Applied Digital Humanities

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Using digital humanities in my classroom has been important for several years. Working with Doug Seefeldt and Wil Thomas really pushed me to think about the ways that we can and should approach computing in a humanities classroom. While the projects that Will and Doug worked on were enormous and actively pushed the boundaries on digital projects, I still have been working on effectively incorporating digital humanities into my classes.

At our small, moderately selective, midwestern state university, it has been challenging to gain support for digital history, yet over the last five years it has been building.

In the fall of 2018, our initial Introduction to Digital Humanities class began relatively slow, but quickly has taken off. In the next year, we will be debuting Northwest Stories. This project is a combination of a web application and eventually an app that will connect the histories of Northwest Missouri State University with those who made that history. We will incorporate location, imagery, social tagging, and history to tell the stories of locations on campus. The students who have been working on this have taken on a huge project and made it their own. They have been researching, programming, collecting, and writing to tell the story of Northwest.

The university has been extremely encouraging in this endeavor. Two major components have come into play. It was clear that as we were working on Digital Humanities, that the projects we wanted to work on needed to continue beyond one semester. To that end, Dr. Dawn Gilley authorized the establishment of a Digital Humanities Internship, effective in the subsequent semester. Dr. Gilley, our department chair, and Dr. Mike Steiner our dean enabled the use of office space and the eventual integration of a lab, which will be called the Applied Digital Humanities Lab.

I cannot be more excited about the lab and students to fill it. We anticipate the continued development of both Northwest Stories and the previously established Scholastica: A Journal of Undergraduate Research in the Humanities in the lab and the internships. The potential is enormous and we are very excited about the prospects.

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