My name is Laura and I am a second-year doctoral student at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN. I am housed in the German Department here at the university and am very excited to be part of the 2015-2016 HASTAC Scholar cohort.
Within German Studies, my interests lean heavily towards the topics of war, genocide, pacifism, legalism, and identity throughout the centuries of German thought, literature and film. While these might not seem like the most uplifting topics, they are certainly interesting ones, primarily for their continued connection to present-day debates and questions. Having 5+ years of teaching experience in language and cultural literacy, I am also interested in the role of the digital in the classroom, specifically in regards to the “flipped classroom,” developing digital learning platforms and curricula, and use of social media. Thanks to being a Graduate Student Affiliate at the Vanderbilt Center for Second Language Studies (CSLS) (shout out to Todd Hughes!), I am able to be more involved with students and work on neat digital projects that engage them in the classroom in exciting ways. Since I am self-proclaimed lover of all things social media, I create projects that look at the ways students already use existing platforms like Instagram with the aim of integrating these productive skills into an engaging classroom. Its been fun to work on this and see how the students respond (more on this in a separate blog post later). I also plan to blog more about my interests in digital platforms for language learning, the flipped classroom, and structural implementation processes for digital curricula.
The Center for Second Language Studies also offers a wide range of working groups on digital topics like TEI, geospatial mapping, and gaming. The knowledge I have gained from these has not only added to an important and increasingly valuable digital skill set, it also has enriched and informed the ways I understand the connections between German pacifists after World War One and how I look at Austro-Romani Holocaust survivor Ceija Stojka’s “spatial” writings in her memoirs. Through using digital tools, I am able continually discover new ways of understanding the dimensions of my work, and most importantly, ways of presenting it and making it accessible to people inside and outside my field. This last thing is something that is a passion of mine: I want to find ways of connecting not only with students and other academics, but also with the greater public through the valuable work we do at the university.
I’m looking forward to hearing and learning from you all!