Nancy Beck Young and I had an interesting conversation about using the digital to teach primary source analysis in a gen-ed, survey course (mine is 1877-present) context. Part of the challenge in courses like these is usually that students are non-majors, and likely don’t have very much primary source experience. My goals are to teach them critical analysis–especially, visual literacy–, and also how to put together evidence to form an argument. I was thinking about creating a visual source annotation assignment with a platform like ThingLink, and Nancy’s experience with digital stories (iMovie or Prezi, or even PowerPoint) has made me think that this might be a good way to teach students to do the work of assembling and using evidence.
I think these would be fairly simple assignments, and could be done without very much tech training.
Visual Literacy (5 per semester): choose, from this week’s course materials, one image, and annotate this using ThingLink. Your annotations must attend to background, context, and close analysis. You must have at least ten separate annotations, of these, no more than three can be links to other digital sources (be careful that this source is reputable-this might have to be another handout, or a “transferrable skill”). The others must include your own original analysis (at least a paragraph for each), which you can supplement with additional links, as necessary and appropriate. Be prepared to informally present your ThingLink project in class (about 5 minutes). It will also be posted on our course management site.
“Visual literacy” is one of the learning objectives for this gen-ed course, which I think this assignment would help to satisfy.