Over the next few weeks, I’ll be working to get feedback on the program I’m directing and helping to develop at Marylhurst University in Portland, OR. Marylhurst is a small liberal arts university focused on non-traditional students and adult learners. I teach (both in the classroom and online) for the English Literature & Writing department, which currently has concentrations in Literature, Creative Writing, and Text:Image. The new online degree program, which opens January 2013, integrates literary studies and the digital humanities with a focus on service and experiential learning.
The new program’s medium, the internet and its various tools, influences its content, such that throughout the coursework students will consider the various ways that technology and digital space influence communication and engagement with literary texts. Since the program relies on networked media to offer a unique alternative to a more traditional English degree, it makes sense for the program’s creation to also be influenced by networked media practices. (If students will study and experiment with crowdsourcing, why not have the curriculum itself be crowdsourced?) And so, I’m looking to the broader digital humanities, literary studies, and educational technology communities for open discussion of the program’s design.
Over the last few years, I’ve seen many great examples of crowdsourcing at the level of the course, such as this cool example of a network of classes working with Mark Danielewski’s House of Leaves and thinking about crowdsourced literary interpretations. And a fascinating threaded discussion follows Cathy N. Davidson’s 2009 post on crowdsourcing grading. Then, there’s Hacking the Academy: A Book Crowdsourced in One Week. And, finally, there’s this collaboratively-produced curriculum for a digital humanities course produced at a THATCamp 2010 Session on DH Teaching/Curriculum.
My goal in crowdsourcing the curriculum is not only to get feedback on its design but to open a larger discussion about what happens (or should happen) to English programs as digital pedagogy continues to evolve.
So, let’s start from the ground up. My first question is definitional. Which of the names below do you think best describes the program? After you’ve voted, use the comments area to offer reasoning and your thoughts on the two-sentence program description. Then, read part two.