Section 1: Accomplishments
What were the major goals of the project?
- The City College of New York proposed to develop and pilot a curriculum for a minor in Digital Humanities. For humanities majors these courses and this minor will serve three central purposes: they will increase students’ inquiry-driven and experiential learning in the humanities, they will augment and enrich traditional humanistic study by providing our students with a broader array of techniques in performing critical analysis and problem-solving (two of the central values of a humanities education), and they will expand students’ understanding of the analytical frameworks that are available to them. By emphasizing the points of convergence between humanities and technology the Digital Humanities minor will enrich students’ understanding of how the humanities fit within broader contexts; it will also prepare them for a broader array of career options. These courses may also attract technologically-oriented students to pursue humanistic study.
- We set out to develop and pilot a curriculum for a minor in Digital Humanities (DH) housed in the Division of Humanities and the Arts at The City College of New York. As part of the process, we aimed to provide faculty from across the division with opportunities to acquire DH skills and integrate these methodologies into their teaching practices.
What was accomplished under these goals?
- During Spring and Summer of 2021, we identified, hired, and onboarded our first digital fellow from the CUNY Graduate Center, Stefano Morello. Stefano took charge of updating maintaining our Digital Humanities website that had been established by the instructional technologist funded by our previous NEH CARES grant, which supported the use of Digital Humanities platforms by adjunct faculty. Stefano worked with Professor of Classical and Modern Languages and Literatures Isabel Estrada on the design and implementation of her course “Activism,” which is currently being offering in Spring 2022, and which engages students with the digitization and digital annotation of materials in our college archives that pertain to student activism. He also worked consulted with other faculty in humanities and in the library, supporting them as become increasingly familiar with digital tools, and thus developing a community of practice around Digital Humanities. Stefano is currently working with Professor of History John Blanton in preparing his course, “Mapping Slavery and Freedom,” for Fall 2022. I addition to the courses listed above, we also are piloting, this semester, the gateway course to the minor, “Foundations of Data Science.” This was the result of extensive discussions between Project Directors Thomas Peele and Renata Miller and members of the Computer Science Department regarding course design and placement in the curriculum, as well as discussions with, and votes of, City College’s General Education committee, as the course fulfills our General Education Quantitative Reasoning requirement. Stefano has also been running workshops regarding platforms such as Omeka and Manifold in order to support a Digital Humanities community of practice, and to develop faculty interest in teaching courses using digital tools.
- The project accomplished these goals by offering foundational DH workshops, one-on-one faculty consultations, and project-based model course development. Our Digital Humanities Fellows also received a Transformative Learning for the Humanities grant on behalf of our initiative to support faculty in designing seven project-based DH courses for the 2023-2024 academic year.
What opportunities for training and professional development did the project provide?
- Approximately 50 full-time and part-time faculty have participated in the Digital Humanities workshops offered by this project. In addition, approximately 15 faculty have worked one-on-one with our digital fellow, acquiring new pedagogical and research skills.
- We provided opportunities for training and professional development by hosting thirty workshops that covered various topics and tools related to DH, such as digital archives, mapping, data visualization, oral history, open access publishing, and more (Appendix I). We also offered consultations on technical challenges, DH funding opportunities, and project and course design. Students had an opportunity to familiarize with the field of Digital Humanities primarily through three of the pilot courses we ran, “Activism and the College Experience,” “Mapping Slavery and Freedom,” and “Fundamentals of Data Science.”
How were the results disseminated to communities of interest?
- The workshops and the digital fellow’s availability for consultation has been regularly publicized to the City College community through broadcast emails and through communications with department chairs. In addition, an article about this project is appearing in the electronic newsletters of the Division of Humanities and the Arts.
- The results were disseminated to communities of interest by creating public-facing digital projects that showcased the work of students and faculty, such as Let My People Know, an Open Educational Resource for teaching about the Spanish Civil War and student activism at CCNY, and a digital story map on slavery and freedom in Massachusetts.
Section 2: Participants and Other Collaborating Organizations
What individuals have worked on the project?
- The individuals who worked on the project were:
- Name: Renata Miller; Project Role: Project Director; Institution: City College of New York; Nearest person month worked: 1; Contribution to Project: supervisionm, liason with department chairs and faculty, grant management; State of residence: New York, U.S.A.
- Name: Thomas Peele; Project Role: Project Co-Director; Institution: City College of New York; Nearest person month worked: 2; Contribution to Project: direct supervision of Digital Fellow Stefano Morello, organization of workshops, collaboration with Computer Science to launch introductory data science course, working with General Education committee regarding data science course, hiring of part-time faculty member for data science course; State of residence: New York, U.S.A.
- Name: Stefano Morello; Project Role: Digital Fellow; Institution: Graduate Center of the City University of New York; Nearest person month worked: 3; Contribution to Project: plan and conduct workshops, consult with faculty, maintain web-based library of resources, provide feedback and assist with assessment; State of residence: New York, U.S.A.
- Name: Isabel Estrada; Project Role: Faculty; Institution: City College of New York; Nearest person month worked: 2; Contribution to Project: teaching a pilot course, “Activism”; State of residence: New York, U.S.A.
- Name: Patrick Smyth; Project Role: Faculty; Institution, City College of New York; Nearest person month worked: 2; Contribution to Project: teaching a pilot course, “Foundations of Data Science”; State of residence: New York, U.S.A.
- The individuals who worked on the project were:
- Stefano Morello and Olivia Ildefonso, served as Digital Fellows for two years and one year respectively. They are both alumni of the Digital Fellows program at the Graduate Center.
- Patrick Smyth and Filipa Calado, also alumni of the Digital Fellows program at the Graduate Center, taught a newly-developed “Foundations of Data Science” course.
- Isabel Estrada, Associate Professor of Iberian and Latin American Cultures at CCNY taught the “Activism and the College Experience” course.
- John Blanton, Assistant Professor of History at CCNY, taught the “Mapping Slavery and Freedom” course.
- Yolande Brener, adjunct instructor in the English department, taught two English composition courses with DH-based final projects.
- We also had a number of speakers join our workshops: Robin Miller, who led the Manifold workshop series, Elena Abou Mrad, who led the oral history workshop; Michael Crowley, who co-led the digital music archives workshop; Sarah Aponte, Ching Jung Chen, Sydney Van Nort, Allison Levy, and other faculty members, librarians, archivists, and DH specialists who participated in or contributed to the workshops or model courses.
Section 3: Impact
What was the impact on the development of the principal discipline(s) of the project?
- By creating a community of practice around Digital Humanities at the City College of New York, this project has supported approximately 50 faculty in adopting new digital tools in their research and pedagogy, expanding our methods for studying literature, history, philosophy, and other humanistic disciplines. The new courses that we have piloted, particularly the “Foundations of Data Science” course, have changed the curriculum at City College. Humanities students now have a course, tailored to their needs and interests, that introduces them to coding and data analysis. As a result of these new courses, humanities students will explore their fields of study with new perspectives. They will also enter their professional careers, upon graduation, with facility in the use of digital methods of analysis and data visualization.
- The impact on the development of the principal discipline(s) of the project was positive and significant. The project enhanced humanities education by providing students with a broader array of techniques for critical analysis and problem-solving. The project also enriched humanities research by introducing faculty to new methods and tools for data collection, analysis, visualization, and dissemination. The project also fostered interdisciplinary collaboration and innovation by bridging humanities with computer science, social sciences, arts, music, and other fields.
What was the impact on the development of human resources?
- In the first year this project created two jobs: the digital fellow position and the adjunct position for teaching Foundations of Data Science. Faculty at City College are developing familiarity with and facility in digital tools and methods, using them in their research and teaching. Students who have studied with these faculty will, in turn, enter their professional careers with facility in the use of digital methods of analysis and data visualization.
- The impact on the development of human resources was also positive and significant. The project trained faculty in DH skills and methodologies that they can apply to their own research or teaching. The project also equipped students with valuable professional skills and tools that they can use in their future academic or career endeavors. The project also created opportunities for faculty-student mentorship and peer-to-peer learning that enhanced their intellectual growth and engagement.
How many people benefited from the project?
- 100 through direct participation
- The number of people who benefited from the project was over 320. This includes faculty members who attended workshops or consultations; students who enrolled in model courses or participated in digital projects; alumni who contributed to oral history projects; community members or organizations who were engaged with or impacted by digital projects; and other CUNY faculty or staff who expressed interest in or supported the project. Direct engagement with our initiatives by faculty and students produced further second- and third-order effects on the community and curiosity around the methodologies showcased and taught by our Digital Fellows.
What was the impact on teaching and educational experiences?
- By creating a community of practice around Digital Humanities at the City College of New York, this project has supported approximately 50 faculty in adopting new digital tools in their research and pedagogy, expanding our methods for studying literature, history, philosophy, and other humanistic disciplines. The new courses that we have piloted have changed the curriculum at City College. “Foundations of Data Science,” in particular, is a ground-breaking development at City College, because although we have the only public school of engineering in New York City, Engineering has never offered courses in General Education and/or to students who are majoring in Engineering. Humanities students now have a course, tailored to their needs and interests, that introduces them to coding and data analysis. Our Digital Humanities website provides resources for all who are interested in exploring digital pedagogies in humanities.
- The impact on teaching and educational experiences was positive and significant. The project improved student learning outcomes by providing them with experiential learning and project-based pedagogy that engaged them with real-world data and issues. The project also improved faculty teaching practices by providing them with resources and support to incorporate DH methods and tools into their curriculum. The project also improved the quality and accessibility of educational materials by creating open educational resources and digital publications that can be used by other instructors or learners.
What was the impact on physical, institutional, and information resources that form infrastructure?
- The work of our digital fellow has continued to build a community of practice around Digital Humanities. Our Digital Humanities website provides resources for all who are interested in exploring digital pedagogies in humanities.
- The impact on physical, institutional, and information resources that form infrastructure was positive and significant. The project enhanced the physical resources by creating digital archives and exhibits that preserved and showcased the historical and cultural heritage of CCNY and its community. The project also enhanced the institutional resources by creating partnerships and collaborations across departments, colleges, and organizations that strengthened the network and reputation of CCNY. The project also enhanced the information resources by creating digital platforms and tools that facilitated data collection, analysis, visualization, and dissemination.
What was the impact on society beyond specialists in the humanities?
- The faculty and students trained through this program will be better able to represent their work to the public, using data visualization tools such as mapping, archive, and exhibition software. Students trained in Digital Humanities will enter the workplace with both the critical thinking skills of the humanities, and a set of digital analysis and coding skills that will enable them to imagine, design, and use new tools of analysis and representation. A student who pursues a career in law or policy- making, for example, will be able to research a particular matter not only from the standpoint of a well-trained historian, but will also be able to employ digital tools to analyze a large body of text, doing a “big data” analysis. An art history graduate may go on to serve in museum management and may develop a new online platform that allows the public to explore and engage with the museum’s collections in new ways.
- The impact on society beyond specialists in the humanities was positive and significant. The project addressed social issues and challenges such as student activism, political conflict, slavery, freedom, diversity, inclusion, and more. The project also engaged with community members or organizations such as neighborhood stories project, NYC community fridge archive, East Bay punk digital archive, and others. The project also created public-facing digital projects that raised awareness and understanding of humanities topics among general audiences.