digital humanities · higher education · teaching · technology

progress…i think

Today I completed my portion of a Powerpoint slideshow for a presentation I will make with three colleagues next month at  The Teaching Professor Technology Conference. The presentation is titled “Transforming the Essay: Technology, Active Learning, and Collaboration in the Writing Process.”Using vinyl as a teaching tool

It is the sixth week of school. It feels like the sixteenth week.

Good news: another student in my “American Civilization to 1865” (HY 103) course has given me permission to share a draft of an assignment in which students must make connections between long-held ideas about what it means to be “American” and a vintage vinyl record. See my edits in the file below.  I am gently pushing her to write at the paragraph level. There is no one way to do this.

Her album: Jackson Browne’s Running On Empty. I know the feeling. The song: “The Road.”  That sounds about right, too. Read away if inclined.

In an earlier post, another student took the challenge of producing a video. I invite you to see the possibilities in both approaches. I sense the students are generally compelled to get to the point sooner when they produce videos, particularly ones with voice-overs. As earlier mentioned, simply hearing their own words allows them to see if the writing is smooth and if the narrative is coherent and logical.

I am grateful for the help I’ve received from my three Graduate Teaching Assistants in the Department of History at the University of Alabama: Kari Boyd, Hannah Miller and Lindsay Smith. Special thanks to the History Department and the College of Arts and Sciences for sending me and my colleagues Karen Gardiner, Jolene Hubbs and Jeff Melton to the technology conference in Denver.

I have posted below documents that instructors might find helpful if assigning this project. Feel free to use these documents if you want to use vinyl records in any of your classes.

My edit of a student’s essay for the Vinyl Record Project

Email to class about Vinyl Record project


Vinyl Record Project Grading Rubric

Instructor’s Vinyl Record Project VIDEO Example

Instructor’s Vinyl Record Project ESSAY Example

Three T’s of Good Writing

How to Think Historically Handout


PS I am new to WordPress. This blog does not look pretty. I’ve had more experience using blogspot. I don’t have time to make this better for now.   Like I said, this is the sixth week, but it feels like the sixteenth.

PSS At the start of today’s lecture on the uncertainty in the United States on the heels of the American Revolution, I played the first two minutes of Janis Joplin’s “Me and Bobby McGee” (Freedom is just another word for nothing else to lose) via this YouTube video:

I wanted to offer the students another opportunity to make connections between an imagined work – on vinyl or elsewhere – and historical events.

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