Blog Post

Why Not a Best Practices Wiki?

The discussion happening in the "What's Going On in Digital Humanities?"forum has made me wonder, why doesn't HASTAC provide a pedagogy wikithat outlines effective ways to use technology in the classroom? I suspect there are others out there who want to use technology effectively, but fear that it may be nothing more than a gimmick rather than useful and relevant to learning. HASTAC represents a large population of people experimenting with and mastering different aspects of technology in the classroom. I, for one, would love to have a centralized resource to which I could refer for ideas, tips, and inspiration.

There is, for example, the Digital Humanities wiki, which I just discovered, but it seems to have had no edits in the last 7 months and offers nothing like what I'm calling for. The Project Bamboo wikihas some ideas here and there. At the University of Texas at Austin, wehave an electronic resource called eFiles, where instructors can sharetheir lesson plans, exercises, etc., but it is a private site.

I already use video, the web, and online document storage extensively in my classes, but Cathy Davidson's use of blogs (which I have seen tried unsuccessfully by others) has me thinking again about doing the same next semester. Done properly, it seems like a perfect marriage of informal writing practice and technology that enhances the value of both for the students. Had I not asked in the forum, however, what she does that works, I would probably still be skeptical... and I love technology. What of those who technology intimidates, but who nevertheless want to use it more?

If we could harness the collective intelligence of HASTAC to lower the perceived risks in such pedagogical experiments, we would be providing a valuable service to a larger community than our already stimulating discussions. Further, given the large number of contributors, it would probably not take very long before such a wiki would contain significant and unexpected ideas for all of us to draw on. If such a project is already underway, where do I sign up (and why aren't we promoting it heavily)?




Hi, Michael, I love this idea. Next month (oh, please, please, please) we will be launching the new HASTAC website and it will have many more interactive social components. A pedagogy forum, including a wiki, is one of them. Once we beta test and migrate and settle in, we will do a big push for more interactive in our ever-growing community (we're over 2000-strong now) and such a Wiki is exactly what we are hoping for. We're on the same page, just waiting for a much more inviting website to host our aspirations and exemplify how you need the right affordances AND the right social and intellectual conditions to make these things work. Thanks so much for writing this, Michael.


This really is a great idea, Mike!


Well, that's good news indeed! I look forward to pitching in and trying out the ideas and tips folks have. If you need help testing the new site, I have experience breaking things.


I'll let Mark and Mandy know you'd like to help them break the new site (you are breaking their hearts as I type . . . they have spent so much time on this, I know they want it to be PERFECT, a true labor of love).