Hello fellow HASTAC scholars and the greater HASTAC community!
My name is Vivian Finch, and I'm a PhD candidate in German Literature at Vanderbilt University. I've been reading everyone's blog introductions, which really energized me for the upcoming year and led me to write my own introduction here. My interest in the digital humanities stems from a personal use of social media. I have profiles on a few social media networks, but I find myself using Twitter most frequently (Instagram is a close second!). I've been on Twitter since early 2009, but it was not until the spring semester of 2010 that I used Twitter in German language instruction for the first time.
Initially I found Twitter to be a productive platform for introductory foreign language students to practice consistent written language use at a low-stakes level. Perhaps more importantly, Twitter afforded a certain level of authentic language experiences for my students that I would be hard-pressed to match inside the classroom. As I move into teaching intermediate to advanced German language courses, I am exploring more complex and integrated methods of Twitter use inside and outside the classroom, especially those methods that encourage student-driven production. Such investigations have led me to contemplate how Twitter might fit into a larger plan for a foreign language MOOC down the road and what a foreign language MOOC could look like in its many variations.
This interest in the digital humanities was further cultivated by my affiliation with the Center for Teaching at Vanderbilt, with whom I have worked over the past year as a two time Teaching Affiliate (responsible for helping organize Vanderbilt's Teaching Assistant Orientation). This year, the Center for Teaching is generously supporting my participation as a HASTAC scholar. So while you can always read my blogs here on the HASTAC website, also look for them occasionally over at the Center for Teaching's website ( http://cft.vanderbilt.edu )!
Although my dissertation has no direct ties to the digital humanities (dealing with the publication and reception history of Brazilian literature in post-WWII Germany), my archival research has further confirmed the importance of the digital world in humanities scholarship, as I was able to access digital archives both in Brazil and Germany. While conducting research in the Archive of German Literature in Marbach, Germany, earlier this year, I was able to attend a conference on the importance, potential dangers, and future of digital archives in relation to more traditional archives.
While my interests in the digital humanities remain diverse, I am most focused on the impact of the digital world (more specifically social networking platforms) on the foreign language classroom and what that future might look like. I look forward to meeting and interacting with many of you, so please feel free to reach me here or via email: firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter: www.twitter.com/vivianfinch.
Here's to the upcoming year in HASTAC!