of Learning and the Digital Humanities

T 6-8 Car Barn 301

Teaching Team: Randy Bass, Edward Maloney, William Garr and Robyn Russo

Texts:

Marie Laure-Ryan,

Avatars of Story

James Paul Gee,

What Video Games Have to Teach Us about Learning and Literacy

Greg Ulmer,

Internet Invention: From Literacy to Electracy

Michael Lesy,

Wisconsin Death Trip

Articles, essays, digital resources, installations, games, etc.

This course will look at new media representations of culture through the lens of learning. On the one hand, we will explore how certain core ideas in the study of literature and culture—such as those related to reading, textuality, narrative, and encoded meaning—can be understood in the context of digital representations; at the same time we will focus our inquiry into these questions through practical and conceptual frameworks for understanding how people learn, in formal and informal environments. In looking at the intersection of these two fields—digital humanities and research on learning—our focus will be both on imagining the future of pedagogy in the humanities and understanding how a scholarship of teaching and learning could inform ongoing inquiry into the impact of innovation. As such, this course is primarily a design course with a

studio

emphasis: We will understand the history, theory and practice of new media through our study and creation of new media designs. From the beginning we will engage in the creation of digital materials as expressions of disciplinary and interdisciplinary knowledge, focusing both on linear narratives (digital storytelling) and non-linear applications (gaming and hypermedia environments).

Course Goals:

1.

2.

Develop a personalized framework for evaluating and designing pedagogies (and materials used in pedagogies) for whatever learning and knowledge contexts are relevant to your interests.

In order to accomplish those two primary goals we need to engage in the following:

3.

Explore how certain core ideas in the study of literature and culture—such as those related to reading, textuality, narrative, dialogue, and encoded meaning—can be understood separate from the “accidents of literacy” and in the context of digital media culture;

Imagine the future of pedagogy in the humanities and understanding how a scholarship of teaching and learning could inform ongoing inquiry into the impact of innovation.

ENGL723 (Spring 2008) 1

4.

Develop practical and conceptual frameworks for understanding how people learn effectively, in formal and informal environments;

5.

Understand something about the history, theory and practice of new media, especially relating to culture and the humanities;

6.

Have some personal experience both engaging in close readings of digital cultural materials and creating digital representations as expressions of disciplinary and interdisciplinary knowledge, focusing both on linear narratives (e.g., digital storytelling) and non-linear applications (e.g., gaming and hypermedia environments).

Student Work:

Course Concept Wiki for a New Pedagogy in the Humanities

Course Blog Postings

Wide Images, Mystories, Digital Stories, Dialogic critical reflections

Critical Pedagogical Practice Portfolios (CP3)

Portfolio of components of a digital pedagogy include: o

Intellectual framework o o o o

Sample wide image site(s) revealing framework

Practices for critical reading of the digital

Practices for critical authoring/creating

Digital prototype/models

Course Outline

Unit I: Rethinking Knowledge and Learning in the Humanities in Digital

Media Culture

The first half of the course is designed to be relatively

convergent

in that we will mostly be doing the same reading, analyses, and building a base knowledge together. The emphasis is on reading and concept building, and secondarily on

constructing

digital projects and designing pedagogical frameworks. Separating core elements of the humanities from the “accidents of literacy”

Ongoing Student work

Create Wiki nodes on key terms/idea clusters in teams. Map class interests as well as baseline vocabulary and key issues.

1/15:

Introduction and Overview

pre-reading: Jan Meyer and Ray Land, “Threshold Concepts and Troublesome

Knowledge: Linkages to Ways of Thinking and Practising within the disciplines”

ENGL723 (Spring 2008) 2

pre-posting: What is an example of a threshold concept and troublesome knowledge in the humanities?

1/22:

Image, Narrative, Dialogue

Introduction from Ulmer, first two sections from Bruner, and “Paulo Freire” by hooks

Project: one image that represents a threshold concept; wide image with context piece

1/29:

Image

(visual culture, image and meaning, metaphor)

Readings: Greg Ulmer,

Internet Invention: From Literacy to Electracy

(ch. 1-2)

Project: using slideroll or the blog create a 3-5 image paragraph definition a mystory definition of your threshold concepts; write up a context similar to the student reflections in the Ulmer; post both to the blog.

2/5:

Narrative

(story-telling, culture, cognitive approaches to narrative)

Readings: Marie Laure-Ryan,

Avatars of Story

; Jerome Bruner, “The Narrative

Construction of Reality”; David Herman, “Stories as a Tool for Thinking”

Project: begin work on digital story: text/image; one minute, 90 seconds; micronarrative

2/12:

Transmedial Knowledge: Image, Narrative, Archive

Case:

Wisconsin Death Trip

Readings: Michael Lesy, Wisconsin Death Trip; Film: Wisconsin Death Trip;

Performance (Gonda Theater): Wisconsin Death Trip, Tim Raphael, et. al.

Project: digital story: text/image; 3 minute micronarrative

Either (a) story of your experience learning your threshold concept or (b) teaching the threshold concept in the fullness of the experience of knowing

2/19:

Principles of Good Learning I: Threshold Concepts, Liminality and Uncertainty

Meyer and Land (2005), “Threshold Knowledge and Troublesome Knowledge(2):

Epistemological considerations and a conceptual framework for teaching and learning.”

(on blog)

In-class: discussion of readings, Shulman on uncertainty; look at select digital models; review each other’s designs/ drafts.

2/26:

Dialogics

(dialogue, ideology, engaged learning and inquiry): narrative and non-narrative designs for digital learning environments.

ENGL723 (Spring 2008) 3

Readings: Paolo Freire,

Pedagogy of the Oppressed

(ch 2-3); Readings: José Alfonso

Feito, “

Allowing Not-Knowing in a Dialogic Discussion” http://www.georgiasouthern.edu/ijsotl/v1n1/feito/ij_feito.htm

Projects Due: Micro-narratives on threshold concepts.

Projects start: Imagine a design for a dialogic discussion/ re-interpretation of your micronarrative on your threshold concept; critical reflection on how a dialogic interpretation differs from a narrative one; You will not build the dialogic version, just imagine/design one.

3/4: SPRING BREAK

3/11:

Pedagogies of Electracy

Visit by Greg Ulmer, University of Florida

Reading: Greg Ulmer,

Internet Invention: From Literacy to Electracy

Project designs and studio reflections due: Dialogic designs and reflection on studio segment due.

Unit II: The Problem of Designing for a New Pedagogy of the Humanities

The second half of the course is designed to be relatively

divergent

in that students will primarily be working on their Critical Pedagogical Practice Portfolios, which include intellectual rationale, pedagogical designs, and digital models/prototypes. The emphasis is primarily on independent work on “projects” and frameworks, and secondarily on readings, discussion, and group critique.

As of the opening of the semester, the details of the second half are being left open so that the class can determine, in collaboration with the teaching, what is the best use of class time and content of readings.

3/18:

Principles of Good Learning II: Situated Learning and Digital Media

Readings: Gee, Bruner; The Impermanence Agent: Project and Context. Introducing the idea of the Critical Pedagogical Practice.

Student work: Evaluation of a digital learning environment/resource: its learning values and potential as Critical Pedagogical Practice

3/25:

Principles of Good Learning III:

Gaming, Game Structure, and Situated Learning

ENGL723 (Spring 2008) 4

Readings (possibilities):

Ryan, Chapters 7 and 8; Gee, remaining chapters; additional readings on gaming

4/1, 4/8, 4/15, 4/22:

Open and to be shaped by spring break (and by class)

Develop Critical Pedagogical Practice Portfolios

Readings and Close Readings

Studio development & idea exchange

Group critique

FINAL: Critical Pedagogical Practice Portfolios due May 10

ENGL723 (Spring 2008) 5

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