Why are we here?

Ok, that could be a deeply metaphysical question about life, the universe, and everything, and the answer “42” really is just a joke.

What I’m asking for more immediately is how or why each of us came to this class, ACS6802/HIST6800. We all had choices, after all, in that for grad students at BGSU, there are many classes on offer this semester, and for me, there are certainly many courses that I enjoyed and could teach again (here are a few).

For me, this is the second time I’ve taught this course.  I come at this from a few directions. First off, trained as an historian and for the last seven or so years dually appointed in History and American Culture Studies, I’m a humanist. I still do what we might call more traditional history, have done interdisciplinary work on contemporary memory, read literature and poetry, listen to music, and am curious about the human condition.

Second, I’ve always had some interest in computers and technology, having had an original Mac (points to any of who were actually alive when that came out, and more to those who remember seeing the commercial on TV). After college, I had a couple of jobs that involved a lot of work with databases. For my dissertation and first book research, I built a few massive spreadsheets and some databases of my own, even designing one to serve as bibliographic management software (think Zotero, Endnote, Refworks, Mendeley, etc.) does today. For my second book, I also used some digital methods to analyze political speeches. I’ve attended a couple of DH seminars (DHSI and the predecessor of HILT), I’ve been involved in a couple of DH projects, including one that’s ongoing, as well as some small DH initiatives at BGSU. I’ve incorporated DH into a lot of my pedagogy. In other words, I’m not a big player in DH, but have continued to keep up and participate in the field. And I’m always excited to share what I know and to explore it with others.

What brings you here?

16 thoughts on “Why are we here?”

  1. I am here because this is my last semester of classes before my capstone project for my Master’s in English Teaching degree. Although I am an English geek through and through, I too have an interest in computers as well as graphic design. In my undergrad years I was lucky enough to take three design classes, including one where the final project was designing my own website. Since that was about ten years ago, I’m interested to see how things have changed.

    I’m excited to dive in to this class and this semester, since I’m taking two elective courses that are unlike anything I have taken thus far.

  2. I’m here as I work toward obtaining my MA in English in the Professional and Technical Writing track. More directly, I chose this course because while working in the capacity as a high school teacher for the last four years, I’ve realized I am ready for a career change. Currently, I’m not 100% certain in the exact direction I’d like to pursue, but having done some freelance writing (predominantly blogs PRs for SEO), I know that I’d like to work in a digital industry. I’m hoping this class will teach me a little bit more about tools and information I’ll need to be successful as I make that transition.

  3. I am here as a third semester grad student. This is my second semester taking online classes. I am a 2008 BGSU alumni with a BA in Communications. However, after college I went back to school to obtain a teaching license. I currently work at Bennett Venture Academy in Toledo as a middle school Social Studies teacher. This is my second year there. My passion has always been for history, especially American History which is my focus as a graduate student. I am looking forward to this class and hoping that I can bring some new tools into my classroom!

    1. I am here beginning the second year of the PhD program in the school of media and communication. I am of a more mature age so I have been working as an educational technology specialist for the last 13 years. The nine years before that I taught in the k-12 public school system teaching and doing whatever was needed for that school district. My focus was secondary Language Arts.

      In exploring my research interests for my PhD program, I have a strong passion to improve k-12 proficiency. Through my last thirteen years of teaching technology to k-12 teachers, I have grown into quite a tech geek and have searched for a solution for teachers and students to become more successful in school and to be engaged and motivated to participate. My dissertation idea is related to constructing my own digital media for k-12 school districts. I’m always looking for the thing that will revolutionize the educational world. There are a lot of great ideas and tools out there, but none of them are fitting the needs of all students. Motivation and fun are missing. This is where I think a video game curriculum would transform the way we teach and learn.

      I am always interested in different perspectives when it comes to education and technology. I look forward to engaging in stimulating dialog with my fellow educators and scholars who are “here” as well.

  4. My name is Emily Kincaid, and I am embarking on my second semester as a grad student in BGSU’s Masters in English-Teaching Specialization program. This class immediately sparked my interest when I first received an email that offered it as an elective. In the Spring of 2012 as I prepared myself for my undergrad graduation, one of my favorite professors informed me that he would be offering an experimental course on digital humanities during the fall of 2012. His description of the course and its unique approach intrigued me. In fact, I was very tempted to delay graduation so that I could take it, but the prohibitive cost of undergraduate credits and the desire to start my career (oh, sweet naïveté) won over in the end. Instead, I jealously witnessed glimpses of my peers’ work in the course via Facebook.

    Since then, my interest in the digital humanities has only increased. Over the years, I spent some time with post-modern writers, like Don DeLillo and Christian Bok, whose preoccupation with technology fascinates and scares me. I also have been undeniably caught up in the digitalization of the humanities both with my work at a technical college (teaching online) and with my recent beginnings as an all-online grad student. Again, I am in awe of how things have changed even since my undergrad days, and I am afraid of the giant that is the digital age.This fascination/fear dynamic really defines my motivation for taking this course.

    Despite being born and raised in the 90s, I find myself behind when it comes to technology. I prefer the tactile experience of book-reading, I do not have a twitter, and just hearing the word “coding” hurts my brain. I have much to learn, and this is a deficit which I would like to tackle. Herein lies one reason for why I am here. I do not, however, approach this task begrudgingly. Although I am a little behind, I am extremely intrigued by the vast possibility and already-here implications of digitalization. I am hungry to learn and eager to explore, but I am entering this task with a level of fear. I am nervous about my inadequacies, and I also fear the unknown power that is our ever-evolving technology.

    I recently was lucky enough to scale the 10,000 foot Mt. Haleakala in Maui to watch the sun rise over its volcanic crater. I was extremely excited (enough so to wake up at two in the morning and proceed without coffee) since I love hiking and mountains, but I was also extremely afraid thanks to my severe acrophobia. As the sun became just a pink line on the black horizon, I approached the edge of the crater with wobbly legs, white knuckles clutching the guardrail, but smiling like a goon. This is how I see myself embarking on the hike that is this course: trembling with an incredible excitement tempered with fearful anticipation. This time, though, I’m bringing coffee.

  5. Hello! My name is Liz, and I’m here because I’m pretty much crazy. I’m entering my second year of my master’s degree studies. The degree is in English, with an individualized focus on writing. I am a big fan of practical application of academic theories and teachings. I felt the digital humanities class would be a way to be more hands-on with my work – and I was right!

    It would be worth noting that I am a part-time, fully online student. The rest of the time, I work full time as a marketing coordinator (literally just started – was a recruiter for two years first) and do a lot of theatre in my community. I would say I’m the artsy type, and my career and future are very important to me. When I decided to get my degree and add another chunk of dough onto my student loans, I had to remind myself (and still do) that money isn’t as important as getting the most out of life as I can. My goal is to take what I learn and apply it to my work both in the office and out, and to one day teach at the collegiate level. I want to show my students that you can be theoretical, philosophical, artsy, etc. in an age and society where practical paths (STEM, for example) are the pressured norm. This class seems to follow the same thought process – pursuing humanities in an age focused on technology.

    I am excited to see our class will be less reading and more doing – bring it on!

  6. I am Kristen Johnson. I swore I had already posted but it is no where to be found, so I obviously need to be here. I am actually pretty tech-savvy, so I thought, and this class is a great opportunity for me to expand on that. I earned a Bachelor’s degree in history and English, and I have only used the English portion of it in my career thus far. I am very interested in exploring the historical side of my degree. English and history overlap in so many ways, I am interested to see what ideas and methods I can learn from everyone. I also teach mixed mode courses that require a great deal of technology. This class will definitely be applicable in helping me improve those courses. I am working to earn my MA in English. I am in my third semester and I have learned so much. I am excited for a course that isn’t a traditional reading or writing course.

  7. Hello all,
    I am here as I am second year phD student in the American Culture Studies department who is interested in the ability to display, share, catalog, and explore information pertaining to the humanities in digital spaces. In light of those interests, I have used such tools as Omeka and ContentDM, and developed a beginner’s level of proficiency. I have not studied DH as developing field before and I have general curiosity as to how these new tools can help scholars better engage with the formation and organization of culture. I also view this course as an opportunity to develop new skill sets that can be applicable to various job markets. I look forward to developing a level of technical aptitude as well as a theoretical understanding of digital methods as vehicles of learning for the future.

  8. Hello all,
    My name is Aaron and I am a second year Master’s student in the History Department. I took this class because I feel that it would be a great supplement for my future as an educator. It seems that many colleges and universities are embracing the trend of having online classes. In addition, research through digital space is vital for historians in the current setting. I built my own PC and have taken a TCOM class that dealt with HTML and CSS in designing websites but I will admit that I did not retain much of that information. However, this will be my first venture into the world of digital humanities. I believe this course will help me better understand the intricacies of the digital world and help me broaden my attractiveness when I begin to search for jobs in higher education.

  9. Greetings! My name is Sara Myser, and I am in pursuit of my Masters in English with a specialization in Teaching. This is my fifth semester in the program. I am currently teaching 9th grade Language Arts, Drama, and Novel at my home town high school. We suffer with a lack of technology in our district, and this class seemed to be a great opportunity to bring new ideas to my students and my colleagues. There is no denying that technology is here to stay, so I am excited to learn about what this class has to offer. To be honest, I had never even heard the term “digital humanities” until I received the e-mail for this offered class. Needless to say, I’m excited to learn, what I believe will be, LOTS of new things! I don’t consider myself too tech savvy, but I can usually guarantee my classroom computer will turn on and off…on a good day… 🙂

    I noticed some familiar names, and I am excited to get to know the rest of you! I hope everyone has a great start to their semester! 🙂

  10. Why am I here? There are multiple answers to this question. The first, more surface level answer is that I live an hour south of Bowling Green, have a 6 year old daughter, and work a full time job, so an online course sounded better than driving to campus three times a week in winter in Ohio . This course counted toward my degree and sounded interesting. The second and more serious answer is that I am a first year PhD student in the Writing and Rhetoric program. I just finished Kris Blair’s Computer Mediated Writing Theory and Practice. I realized how much I use technology in my classroom and experiment with different programs, apps, and assignments to see what works best in my courses. I like to use multimodal assignments, but am also interested in the ways in which as a professor I can create access points so technology can be used to create equality in my classroom. I’m interested in exploring theories further and exploring technologies that I can use in my classroom and day to day life.

  11. Hi Everyone! I’m here for several reasons. The first is I live an hour south of BGSU, have a fulltime job, and a 6 year old daughter, and didn’t want to drive to campus three times a week in the winter. I am a first year PhD student in the Rhetoric and Writing program. This online course met my requirements and sounded pretty cool. The second and more serious reason is that I love learning about new technology and often use various technologies in my classroom. I like using multimodal assignments and reading about theories and issues using technology in the classroom. I want to create multiple entry points to ensure everyone is comfortable in my classroom. Last semester I took Kris Blair’s Computer-Mediated Writing Theory and Practice course and would like to continue my studies in this area.

  12. Hi, everyone!

    First, I want to say that I’m very excited about taking this class. 🙂

    My name is Shanna, and I’m a first-year Ph.D student here at BGSU in media and communication. I got my master’s at Eastern Michigan University in written communication with a concentration in teaching. As such, I’ve always been interested in writing in digital environments, as well as incorporating those digital environments into my pedagogy. For example, while teaching first-year writing at EMU, I incorporated the use of Twitter as a research and learning tool.

    As a media scholar, I am interested in television, film, and social media, and fandom studies. Given my background and interests, a course in digital humanities made sense to me.

    Much of my personal life happens online as well. I participate in fandom online, so I’m very “plugged in” to Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr. Between my personal and professional interests, I’m always on the lookout for new, innovative ways to use them, both in and out of the classroom.

    I am enjoying reading everyone’s posts and I’m looking forward to working with you all this semester!

  13. Hi Everyone,

    My name is David Staub and I am a first year Master’s student within the history department. I am currently working with Dr. Brooks recruiting graduate students for the History department. I got my undergraduate degree in integrated social studies with a minor in political science from BGSU and taught for a year after graduating. I taught at a virtual academy that I created for the public school district of Xenia Ohio. While I loved working with the students the administration viewed the students more as dollar signs and their attitude eventually led me to resigning. I was recommended this course by Dr. Brooks because of its relevance to my thesis topic of video game history. I’ve built a couple of websites using google but beyond that writing code is new to me and I hope to learn a lot this semester!

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