Some thoughts on fully-online history teaching

2014 February 25
Computer gone haywire, from the movie Desk Set (1957)

That feeling when Blackboard just isn’t doing what I want it to.

I haven’t posted here in a while, largely because I’ve been busy boot-camping myself on fully-online teaching. I’ve been learning a lot! I’ve taken advantage of the professional-development training I have available, both for online teaching and from our campus teaching-and-learning center. I have staff support from a wonderful instructional designer who helps convert my course designs into clickability on Blackboard. Still, there’s always a gap between theory and application. I haven’t really known how to write about I’m doing, largely because I’m still up to my ears in figuring it out.

In general, historians have been very skeptical about the idea that we can teach our discipline well without face-to-face, real-time classroom interaction. Well, skepticism or not, I’m doing it.

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In which your narrator packs lots of boxes.

2012 July 19
Loading oranges into refrigerator car at a co-op orange packing plant (LOC)

Jack Delano (FSA/OWI), “Loading oranges into refrigerator car at a co-op orange packing plant,” c. 1939.

From the depths of my packing for relocation to Miami, I bring you some questions about the scholarly journal in the age of digital reading.

As I go through my bookshelves, I’m confronting an amazing number of issues of scholarly journals that I subscribe to, in paper, and have never had time to read. Even though some of them offer online-only subscriptions, I’ve been partial to receiving the paper journals. There’s utility in an object: it hangs around my house/office, reminding me that I can find out about really fascinating new research if I just take the time to open the journal.

But have I actually made time for reading them? Regrettably, no.

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Announcing the US Children’s Bureau Papers Project

2012 June 12
Child Health Day 1939: 'The health of the child is the power of the nation'

Source: SSA History Archives, via Larry DeWitt.

Last week, I had the good fortune to present an invited talk at the Radcliffe Workshop on Technology and Archival Processing, a small gathering of archives professionals from Harvard and other New England institutions. The Workshop is put together by the staff of the Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, where I’ve been a frequent visitor, camera in hand, shooting research-quality images of their collections. I was invited to participate in a session on “Processing for End Users,” but rather than rehashing my posts on digital tools and archives research, I decided to present about my new project. read more…