I believe that the 21st-century classroom should be a place of intellectual, creative, and technological engagement for every student. Now more than ever, learning institutions are serving diverse cohorts of students that represent a variety of learning abilities, physical mobilities, ethnicities, cultures, and gender identities. These students have grown up in the digital age but have not had access to technology-integrated courses and Digital Humanities best practices because of a myriad of social and institutional obstacles. I have seen first-hand the positive results that digital pedagogy and innovative learning spaces can provide to diverse student cohorts. My intention as a professor is to continue innovating DH pedagogy and experimenting with inverted classroom structures so that students can find empowerment in their abilities and different experiences, ultimately giving them a platform to find their voice and champion their own future.
Oftentimes, Digital Humanities in higher education is comprised of very specialized and complex projects, requiring sophisticated information technology literacies. These projects serve their respective disciplines, and while valuable, they do not invite participation from the entire student body, nor encourage DH accessibility within or beyond the walls of the learning institution. Additionally, these DH projects require capable infrastructures and specific funding to operate, ultimately segregating resources that are so scarce already in lean scholastic budgets. This particular climate of Digital Humanities allows knowledge to remain siloed, reinforcing the stark contrasts of student and scholar hierarchies even within diverse academic communities.
The greater benefit of Digital Humanities is its sum value. Fostered with a spirit of collaboration, across departments, disciplines, archives, and repositories, DH can build academic communities where knowledge is produced and shared on all levels. From the undergraduate jumbo class to the graduate seminar, Digital Humanities can be an integral part of intellectual engagement through pedagogy, through research skills, and through approachable and affordable digital platforms.
A serious commitment to diversity demands that Digital Humanities be accessible to everyone, in every class, in affordable and efficient ways. Digital Humanities skills in the classroom enhance departmental learning objectives through technology learning outcomes and advanced cultural competencies. As both an instructor and DH scholar at a HEED awarded institution, I have seen first-hand the positive results of applying Digital Humanities to traditional coursework and rigid class structures. Simple digital platforms such as blogs and interactive timelines along with digital learning activities and multi-modal research projects empower students to participate in the course as teachers, discussion leaders, and creators of visual knowledge. The classroom becomes a hub of individual and collaborative efforts that incorporates different perspectives as well as shared experiences. In this way, the true cultural richness of the community is reflected in the course. Unlike traditional learning objectives and pedagogy that only acknowledge diversity as an outcome, Digital Humanities curriculum invites diversity to be an empowered influencer. It is this supported space that is able to connect student and faculty communities of learning and research, breaking down the barriers of knowledge and translating inspired strategies for all to experience and participate in.