Event Title

Practical Implementation of a Collaborative Teaching Project

Panel

2B: Collaborating and Crowd Sourcing

Abstract

This presentation will explore the practical implementation of a collaborative teaching project focused on two student projects in an upper-level undergraduate English and Women’s Studies course. In Spring 2016 and 2017, a Curator/Special Collections Librarian and an Associate Professor of English at the University of Maryland, College Park, worked together to implement these projects in the classroom. The first project involved an online archival transcription project of a nineteenth century woman’s diary and the second project required students to research biographies of little-known American suffragists. Both these projects engaged students in “the archive” in different ways, taught a variety of information literacy and research skills, and allowed the students to “go public” with their projects in the physical and digital worlds. For the transcription project, the curator worked on realizing a transcription website focused on University of Maryland (UMD) Libraries’ special collections materials; providing historical context for and selecting the diary to be transcribed; and presenting an overview on special collections research. The instructional faculty member worked with the class in transcribing the material online, in providing context on similar public history projects, and creating a project for students in which they engaged in digital transcription and then reflected upon the historiographic and methodological complexities regarding both digital transcription as well as accessing and exploring women’s nineteenth-century archival materials. The students produced a reflective essay, a poster project for the university’s Undergraduate Research day, and provided critical feedback for the pilot crowdsourcing transcription website. In addition, in spring 2017 class, students worked to extend the public investment in and transcription of the diary and other documents beyond the class by holding a “Women’s Diaries Transcribe-A-Thon” at UMD. Here, the students ask the local community to participate in the transcription process in which the students recently gained expertise. To take up this work, students identified interested audiences, created publicity materials, and composed invitations to those audiences, prompting them to participate in the event. Additionally, the class collaboratively determined how the Transcribe-A-Thon would run. Together, they decided what kind of informational, contextual, or pedagogical materials they might provide users and how to provide one-on-one support during the event. The main goal of the transcription project was for students to do the real work of a historian and to engage in the production of a public memory project that asserted women’s historical presence in the digital landscape. The students also worked on writing a “crowdsourced” biography of a militant woman suffragist for the Alexander Street Press subscription database Women and Social Movements in the United States, 1600-2000 (WASM) which is edited by historians Kathryn Kish Sklar and Thomas Dublin. WASM sent out a call for assistance in writing these biographies and asked if professors would work with students to research and write these biographies. The more “traditional” biography project asked students to piece together of information, often lacking context, found in a variety of mostly digitized primary sources. In contrast to the transcription project, students had a very different view of a particular woman’s life and public engagement with the final product, the biography, is more limited. This presentation will provide an overview of the class projects and students’ learning, practical steps for implementing such projects in the classroom, and ideas for garnering feedback from students regarding these projects. Both of these students assignments produced new knowledge about individual women and made that knowledge more widely available to the public, but the research strategies used and public engagement with the archival sources were very different. Undergraduate student engagement with primary sources and special collections materials will be emphasized, as will the complexities inherent in engaging publically with digital texts particularly through crowdsourcing.

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Jul 6th, 4:30 PM Jul 6th, 6:00 PM

Practical Implementation of a Collaborative Teaching Project

This presentation will explore the practical implementation of a collaborative teaching project focused on two student projects in an upper-level undergraduate English and Women’s Studies course. In Spring 2016 and 2017, a Curator/Special Collections Librarian and an Associate Professor of English at the University of Maryland, College Park, worked together to implement these projects in the classroom. The first project involved an online archival transcription project of a nineteenth century woman’s diary and the second project required students to research biographies of little-known American suffragists. Both these projects engaged students in “the archive” in different ways, taught a variety of information literacy and research skills, and allowed the students to “go public” with their projects in the physical and digital worlds. For the transcription project, the curator worked on realizing a transcription website focused on University of Maryland (UMD) Libraries’ special collections materials; providing historical context for and selecting the diary to be transcribed; and presenting an overview on special collections research. The instructional faculty member worked with the class in transcribing the material online, in providing context on similar public history projects, and creating a project for students in which they engaged in digital transcription and then reflected upon the historiographic and methodological complexities regarding both digital transcription as well as accessing and exploring women’s nineteenth-century archival materials. The students produced a reflective essay, a poster project for the university’s Undergraduate Research day, and provided critical feedback for the pilot crowdsourcing transcription website. In addition, in spring 2017 class, students worked to extend the public investment in and transcription of the diary and other documents beyond the class by holding a “Women’s Diaries Transcribe-A-Thon” at UMD. Here, the students ask the local community to participate in the transcription process in which the students recently gained expertise. To take up this work, students identified interested audiences, created publicity materials, and composed invitations to those audiences, prompting them to participate in the event. Additionally, the class collaboratively determined how the Transcribe-A-Thon would run. Together, they decided what kind of informational, contextual, or pedagogical materials they might provide users and how to provide one-on-one support during the event. The main goal of the transcription project was for students to do the real work of a historian and to engage in the production of a public memory project that asserted women’s historical presence in the digital landscape. The students also worked on writing a “crowdsourced” biography of a militant woman suffragist for the Alexander Street Press subscription database Women and Social Movements in the United States, 1600-2000 (WASM) which is edited by historians Kathryn Kish Sklar and Thomas Dublin. WASM sent out a call for assistance in writing these biographies and asked if professors would work with students to research and write these biographies. The more “traditional” biography project asked students to piece together of information, often lacking context, found in a variety of mostly digitized primary sources. In contrast to the transcription project, students had a very different view of a particular woman’s life and public engagement with the final product, the biography, is more limited. This presentation will provide an overview of the class projects and students’ learning, practical steps for implementing such projects in the classroom, and ideas for garnering feedback from students regarding these projects. Both of these students assignments produced new knowledge about individual women and made that knowledge more widely available to the public, but the research strategies used and public engagement with the archival sources were very different. Undergraduate student engagement with primary sources and special collections materials will be emphasized, as will the complexities inherent in engaging publically with digital texts particularly through crowdsourcing.