In my last post I posed a bunch of questions about digital pedagogy. My long attempt at an answer is going to be my project. I am planning a website that will be a pedagogical tool to help teach an undergraduate course on the American Revolution.
The idea behind the course is to get college freshmen to move beyond dates when thinking about history, and instead think about the larger picture. Or better, rethink the picture itself. For instance, this course asks, what was the world before the Revolution, before the Stamp Acts? What was the role of disease in deciding military tactics during the Revolutionary War?
While there are websites for teaching history such as teachinghistory.org that help schoolteachers with resources. They include lesson plans as well as history content. There are also websites like the Digital Scholarship Lab at the University of Richmond which interprets and visualizes humanities and social sciences data with new media. The Digital Scholarship Lab houses a variety of projects. Scholars routinely publish their syllabi on their websites and sometimes even resources. However, there are few or no websites that cater to specific courses. In catering to a specific course, this project will house all the materials relevant to the course in one place whilst also offering resources. The project will also be a collaborative space for students to get together and work off-class hours.
The project will be modeled after futurelearn.com and will provide open access course units. This course will be a freshman course in U.S. history, specifically on remembering the American Revolution. There will be weekly video lectures, readings, primary sources. The website will an attempt to fully engage with the digital medium in creating a course website. In so doing, it will for instance have assignments that will actively use digital tools. The idea is to learn with the help of digital tools instead just using the website as a passive forum.
To me, one of the most exciting parts of the project will be incorporating primary sources into the website architecture in a way that promotes collaborative work amongst students.