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Introduction

In their introduction to the previous issue of The Journal of Interactive Technology and Pedagogy, the editors wrote of the profound and ongoing loss they felt assembling a collection of essays as the global crisis of COVID-19 unfolded. We have built Issue 18 under these same circumstances. This issue is a testament to the efforts of the JITP editorial community and our authors, who continued to collaborate on pedagogy scholarship amid increased burden. Its contributors, reviewers, editors, and stagers have endured radical shifts in their work and family lives—especially true for those who are caregivers and members of marginalized communities—and have fielded the emotional, economic, and physical toll of the pandemic. To be mindful of our colleagues’ current realities and our own, and to try to mitigate the pandemic’s often inequitable impacts, we attempted to be flexible with deadlines and offer increased opportunities for feedback where we could. We balanced this commitment with retaining JITP’s editorial workflow and publication schedule, which aims to provide space for the needs of early-career scholars as both editors and authors.

While these articles in some cases represent several years of work, a number of them speak specifically to how our teaching responds to such immediate external pressures. The COVID-19 pandemic has resurfaced some long-standing tensions about the role of educational technologies in teaching and learning. Instructors may be forced to adopt proprietary platforms that come with troubling implications for data privacy. An increasingly shifting landscape drives us to learn these new technologies while anticipating the continual changes in data standards, provenance practices, and platform ubiquity and ownership that will require future time and effort. Since exciting new research and teaching methods require extensive training, instructors set out to extend their network of collaborators and provide supportive infrastructure to this challenge. Individual scholars continue to incorporate technological and data literacy into their classes, impelling students to experiment with analytical practices that vary with institutional context and intellectual tradition.

A number of the articles deal explicitly with questions of loss, recovery, and intervention. In “Reading Texts in Digital Environments: Applications of Translation Alignment for Classical Language Learning,” Chiara Palladino argues for the creative use of translation alignment technologies as a means of facilitating Classical language learning. Classical studies requires that scholars attempt to synthesize information themselves without the benefit of consulting native speakers, and so Palladino offers translation pedagogy involving the comparison of multiple sources as a unique way of teaching slow, methodical information processing, a skill set particularly relevant to our present moment of information saturation. Palladino discusses a series of digital tools and assignments from her own course that, together, carry the pedagogical lesson that all reading is a reflective process. The translation process she describes does not establish one-to-one equivalences, but, rather, requires students to consider the “continuous dialogue between cultural and linguistic systems.”

In “Back in a Flash: Critical Making Pedagogies to Counter Technological Obsolescence,” Sarah Whitcomb Laiola seeks a similar remedy in the face of software expiration. As 2020 ends, so too does Adobe’s support of Flash, a medium in which e-lit has thrived. An NEH-funded project, AfterFlash, offers some balm to the loss, preserving access to texts born digitally in Flash and Shockwave, but it fails to preserve a means for generating them, and such generation, Laiola argues, is essential to student understanding of the texts themselves. She shares her experimentation to simulate that creative process, specifically investigating Stepworks as a classroom alternative, but also suggesting a path forward as one technology inevitably gives way to another. Preservation, after all, isn’t about rescuing only artifacts, but also the processes and pedagogies those artifacts enable.

Courtney Jacobs, Marcia McIntosh, and Kevin M. O’Sullivan are on a rescue mission of their own to collect and provide access to models of the printmaking tools of the past. In “Make Ready: Fabricating a Bibliographic Community,” they share their experiences creating 3Dhotbed, a repository of 3D-printable models, to investigate book production and printmaking. For scholars of book history, the files themselves can enable the critical hands-on work that has informed the discipline for nearly seventy years. The collection, though, is greater than the sum of its replicated parts. As the authors put it, “The future success of 3Dhotbed is not solely based on the volume, diversity, or rarity of individual items, but also on the ability of the platform to put these items in conversation.” Jacobs, McIntosh, and O’Sullivan’s work is meaningful to those outside their fields as well. In constructing 3Dhotbed, they have identified pitfalls and opportunities in navigating institutional partnerships, striking the balance between academic protocols and broader access, and continuing to expand the field beyond the Global North.

In “Using Wikipedia in the Composition Classroom and Beyond: Encyclopedic ‘Neutrality,’ Social Inequality, and Failure as Subversion,” Cherrie Kwok explores a different kind of loss—the damaging effects that can occur when attempts at neutrality gloss over difficult truths. Kwok invites instructors and students alike to leverage the power of failure to explore the very nature of language. Like others in her field, Kwok notes that Wikipedia can serve as a tool for teaching tight writing and edit-a-thons can generate deep student investment in intervening in the cultural record. But Kwok sees even greater value in what her students learn as they try to achieve Wikipedia’s second foundational principle of writing articles “from a neutral point of view.” They learn that language is not neutral and our attempts to make it seem so only cloak the systematic biases and issues of positionality.

As much of this issue makes clear, the people engaged in digital-pedagogy teaching and research provide essential infrastructure for this work. In “Interdisciplinarity and Teamwork in Virtual Reality Design,” Ole Molvig and Bobby Bodenheimer describe the evolution in logistics and pedagogy of a course they taught, Virtual Reality Design, at Vanderbilt University. In particular, they note that the interdisciplinary and collaborative requirements of their team-based course gave rise to a community of like-minded researchers over time. Regarding a growing demand for support of data visualization, Negeen Aghassibake, Justin Joque, and Matthew L. Sisk offer a different approach to cultivating such interdisciplinary collaboration: leveraging the library. In “Supporting Data Visualization Services in Academic Libraries,” the authors identify a host of factors that can lead to more successful support of responsible data visualization and the fundamental literacies that underpin it. Data visualization, they note, is not just about products, but about the scholarly processes that require well-aimed questions, research, data and data management, ethical practices, and design—in addition to software and hardware decisions.

The articles in our Forum on Data and Computational Pedagogy attend to how these concerns arise in the classroom when using computational methods to teach processes of data collection, transformation, and presentation. In our call for papers, we asked submitters to address the challenges and opportunities that arise when teaching with data and promoting data literacy. We were especially interested in how students and instructors grappled with issues of power and agency when acting as “data users” (Gonzalez and DeVoss 2016). The authors of the articles in this Forum span academic job roles and work in a wide variety of institutional contexts that inform their data pedagogy. What coheres their contributions is a humanistic approach to data analysis—one that understands working with data as an exploratory and iterative analytical process of regularization, and which foregrounds data’s context-embeddedness and malleability. As Katie Rawson and Trevor Muñoz (2016) remind us, this feature of data is too often obscured when we think about data “cleaning” as its preparation for scholarly work rather than recognizing “messiness” as an integral part of the work itself. By recognizing the analytical agency we have to remediate data, we may develop the commitment to using data-driven methods for justice, resisting the potential of data analysis’s associations with correctness and order to propagate bias and do harm (D’Ignazio and Klein 2020).

In “Ethnographies of Datasets: Teaching Critical Data Analysis through R Notebooks,” Lindsay Poirier writes on how her students confront datasets as cultural objects in an undergraduate course called Data Sense and Exploration at the University of California, Davis. Here, she draws from cultural anthropology’s experimental ethnography to guide students through a series of weekly lab assignments in which students record field notes while performing analysis of dataframes in R. Each of these labs invokes a concept: routines and rituals, semantics, classifications, calculations and narrative, chrono-politics, and geo-politics. She characterizes her students’ work with data as “ethnography” because of “their consistent, hands-on engagement with the data” and the opportunity it provides for “reflections on their own positionality.” This approach encourages students to see themselves as “critical data practitioners” who can account for, as well as critique, the “incompleteness, inconsistencies and biases” of publicly available data.

In “Thinking Through Data in the Humanities and in Engineering,” Elizabeth Alice Honig, Deb Niemeier, Christian F. Cloke, and Quint Gregory assess how students in two disparate fields engage with data’s embedded context. The authors describe an interdisciplinary effort at the University of Maryland, College Park, to teach the same historical network dataset to students in art history and engineering, as each group of students brought their entrenched disciplinary assumptions about data analysis and visualization to the same assignments. While the authors’ engineering students tended to value consistent design conventions in an approach framed by a pre-set analytical objective, their art history students tended to want to bring insights from visualization back to the dataset. On the flip side, the engineering students were less likely to incorporate context and “texture” in their visualizations, while the art history students tended to be less adept at properly labeling their graphs or ensuring their visualizations made effective communication choices. From the authors’ exploratory study, they conclude that emphases on digital training within humanities courses and project-based learning in engineering courses may not be enough alone for students to overcome these tendencies, and that additional formal training may be required.

In “Numbering Ulysses: Digital Humanities, Reductivism, and Undergraduate Research,” Erik Simpson describes the pedagogical implications of humanities data creation for Ashplant, a collaborative digital project developed in conjunction with Grinnell College students. As the students worked to describe James Joyce’s Ulysses in tabular form for presentation online, they were forced to reckon with the frustrations posed by data entry involving complex humanities materials. In the process, students found their digital humanities work placed in dialogue with analog methods of analyzing Ulysses, which already used numerical and hierarchical systems of classification. The piece closes by building on these pedagogical lessons to suggest a series of ways that undergraduate research might engage with the “creativity, resistance, and questioning” of digital work.

In “Data Fail: Teaching Data Literacy with African Diaspora Digital Humanities,” Jennifer Mahoney, Roopika Risam, and Hibba Nassereddine reflect, too, on the frustrations and failures of a data curation and visualization project. Situating their work within scholarship on Black Digital Humanities, they articulate the difficulty of reconciling “fragments of information” when trying to avoid reproducing or amplifying gaps in the archives they used for research. Having set out to plot networks of participation in Pan-Africanist intellectual and social movements, the authors describe the “virtually meaningless” initial results that revealed some flawed assumptions of their project’s methodology. Their writing, however, exceeds mere process narrative by reflecting on this realization’s implications for their own and others’ projects—their non-result, it turns out, provided an opportunity to reappraise their methods and identify the aspects of their dataset the methods didn’t capture. Moreover, as secondary-education teachers and students, the authors argue that high school students might have similar data epiphanies were such digital humanities projects featured in high school English language arts curricula, using students’ development of data literacy to promote inclusivity by way of representation and equity in the cultural record.

Data Literacy in Media Studies: Strategies for Collaborative Teaching of Critical Data Analysis and Visualization” addresses intra-institutional partnerships between librarians and faculty to support teaching critical data literacy. In this article, Andrew Battista, Katherine Boss, and Marybeth McCartin provide a template they use to encourage a variety of instructors to teach visualization instruction sessions each term. The model distributes the labor of teaching across a set of collaborators and supports the professional development of these instructors as they create shared and reproducible pedagogical materials. The program they describe is one that is ultimately more sustainable and “has a broad and demonstrated impact on student learning, strengthens ties between the library and the departments we serve, and allows librarians and data services specialists the opportunity to learn and grow from each other.” While directed toward teaching librarians, the piece also proves useful for faculty considering library partnerships to enrich the data or information literacy offerings of their programs.

Like teaching, this issue results from the work of many hands. The editors would like to thank every member of JITP’s editorial board who contributed energy to its publication under such difficult circumstances. An issue of this size required an especially large number of reviewers, and the editors deeply appreciate their willingness to entertain the unexpected requests. And, of course, we are grateful to all the authors who shared their work with us for consideration. Future issues of JITP will, undoubtedly, share work specific to the particular pedagogies of the pandemic itself. Nonetheless, we hope that this collection of essays will encourage reflection on how our teaching has always been called upon to respond to changing circumstances and must continue to do so. What we need, especially now, is more teachers sharing what works and what doesn’t, more authors responding to change as they see it happening in their work, and more voices calling out for change where it is not yet happening.

Bibliography

D’Ignazio, Catherine, and Lauren F. Klein. 2020. Data Feminism. Cambridge: The MIT Press.

Gonzales, Lauren and Dànielle Nicole DeVoss. 2016. “Digging into Data: Professional Writers as Data Users.” In Writing in an Age of Surveillance, Privacy, and Net Neutrality, edited by Cheryl E. Ball, special issue, Kairos: A Journal of Rhetoric, Technology, and Pedagogy 20, no. 2 (Spring). http://technorhetoric.net/20.2/topoi/beck-et-al/gon_devo.html.

Rawson, Katie, and Trevor Muñoz. 2016. “Against Cleaning.” Curating Menus (blog), July 6. http://curatingmenus.org/articles/against-cleaning/.

About the Editors

Kelly Hammond has focused on the intersection of humanities and technology in the classroom for over twenty years. She is currently the Director of Digital Pedagogy at the Chapin School in New York City. She is also pursuing her master’s degree in Digital Humanities at the City University of New York’s Graduate Center, and she serves on the editorial collective of The Journal of Interactive Technology and Pedagogy. Kelly is particularly interested in building online communities to facilitate dialogue and collaboration within the small but growing number of DH practitioners in K–12 environments. She is developing and testing the efficacy of micro-pd—tiny and targeted professional development to help faculty grow, even in times of crisis. She’s also a budding writer. Her fiction has appeared in online journals such as drafthorse and earned an Editor’s Prize from the Chautauqua Journal.

Gregory J. Palermo is a PhD candidate in English at Northeastern University. His research and teaching focus on the metaphors for disciplinary knowledge that structure digital methods used for plotting academic fields. His dissertation argues that citation analysis can be a tactical means of bringing together work from disparate traditions and promoting equity in scholarly publishing. His pedagogy foregrounds the implications of borrowing methods, rhetorical choices with data, and how algorithmic processes increasingly used for pattern-seeking analysis and surveillance can be useful for remix, intervention, and resistance. He has been a Research Associate and Project Manager for the Digital Scholarship Group in Northeastern University Library, a Graduate Fellow of the NULab for Texts, Maps, and Networks, and a co-instructor at the Digital Humanities Summer Institute (DHSI). His work has appeared in the Journal of Writing Analytics and Digital Humanities Quarterly (DHQ). He has been a managing editor of DHQ and now serves as an editor of The Journal of Interactive Technology and Pedagogy.

Brandon Walsh is Head of Student Programs in the Scholars’ Lab in the University of Virginia Library. Prior to that, he was Visiting Assistant Professor of English and Mellon Digital Humanities Fellow in the Washington and Lee University Library. He received his PhD and MA from the Department of English at the University of Virginia, where he also held fellowships in the Scholars’ Lab and acted as Project Manager of NINES. His dissertation examined modern and contemporary literature and culture through the lenses of sound studies and digital humanities, and these days he works primarily at the intersections of digital pedagogy and digital humanities. He serves on the editorial boards of The Programming Historian and The Journal of Interactive Technology and Pedagogy. He is a regular instructor at HILT, and he has work published or forthcoming with Programming Historian, Insights, the Digital Library Pedagogy Cookbook, Pedagogy, Digital Pedagogy in the Humanities, and Digital Scholarship in the Humanities, among others.

A college student stands by a classroom window wearing a leather jacket holding a Google Cardboard to their face.
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The Potential of Extended Reality: Teaching and Learning in Virtual Spaces

The irony of writing about extended reality (XR) at this time when so many of us have been thrust into the virtual is not lost on us. The situation is reminiscent of the world depicted in Cline’s Ready Player One (2011), in which the entire population uses virtual reality (VR) to escape the increasingly precarious environment outside their doors. Works such as “The Machine Stops” by E. M. Forster (1909), or He, She, and It by Marge Piercy (1991), provide a dystopic vision of a virtual future, but now, we need—perhaps even crave—optimism. The virtual offers us a way to connect; the possibility of engaging with each other even from a distance. We also need to find ethical and sustainable ways going forward to employ a medium poised for mass adoption. This issue demonstrates the power of XR in pedagogical applications, community partnerships, and future gatherings.

This special issue focused on XR—most often referring to virtual and augmented reality (AR)—emerged from our shared excitement about the potential of immersive media to support innovative pedagogy at all levels of education, but also from our healthy skepticism about the limited circles of people actually empowered to shape this process. The full reality–virtuality continuum, a concept first introduced by Paul Milgram and his colleagues in 1994, encompasses everything from virtual reality theaters and mixed reality headsets to augmented reality experiences on mobile devices. Until very recently, the higher end of XR was limited to specialized labs and researchers. As both the technology itself and the means of creating content have become more accessible, the field has expanded and diversified.

Some researchers include 360º imaging and 3D video in the XR mix, especially if experienced immersively; others might also extend the concept to include ambient technologies in “smart city” and “smart home” applications. At its core, the XR we are exploring in this issue is about designing an immersive and interactive experience in the service of teaching and learning. While XR in the future may boast the seamless interfaces of science-fiction fantasy, today’s implementations mostly remain awkward, partial, and experimental. This is not a bad thing. As scholars, we still have room to maneuver and to change the terms of use before the technology is naturalized into an invisible, yet costly, necessity for twenty-first–century learning.

Working in the field at this critical moment, we noticed the lack of scholarship engaged with humanistic concerns regarding XR technologies in pedagogical applications. The literature is dominated by rigorous publications on the technical side describing developments in the field of computer science, and by informative case-study examples from museums, journalistic applications, and popular entertainment. Pedagogical experiments in K–12 education, industry, building technologies, city planning, and medicine, meanwhile, have clearly demonstrated the potential of XR applications for teaching and training. Yet the critical conversations around the medium itself, its affordances, challenges, and opportunities for educational use, still take place within small, often isolated pockets of discipline-specific practitioners. We meet up in local working groups, at conferences and workshops, on Twitter—and now in the pages of JITP. One of our objectives in putting together this issue is to bring these different groups into deeper conversation with one another, promoting critical knowledge construction in the field while building out a body of citable literature in humanistic XR studies. We hope this issue helps expand the field to include a greater diversity of voices and experiences.

In the future, the pressing questions of our current circumstances may find answers in XR. Take for instance the growing number of virtual conferences, virtual tours, and virtual open houses already happening in response to the shift to remote learning and working conditions. Although made more urgent by COVID-19, the creation of virtual labs, virtual workspaces, virtual archives, and virtual art studios has long been the dream of XR researchers. Now is the time for scholars to envision and build this future with or without the collaboration of the big tech companies (most recently Apple and Verizon) that have been quietly buying up XR platforms and start-ups in anticipation of a pivotal moment like this. How will we ensure our values are embedded in the XR systems that emerge, or that the resulting models of pedagogy are immersive, interactive, accessible, and collaborative? Even as we go online with our teaching, we realize how much we’re missing from lived experience in physical proximity. How can we leverage the affordances of the real in pursuit of the digital? How does the digital expand access, opportunity, vision, and community? How might XR facilitate lifelong learning applications and the global communities these interventions make possible? The articles in this issue begin to explore these questions in greater depth, and offer potential avenues for further development, especially in terms of community engagement and social justice. This special issue also makes clear that diversity, in all its many forms, is an essential component for XR-based teaching and research, especially as we consider ways of applying intersectional analysis to applied learning.

Several of the articles in this issue focus on using XR for social justice. In “Immersive Pedagogy: Developing a Decolonial and Collaborative Framework for Teaching and Learning in 3D/VR/AR,” Lorena Gauthereau, Jessica Linker, Emma Slayton, and Alex Wermer-Colan draw from a symposium held at Carnegie Mellon University and conversations held with librarians, technologists, developers, and faculty in attendance there. The authors advocate for continued conversations regarding integration, use, and review of 3D/VR/AR teaching and learning technologies. In “Developing Virtual Reality Modules Aimed to Enhance Social Work Students’ Skills and Reinforce Knowledge,” Nicholas Lanzieri, Henry S. Samelson, and Jonathan Bowen describe how multiple approaches to the use of VR in therapist training—360º video and avatar-based game environments—can be embedded into a social work curriculum. Their work demonstrates how prior exposure to environments and potential conversations can enhance live engagement with a diverse set of clients. One of the more revelatory examples of XR technology applications is evidenced in the essay, “‘Relational Presence’: Designing VR-Based Virtual Learning Environments for Oral History–Based Restorative Pedagogy,” by Jennifer Roberts-Smith, et al. This article describes an approach to designing VR that intentionally makes users aware of their virtual environments in order to situate themselves apart from the oral histories they experience in simulations. In this piece, Roberts-Smith et al. introduce the Digital Oral Histories for Reconciliation (DOHR) project (dohr.ca), which worked in partnership with the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children Restorative Inquiry (restorativeinquiry.ca) to create a VR experience intended to expose the truth of institutionalized racism and to empower the survivors to “build more just relationships for the future.”

Several of our articles also engage with the potential for partnership building and community engagement through historic sites, landscapes, and the university/college campus. In their article “Representing Indigenous Histories Using XR Technologies in the Classroom,” Amy J. Lueck and Lee M. Panich argue for the wider adoption of XR technologies such as annotated 360º video tours at key locations on campus to help undergraduate students understand and intervene in the continued erasure of Indigenous histories from existing commemorative landscapes there. This emphasis on community partnerships is echoed in the issue’s fifth article. In “Blending Disciplines for a Blended Reality: Virtual Guides for a Living History Museum,” Juilee Decker, Amanda Doherty, Joel Geigel, and Gary D. Jacobs demonstrate how an interdisciplinary partnership between a university and a local museum offered the opportunity for students to develop digital storytelling skills and multimodal literacy. In “Barriers to Supporting Accessible VR in Academic Libraries,” Jasmine Clark and Zach Lischer-Katz address both accessibility and the important role of libraries in VR creation, implementation, and support as we scale up from experimentation to broad-based implementation strategies.

Especially exciting and filled with generative possibilities are the kinds of lessons learned from case studies arising out of various pedagogical contexts and disciplines. A diverse team of David Neville, Vanessa Preast, Sarah Purcell, Damian Kelty-Stephen, Timothy D. Arner, Justin Thomas, and Christopher French, describes a whole-college approach in “Using Virtual Reality to Expand Teaching and Research in the Liberal Arts.” Their approach to infrastructure development highlights how a smaller institution can make XR happen at a thoughtful, systemic scale—in harmony with existing pedagogical values and practices—in a highly selective teaching-focused undergraduate setting. “Truly Immersive Worlds? The Pedagogical Implications of Extended Reality” by Tamara O’Callaghan and Andrea Harbin provides specific examples of the kind of VR and AR applications an instructor might use in a liberal arts context. Specifically, they investigate how 3D models of historic sites and AR overlays on historic documents can serve as virtual tools to enhance the physical space. Another example, from Alison Burke, Elana Blinder, Leah Potter, and David Langendoen in their article, “Mission US TimeSnap: Developing Historical Thinking Skills through Virtual Reality,” shows that VR is a promising and useful tool for K–12 history education. Their TimeSnap game has helped to increase students’ engagement with historical documents, narratives, and terminology. Thinking critically about such XR engagement is not limited to the humanities classroom. In the sciences, there have been several applications supporting laboratory work and surgery, but in “Virtual Chirality: A Constructivist Approach to a Chemical Education Concept in Virtual Reality,” authors Samuel R. Putnam, Michelle M. Nolan, and Ernie Williams-Roby demonstrate how it is important not only to use XR in teaching, but also to bring students into the process of building applications. Together, these articles provide an interdisciplinary view of how XR technologies are shaping education at all levels through a critical engagement with interdisciplinary applications.

This issue celebrates pedagogical innovation and forward thinking, but we would be remiss not to acknowledge that it will be released at a time of profound loss, reflection, and fear. The Journal of Interactive Technology and Pedagogy was founded and remains housed at the Graduate Center, CUNY, in New York City, a city losing multitudes of souls, including brilliant academics, each day. All of us have felt this loss, and it is only because of the incredible dedication and hard work of everyone involved that this issue was published at this time. The greatest thanks go to our managing editor, Patrick DeDauw, who not only ensured that the process of publishing this issue was streamlined and efficient; he also made it enjoyable despite the most incredible of obstacles. Patrick, you are our hero. We would also like to acknowledge the willingness of our authors to work through revisions and copyedits with grace and professionalism amidst a global crisis. And to our reviewers, please know your service is very deeply appreciated.

One final personal note: this issue is dedicated in memory of Dr. David Greetham, a founding member of the Interactive Technology and Pedagogy program at the Graduate Center, CUNY. Without his foresight and inspiration, many digital innovations cited in this issue would not have been possible.

Bibliography

Cline, Ernest. 2011. Ready Player One. New York: Crown Publishers.

Forster, E. M. 1909. “The Machine Stops.” Oxford and Cambridge Review (November).

Milgram, Paul, Haruo Takemura, Akira Utsumi, and Fumio Kishino. 1994. “Augmented Reality: A Class of Displays on the Reality–Virtuality Continuum.” Proceedings of Telemanipulator and Telepresence Technologies 2351: 282–92.

Piercy, Marge. 1991. He, She, and It. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.

About the Editors

Amanda Licastro is the Assistant Professor of Digital Rhetoric at Stevenson University in Maryland, as well serving on the editorial collective of the Journal of Interactive Technology and Pedagogy. Her research explores the intersection of technology and writing, including book history, dystopian literature, and digital humanities. Publications include articles in Kairos, Digital Pedagogy in the Humanities, Hybrid Pedagogy, and Communication Design Quarterly, as well as a recent chapter on social annotation in Digital Reading and Writing in Composition Studies, published by Routledge. Her grant-funded project on virtual reality was awarded the Paul Fortier Prize at the 2017 Digital Humanities conference, and has been featured in the Baltimore Sun and Baltimore Magazine.

Angel David Nieves, BArch, MA, PhD, is Professor of History and Digital Humanities at San Diego State University in the Area of Excellence in Digital Humanities and Global Diversity. He is the author of An Architecture of Education: African American Women Design the New South (University of Rochester Press, 2018). Nieves’s scholarly work and community-based activism critically engage with issues of race and the built environment in cities across the Global South.

Victoria Szabo is a Research Professor of Visual and Media Studies at Duke University. Her teaching and research focus on critical and creative approaches to interactive and computational media in the arts and humanities. She was the founding director of the interdisciplinary PhD program in Computational Media, Arts & Cultures, and currently heads the Digital Humanities Initiative at the John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute at Duke. She is also Chair of the ACM SIGGRAPH Digital Arts Community.

A set of networked points of light appear at once as stars and as a visualization of networked connection, over a background that looks like a night sky.
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Introduction: Issue Sixteen

Conversations about digital pedagogy tend to revolve around the twin poles of unbridled enthusiasm on the one hand and entrenched skepticism on the other. Despite the institutional investment in the digital humanities evinced by the creation of specialized Certificate, Masters, and PhD programs across the country, including at Northeastern University, Duke University, and the CUNY Graduate Center, digital approaches to other disciplines, as well as digital pedagogy across the disciplines, often remain understudied. And despite possibilities afforded by digital tools for the increased engagement and shared knowledge production in the classroom, many instructors are wary of the challenges new technologies pose to the traditional learning process. In particular, instructors tend to be cautious of the perceived attention-deficit run by students constantly bombarded with fast-moving interactive images. One of the primary benefits of instructional technology, in fact, is probably the very thing that makes some instructors anxious about student attention spans: it is often interactive technology’s ability to pull content out of sequence that activates students’ analytic skills and enables sustained, problem-based concentration. So, for example, something as simple as a word cloud in which the size of each word corresponds to its repetition in a passage of literature can help to illustrate the main preoccupations of the text; the linearity of the text can mask these repetitions, but the instructional technology helps to draw them out.

As the essays in this edition of The Journal of Interactive Technology and Pedagogy make clear, one of the benefits of a digital approach to pedagogy is that it can both slow down the learning process for students, as in the example above, and foster critical thinking about the implications, risks, and affordances of technology in the classroom. The characteristic tension in conversations about digital pedagogy between enthusiasm for, and skepticism of, digital tools and methods can obscure serious questions about surveillance, community, and experiential learning that the scholarship of digital pedagogy provides the opportunity to explore. Bringing these questions to bear not only on the types of assignments one designs involving digital tools, but also on the presentation of digital issues themselves, produces more engaging and inclusive curricula and activities that help make students critical digital practitioners at the same time as they learn subject material.

We are excited to share with you Issue Sixteen since it offers a deeper dive into some of the key questions that inform thinking about technology and pedagogy. For instance, Andrew Roth and Alex Christie remind us that failure in DH spaces and curriculums can be a productive site for learning. Their essay, “Beyond the Fear of Failure: Toward a Method for Student Experiential Autobiography Mapping (SEAM),” foregrounds exactly how inevitable technical failures can become important sites for innovative pedagogy. They argue that the seams, or fissures, that emerge when technical tools break down also become the very ties that make faculty and staff collaborations so productive. In their own collaboration, Roth and Christie explain how students practice important skills like problem solving and troubleshooting from an integrated project-based curriculum.

Karen Rose Mathews and Gemma Henderson’s collaboration at the University of Miami’s Lowe Art Museum, “Animating Antiquity: Student Generated Approaches to Recontextualizing Ancient Artworks Using Digital Technologies,” offers a tangible example of the ways technology affords opportunities for students to create knowledge that engages the public sphere. Using 3D models and prints, their students designed new modes for museumgoers to access the feel and function of ancient artworks. In their example of pedagogical innovation, both graduate and undergraduate students were able to create research dossiers as assemblages by integrating multiple experiential modes that could increase learning access.

The digital humanities have provided important sites for innovative approaches to experiential learning and interactive teaching. Jenna Freedman’s zine, “Weigh of Showing,” offers the zine genre as an alternative mode for assessing students’ involvement with course materials. She argues that there are multiple kinds of literacies that the formal essay format cannot always measure. In this, she posits that there are other ways of knowing, and that in other ways of showing, students can explore how they learn not only through writing but also through feeling, seeing, and listening.

Technology foregrounds the manifold forces that are changing the very idea of “the public,” since it opens new spaces for communication and community. In his “Changing Culture, Changing Publics: Redesigning the Rhetorical Public,” Philip B. Gallagher explores the ways in which rhetorical publics are changing to argue how user-based document design should respond to the Public’s new elevated status. He traces a rhetorical history of civic communication responsive to audience expectations, and examines how such communicative practices will need to adapt to the demands of technology and the knowledge communities they produce. As distinctions between private and public continue to blur, this question concerning the redesign of a rhetorical public will be increasingly urgent.

Even as technology offers the potential for more inclusive teaching and learning, it is important to be attentive to the moments when it reifies old patterns and practices of exclusion. Christina Boyles makes this point in “Finding Fault with Foucault: Surveillance and the Digital Humanities.” She argues that, while surveillance studies has done well to demonstrate the ubiquity of surveillance technologies and their erosion of personal rights, the fact that the effects of surveillance are not distributed equally is underappreciated. Indigenous peoples, for instance, have experienced some of the harshest forms of panoptic surveillance in lands claimed by the United States, and our inability to recognize this inequality only works to bolster the logics of conquest and the colonial machine. Her intervention reminds us that, as teachers and scholars, we must be willing to question the culture and the canon in the service of a more just future. This, along with the other essays in this issue, provides new avenues for thinking past old tensions in debates in digital pedagogy by examining the concrete implications of the work we do.

About the Editors

Shelly Eversley teaches literature, feminism, and black studies at Baruch College, City University of New York, where she is Associate Professor of English. She is Academic Director of the City University of New York’s Faculty Fellowship Publication Program and Founder of equalityarchive.com. She is the author of The “Real” Negro: The Question of Authenticity in Twentieth Century African American Literature as well as several essays on literature, race, and culture. She is editor of The Sexual Body and The 1970s, both special issues of WSQ, a journal by the Feminist Press. She is also editor of the forthcoming book Black Art, Politics, and Aesthetics in 1960s African American Literature and Culture (Cambridge), and is revising a new book titled The Practice of Blackness: Cold War Surveillance, Censorship, and African American Literary Survival. She earned her undergraduate degree at Columbia University, and her graduate degrees at The Johns Hopkins University.

Krystyna Michael is an Assistant Professor at Hostos Community College, City University of New York. Her current book project, The Urban Domestic: Homosocial Domesticity in the Literature and Culture of 19th- and 20th-Century New York City, explores the relationship between transformations in urban planning and domestic ideology through American literature of the city. She has published articles and reviews in The Edith Wharton Review, The Journal of American Studies, and Postmedieval and is a member of the editorial collective of The Journal of Instructional Technology and Pedagogy. She works on the development teams of the grant-funded CUNY-based OER platforms, Manifold and the CUNY Academic Commons, and her courses center around American literature and writing, the digital humanities, and architecture and city space.

Alice in Wonderland sitting in a chair playing with her kitten and a ball of yarn.
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Introduction: Issue Fifteen

For many, imagining the possibilities of digital technologies, in classrooms and in our lives, conjures up two dystopian extremes: unregulated chaos or constant surveillance. These nightmares are animated by a fear that the digital is something created for us, something we receive rather than construct. Headlines promise us that we are falling into our screens like Alice into the rabbit hole, and we may never emerge from the mind- and reality-bending places we go. This might be true—and perhaps it’s to our benefit. For teachers and scholars, engaging with digital environments need not be a lockstep march toward automation or a devaluation of our profession, but can instead offer chances to examine and revise knowledge and the many frames that shape it, for ourselves and for our students. Using new tools to examine old ideas can create a mutual sense of agency and empathy between participants in teaching and learning.

Games, archives, and assignments require scholars and teachers to consider what end-users should know and what experiences they should have, and also offer many opportunities to reflect upon how knowledge is constructed. Active learning environments draw students and teachers alike into spaces that require trust, attention, reflection, and openness. Decisions should be intentional and purposeful. Commitment to the deep inquiry that these experiences demand invites students to engage with content in generative ways, but also—and very importantly—requires scholars to be in an ongoing, exhilarating, and reflective relationship with the materials they teach and the methods they use. These are not transactional modes of education, but rather approaches that honor the complex ways in which learners can generate knowledge and engage with the disciplines.

The Journal of Interactive Technology and Pedagogy has regularly pushed back against the notion that digital technologies are neutral. Our fifteenth issue presents pieces about archives and archive building, games, the pedagogical implications of digital tools, and various elements of digital pedagogy in undergraduate courses. Together they unravel the mystique of digital scholarship and pedagogy while asking practical questions about prior knowledge and assumptions, labor and the dynamics of collaboration, and the challenges of sustainability and corralling institutional support.

Drilling down into tools, environments, and processes, asking how they work and don’t work and where they lead users to and away from— these are all crucial parts of digital scholarship and teaching. The pieces that follow situate the project-based work of interactive technology and pedagogy within the university. They interrogate decisions big and small, weighing how biases may shape how various audiences perceive information. It’s important that this thinking be made explicit to students and to audiences, and these pieces do just that. Such pedagogical work differentiates scholars from entrepreneurs, and open systems from closed ones. It propels teaching away from transactional models of learning, forcing instructors to make the process transparent at every turn. Learning happens not only in the doing of things, but in processing and reflecting upon the why and the how of that doing. The eight pieces that we present in this issue explore different facets of these principles.

In “‘So You Want to Build a Digital Archive?’ A Dialogue on Critical Digital Humanities Graduate Pedagogy,” Bibhushana Poudyal of the University of Texas at El Paso and Laura Gonzales of the University of Florida provide an account of building a digital archive about Nepal, interrogating the role that search engines and algorithms play in how we experience and know the world, and the gaps that they leave. The authors explain the steps and hurdles they needed to negotiate—including platform and materials selection, technical expertise, and user-experience testing—in ways that honor and amplify the local expertise of Kathmandu residents. Their work is an example of digital archiving that espouses a feminist and decolonial agenda and explicitly acknowledges the tensions that underlie all knowledge-creating endeavors.

The need for critically examining how the medium influences the agenda behind digital material is also examined in another piece in this issue. In “Confidence and Critical Thinking Are Differentially Affected by Content Intelligibility and Source Reliability: Implications for Game-Based Learning in Higher Education,” Robert O. Duncan of York College and The Graduate Center, CUNY, presents a study on how the intelligibility of information and reliability of sources influence performance and confidence among participants in a critical-thinking game. The results indicate the more environmentally induced difficulty in reading text, the more critically students engaged with it. The type of information source, however, appeared to be less influential on students’ performance, with little variation between conditions in which participants were or were not told which information was derived from a reliable source. These findings point toward a few practical implications for instruction and game design around information literacy, and help to increase awareness regarding opportunities to teach students how to evaluate the reliability of sources, before critically evaluating and using the information they provide.

While games can be used to promote critical thinking, how digital games are implemented by instructors matters, as well. Cristyne Hébert of the University of Regina and Jennifer Jenson of the University of British Columbia describe nine different strategies for instructors for grade-school students in “Digital Game-Based Pedagogies: Developing Teaching Strategies for Game-Based Learning.” The themes they identify were derived from a content analysis of material collected through observations and interviews conducted during a professional development session for teachers of children in grades 6 to 8. Three general categories of digital game-based strategies are recommended, including those which focus on gameplay, lesson planning and delivery, and how technology is framed within the game. These strategies provide a practical framework for integrating game-based learning into primary and secondary education.

In “Music Making in Scratch: High Floors, Low Ceilings, and Narrow Walls?” William Payne and S. Alex Ruthmann of New York University evaluate how Scratch, a prominent, block-based free programming language used extensively by young learners, both facilitates and frustrates digital music making. They’re hopeful that this approach can become more accessible to the community of learners who engage with computer science through Scratch, but are also concerned that the structural elements of the tool may impede students who want to pursue such a path. They detail these concerns, drawing upon theories of music cognition and coding, and offer concrete suggestions for addressing the shortcomings in the tool that will be of use both to teachers who use Scratch and to software developers building out digital music-making environments.

Taking into account the broader instructional context, particularly for collaborative work, can help educators make a more productive learning experience. “Creating Dynamic Undergraduate Learning Laboratories through Collaboration Between Archives, Libraries, and Digital Humanities,” by Kent Gerber, Charlie Goldberg, and Diana L. Magnuson of Bethel University, presents both a rationale and a procedure for collaborative work between departments and between faculty and students. They detail their process for creating an entry-level Digital Humanities course that taught students both physical and digital archival management, while providing a venue for teachers to grapple with what students needed to learn, and what parts of their own institutional history needed to be prioritized for preservation. They present us with a flexible model for creating fruitful partnerships between departments, centers, and libraries that also centers student learning goals within its structure.

While learning through digital pedagogy may be a collaborative experience, for the learner it must also enable the pursuit of personally meaningful knowledge construction. In “Teaching with Objects: Individuating Media Archaeology in Digital Studies,” University of Mary Washington’s Zach Whalen details an Introduction to Digital Studies course built around student inquiry into the physical artifacts of digital media. The assignment requires students to intensively research and then creatively present on artifacts they select, situating them in economic, ethical, social, and political histories. Drawing heavily from theories of digital archaeology and positioning students as detectives who define and then pursue their own questions about tools, this project immerses students in thinking about, around, and through the material goods of digital culture. It builds upon claims from other digital studies scholars that the field should do more to uncover and confront the social implications of the digital world.

In addition to analyzing what the learner knows and understands about a digital tool, it may also be just as useful to consider as what the learner does not yet know. Filipa Calado of the Graduate Center, CUNY presents a refreshing look at digital tools for reading in “‘Imagining What We Don’t Know’: Technological Ignorance as Condition for Learning.” Examining both Voyant Tools and Women Writers Online, Calado delves into the ways that these tools force readers into unfamiliar ways of interacting with text. By working carefully with these tools, reader-users are capable of stepping into new pedagogical and epistemological territory, regardless of whether or not the user possesses the technical acumen to control a tool’s source code. Her focus on the pleasure of discovery reminds us of the delight that can come from open exploration in the classroom.

We close the issue with “What Do You Do with 11,000 Blogs? Preserving, Archiving, and Maintaining UMW Blogs—A Case Study.” Angie Kemp of the University of Mary Washington, Lee Skallerup Bessette of Georgetown University, and Kris Shaffer from New Knowledge walk through the process of archiving ten years of activity on a large, university-based publishing platform. The piece demonstrates the range of knowledge, skills, and persistent community and scholarly engagement necessary to ethically and effectively manage an open system that operates at an enterprise scale. Collaboration and transparency is key, and this piece will benefit scholars at any institution who are grappling with how to honor, preserve, and protect the exponentially increasing amount of digital work our students and colleagues produce.

Knowledge construction should be a joyful process. The authors who have contributed to this issue have fully integrated that understanding into their approaches to scholarship, teaching, and preservation work through the use of digital technologies. Students and instructors alike stand to benefit from appreciating the joy that goes into learning, regardless of the choices of digital tools and strategies. It is our hope that this appreciation of the process of knowledge construction benefits the readers of this issue, as well. In the spirit of appreciating knowledge as that which is collaboratively built and generative, we hope that readers of JITP may be inspired to pursue new and innovative digital pedagogical approaches in their teaching and scholarship.

About the Editors

Lisa Brundage is Director of Teaching, Learning, and Technology at Macaulay Honors College at CUNY. She oversees Macaulay’s unique Instructional Technology Fellow program, which provides doctoral candidates with comprehensive training in the digital liberal arts and student-centered pedagogy methods, and pairs them with honors seminar faculty to implement digital projects in their classrooms. She holds a Ph.D. in English from the Graduate Center, CUNY, and is herself an alumna of the Instructional Technology Fellow program. She is chair of the CUNY IT Conference, is a member of Interactive Technology and Pedagogy Certificate Program, and teaches Macaulay’s Springboard senior thesis course. She has recently published, with Emily Sherwood and Karen Gregory, in Bodies of Information: Intersectional Feminism and Digital Humanities, edited by Elizabeth Losh and Jacqueline Wernimont.

Teresa Ober is a doctoral candidate in Educational Psychology at the Graduate Center, CUNY. Teresa is interested in the role of executive functions in language and literacy. Her research has focused on the development of cognition and language skills, as well as how technologies, including digital games, can be used to improve learning.

Luke Waltzer is the Director of the Teaching and Learning Center at the Graduate Center, CUNY, where he supports graduate students and faculty in their teaching across the CUNY system, and works on a variety of pedagogical and digital projects. He previously was the founding director of the Center for Teaching and Learning at Baruch College. He holds a Ph.D. in History from the Graduate Center, serves as Director of Community Projects for the CUNY Academic Commons, is a faculty member in the Interactive Technology and Pedagogy Certificate and MA in Digital Humanities programs, and directs the development of Vocat, an open-source multimedia evaluation and assessment tool. He has contributed essays to Matthew K. Gold’s Debates in the Digital Humanities and, with Thomas Harbison, to Jack Dougherty and Kristen Nawrotzki’s Writing History in the Digital Age.

Water-color image of guinea pig conducting archival research.
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Introduction: Teaching & Research with Archives

From projects like the SNCC Digital Gateway to Colored Conventions, digital technologies are prompting renewed attention to archival research and teaching practices and creating new opportunities for engaging primary sources. At the same time, digital technologies are raising ethical questions about how archives are created, organized, shared, accessed, and preserved. Increased access has coincided with what Wendy Hayden calls “The Archival Turn’s Pedagogical Turn,” as instructors explore how archival encounters can catalyze student-centered, experiential, collaborative, and project-based learning experiences. With this issue, we sought to address several questions: How do scholars locate authoritative information and guarantee continued access in the current media landscape? How do we teach undergraduate students to perform archival research, evaluate digital sources, and even compose and curate their own archives?

As a graduate student researching letter writing, special issue editor Jojo Karlin worked on a digital edition of her grandparents’ wartime overseas correspondence. From this experience, she saw the necessity for contemporary scholars to receive training in efficient and ethical digital asset management, including how to organize digital files and metadata. She realized that conversations about digital archives were occurring among librarians (who often see firsthand the transitions between technologies and the simultaneous organization of analog and digital materials) and among educators who teach with archives and want to leverage new technologies to help students create their own. She wondered how we could bring these conversations together.

As a newly-minted PhD, Danica Savonick recognized that her research on feminist literature and pedagogy was transformed by long hours spent in archives with the syllabi, lesson plans, and assignments of activist educators from previous generations. When performing research on pedagogical archives, what we often encounter is labor: the letters to administrators, budgets, and grant requests (interspersed with grocery lists) that remind us how much unseen work goes into producing the scene of teaching and learning. As she sought to develop similarly transformative archival assignments for her students, she realized how difficult it is to set the stage for a meaningful encounter with primary source documents. She wanted to work on this special issue to learn more about how other teacher-scholars are facilitating archival encounters in their classrooms.

As a former history student, Stephen Klein felt a guilty pleasure for archives even before he decided to become a librarian. Some of his most epiphanic moments of inquiry occurred when combing through archives and discovering a unique primary source that either supported his suspicions or fundamentally altered existing views. Despite maintaining some generalized best practices that he uses in his everyday work-life as a librarian, Stephen is interested in how archiving processes are often specific to the actual, unique objects being archived.

As co-editors we were delighted (and somewhat shocked) to receive an unprecedented number of submissions for this special issue, roughly 3 to 4 times more than an average JITP issue. Given the abundance of submissions, we added a section called “Views from the Field” to highlight short, praxis-based examples of archival research and teaching in action.

Several of the articles in this issue address how digital technologies are changing how we define, curate, and access archives. In “Crowdsourcing Traumatic History: Understanding the Historial Archive” Kirsti Girdharry analyzes Our Marathon: The Boston Bombing Digital Archive to consider what it means to collaborate with the public in crowdsourcing a digital archive. Girdharry analyzes how the digital impacts our understanding of archives, especially those that aim both to historicize and memorialize recent tragedies. In “Realizing the Past: Charting a Course for Sustainable Instruction and Engagement with Archival Materials Using Augmented and Virtual Reality Technologies” Amanda G. Pellerin, Ximin Mi, and Alison Valk describe the opportunities and limitations that augmented and virtual reality provide for accessing archival objects. While these technologies may help democratize access to archival materials, the authors also consider what might get lost in digitizing a rich three-dimensional object. (And for those interested in similar projects, keep an eye out for the CFP for an upcoming special themed issue of JITP on virtual reality edited by Amanda Licastro and Angel David Nieves.)

The majority of articles in this special issue focus on how “teaching and research with archives,” centers the work of collaboration. As scholars have noted, digital projects require many hands on deck—what Cathy N. Davidson calls “collaboration by difference”—prompting the creation of new academic procedures and protocols like “Guidelines for Evaluating Work in Digital Humanities and Digital Media.” Similarly, teaching with archives requires carefully scaffolded collaborations among faculty, staff, librarians, archivists, and instructional technologists that dispel the mythical notion of the genius scholar toiling away in isolation.

Several of the articles take up collaboration by demonstrating how work across institutions can be mutually beneficial. In “The Space Between Researcher, Object, Institution: Building Collaborative Knowledge with Primary Sources,” Mary Catherine Kinniburgh advocates for graduate-level archival training to support students using primary source research for their dissertations and theses. Kinniburgh discusses the Collaborative Seminar she organized in conjunction with the CUNY Graduate Center Library, the New York Public Library, and others, to generate a community of primary source researchers. While Kinniburgh focuses primarily on the humanities, authors Wendy Wasman, Thomas R. Beatman, Shanon Donnelly, Kathryn M. Flinn, Jeremy Spencer, and Ryan J. Trimbath show how institutional collaborations around archival projects can flourish in the natural sciences as well. In “Branching Out: Using Historical Records to Connect with the Environment,” Wasman et al. analyze the digitized archives of Cleveland naturalist A.B. Williams to show how inter-institutional collaboration can mobilize resources for educational use, from primary school exercises to graduate research.

Another cluster of articles describes collaboration in the context of joint efforts among faculty, students, and archivists to co-create digital archives. In “Digital Paxton: Collaborative Construction with Eighteenth-Century Manuscript Collections,” Will Fenton, Kate Johnson, and Kelly Schmidt describe a collaboration between faculty and students to produce a digital archive as a way of introducing students to concepts of knowledge production and archival construction. Drawing on the Collaborators’ Bill of Rights, they describe an assignment that involved students in knowledge production by contributing to the Digital Paxton project. In “Teaching Colonial Translations Through Archives: From Ink and Quill to XML (Or Not),” Allison Bigelow describes an assignment in which students helped to translate and edit colonial documents from the Early Americas Digital Archive. Through the assignment, “students learn about colonial archives by approaching them as public-facing, meaning-making sites of translation, interpretation, and textual editing, and by remediating print materials from the archives into annotated translations.”

Several articles consider these student-centered archival practices in the context of writing classrooms. In “From Page to Screen and Back Again: Archives-Centered Pedagogy for the 21st Century Writing Classroom,” Elizabeth Davis, Nancee Reeves, and Teresa Saxton analyze how archival research can help students better understand composition as a process of remixing, recontextualizing, collaborating, and curating. Through carefully scaffolded assignments, their students developed an “archives-based composition process” that improved their understanding of the social nature of writing and the material properties of texts, both of which are essential components of twenty-first-century literacies. In “‘Diving Into the Wreck’: (Re)Creating the Archive in the First-Year Writing Classroom” Maxine Krenzel and Daisy Atterbury describe a semester-long peer writing exchange across institutions based on poet Adrienne Rich’s archival teaching materials. With digital file sharing, they dislocate the classroom across campuses and ask, “How can the work that students leave behind inspire and enact its own unique pedagogy?”

Many of these articles consider how archival materials—zines, campus newsletters, correspondence—can help students address important questions about who gets to write history, whose stories are included, and whose are left out. In “Narrating Memory through Rhetorical Reflections: CUNY Students and Their Archives,” Wendy Hayden, María Hernández-Ojeda, and Iris Finkel describe a series of assignments in which undergraduates performed research in physical, institutional archives and shared their findings on digital platforms. In doing so, students became “active agents of generational transmission” who learned about history through the process of contributing to institutional memories. In “Collaboration Adventures with Primary Sources: Exploring Creative and Digital Outputs,” Jennifer Needham and Jeanann Croft Haas analyze the collaborative efforts among University of Pittsburgh librarians and faculty to incorporate the institution’s archival collections into the classroom. Through a series of case studies, Needham and Haas show how archival pedagogy can support an environment of student innovation through the production of what they call “creative outputs,” including websites, blog posts, zines, data sets, and visualizations.

Archives have long been central to feminist, antiracist, and justice-oriented research that recovers the historical contributions of women, people of color, and LGBTQ people. Several articles in this special issue extend this work to the undergraduate classroom. In “Engaging Women’s History through Collaborative Archival Wikipedia Projects,” Ariella Rotramel, Rebecca Parmer, and Rose Oliveira show how archivists, students, and faculty can facilitate knowledge production guided by feminist theory. Together they worked to leverage Wikipedia’s global reach “while struggling with editorial criteria that value objectivity and notoriety.” In “Possibly Impossible; Or, Teaching Undergraduates to Confront Digital and Archival Research Methodologies, Social Media Networking, and Potential Failure,” Rebekah Fitzsimmons and Suzan Alteri analyze an assignment that involved students in recovering the biographies of under-represented women science writers of the 19th century. The authors emphasize the potential and possible failure inherent in original research and found that “[s]tudents felt successful regardless of how much information they located; even [those] with no results reported feeling they had learned a significant amount from the project.” Recovery is also central to the feminist and antiracist projects described in a View by Ken Grossi, Alexia Hudson-Ward, Carol Lasser, Sarah Minion, and Natalia Shevin titled “How a Digital Collaboration at Oberlin College Between Archivists, Faculty, Students and Librarians Found its Muse in Mary Church Terrell, Nineteenth-Century Feminist and Civil Rights Icon.” In this View, the authors describe how faculty, students, and an archivist collaborated to help students co-author digital mini-editions for the Digitizing American Feminisms project.

Considered together, these articles demonstrate that historical inquiry is thriving. Students nationwide are learning how to access primary source documents and to consider the mechanisms of power that underscore how archives are constructed and accessed. We hope these articles will inspire researchers and educators to try something new or different, and share what they learn from the experience. And we hope you enjoy reading these articles as much as we enjoyed collaborating across time, space, and institutions to edit them.

About the Issue Editors

Danica Savonick is Assistant Professor of English at SUNY Cortland. She holds a PhD in English and a Certificate in American Studies from the CUNY Graduate Center. Danica blogs regularly about pedagogy and social justice and her work has appeared in American Literature, Digital Humanities Quarterly, Modern Fiction Studies, and Hybrid Pedagogy. Her current manuscript, Insurgent Knowledge, analyzes the activist pedagogies of Audre Lorde, June Jordan, Adrienne Rich, and Toni Cade Bambara. Danica serves on the Steering Committee for HASTAC.org and is lead author of “Gender Bias in Academe.”

Jojo Karlin, a PhD candidate in English at the Graduate Center, City University of New York, is dedicated to ideas about books, letters, and communication. As the Manifold Scholarship fellow, she is helping to develop Open Education Resources on the Mellon-funded, open source, hybrid publishing platform. As outreach coordinator for the NEH-funded DH Box, she co-led a course in Web APIs with Python at the Digital Humanities Summer Institute. An actress and an artist, she continually seeks creative ways of engaging the academy and the public, whether through drawing, performance, or posted letter.

Stephen I. Klein, the Digital Services Librarian at the Mina Rees CUNY Graduate School Library, spends much of his work-life behind the scenes insuring that the pulse of the GC’s library systems continue to work seamlessly for library users. He also spends time ‘freaking-out’ about the crisis of how our cultural heritage is quickly disappearing, because of the acceleration of modern ephemera with the advent of the web as one of the central forums for popular conversation and academic scholarship.

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