Voila!–Syllabus and Online Survey Creation and Dessimination

Now that we are in the eighth day of the workshop, a number of ideas have begun to gel and produce fruit.

The two that emerged today during workshop during discussions were a draft of my syllabus for an online graduate history course that I am teaching this fall tentatively titled “Learning and Doing African American History in the Digital Age:  Cutting-Edge Theories, Tools, and Approaches,” and an online survey that I will launch to learn more about the manner and degree to which scholars of history and public history engage digital tools, technology, and methods in professional communication, teaching, and research.  I hope to use the data collected to help identify individual, departmental, and institutional areas for professional growth and development.

I am going to ask my now wonderfully-informed DH workshop colleagues to evaluate the survey offer suggestions for improvement before I forward the survey for posting via Survey Monkey.   I hope to launch the survey next week, and I will give participants a two-week window to respond.

Both projects are integrally related to my ongoing research on the Lillian Horace Papers.

Full speed ahead!




Source: Voila!–Syllabus and Online Survey Creation and Dessimination

Now You Hear It: Music & History

I greatly appreciate the time we were granted in DH to consider or rethink how we use music in our history courses.  In my early days as a French and ESL teacher, I created songs to help my students absorb various concepts.  My favorite “Love Revised” carried my 10th and 11th graders through a jazzy lesson in composition writing that I still enjoy singing for fun when no one is in earshot:  “Baby, Dot my “i’s”/cross my “t’s”/make a polished paper out of me/You see I have had enough of fragmented love…”  And the rendition goes on….

When I entered the college classroom as a French teacher, I continued to compose little songs to help my students remember various types of grammatical configurations.  And I was more than eager to use my creative skills once again to help me remember under pressure the numbers of sharps and flats found in various key signatures.

As I was trying to establish myself as a historian, I shied away from performance in the class room, and chose to include prerecorded performances that meshed well with a given historical theme or period.   Music as social protest was more suitable to my needs at the time.  With the advent of You Tube and a boost of confidence gained from a jazz history course I took on campus, I began including on my syllabi links to various songs with clear historical import: Billie Holiday’s haunting rendition of “Strange Fruit,” James Brown, “Say It Loud: I’m Black and I’m Proud,” Helen Reddy’s “I Am Woman,” and others.

My past and ongoing appreciate for music and music literature notwithstanding,  I greatly appreciate our discussion of music and digital history because it challenged me to imagine other meaningful ways to engage music in my history classes.


Source: Now You Hear It: Music & History

Now, You See It: Visualizing History

Our detailed discussions about visualizing history have been among the most beneficial to me in my intermittent ten-year quest to find digital tools to map the missionary impulse of African American Pentecostal Charismatics in the Southwest.

As I had encountered maps in textbooks throughout my educational career, I was surprised by the opaque answers I would get each time I asked about creating maps to enhance my project.

As I poured through property records from one county to the next, it became clear almost immediately that the data collected would be best understood on a graph or map as opposed to described in a traditional narrative.  I was assured that mapping programs existed but also that they were complicated and expensive.

Of course, I was happy to learn that our recently hired geographer had ordered a copy of an excellent mapping program.  My goal since that announcement been to relocate all the data collected and now stacked away in boxes, and prepare it for fresh mapping project.

Given the length of my journey to “seeing” particular moments in history, I was delighted to learn about the various mapping programs we might use to enhance our teaching and scholarship.  With those tools and GIS in hand, I can move forward with confidence one coordinate at a time.

Source: Now, You See It: Visualizing History