In the Summer of 2015 a small group of faculty at Gonzaga University launched a Digital Humanities Initiative. Though we’re a small community, I’m proud to have co-founded and co-direct this great pedagogical initiative.
Digital Humanities at Gonzaga is a pedagogical initiative. When the DH Initiative was founded, we didn’t really know what we were doing. As a small reading group we had worked through parts of Matthew Gold’s Debates in Digital Humanities, felt utterly confused by it, but also intrigued. The main thing that intrigued us was the potential of DH in our pedagogy. Being at a Jesuit school, we often talk about the Ignatian pedagogical model (named after the founder of the Jesuit order). The five elements of Ignatian pedagogy are context, experience, reflection, action, and evaluation. Digital Humanities complements the Ignatian Pedagogy model because digitally enabled teaching can aid students in the development of new forms of knowledge, the fostering of creative insights, and enhancing how students interact with an increasingly diverse world all while asking students to transition from passive receptacles to active agents in the production of knowledge. I’ve blogged about this a bit on my old blog site. So much of the recent literature on pedagogy and the science of learning emphasize “active learning,” which we know means more than a “flipped-classroom.” Rather active learning these days means so much more. For me, it’s assignments and activities that get students doing what I do, even if in small doses. And for me, trying DH assignments helped me retool some of my active learning approaches.