Today at SPSU’s Digital Humanities Working Group, we hosted David Morgen and Dave Fisher of Emory’s University’s Writing Program. In ETCMA we’ve had growing interest in the Domain of One’s Own initiative, originally from University of Mary Washington (led by Jim Groom and Tim Owens) and in its pilot stage at Emory this year.
David and Dave used a mostly visual slideshow (link coming soon) that highlighted the values of the program (approach, curriculum, assessment, design, ethics, mechanics, inquiry, community) and echoed some things I’ve been thinking about this semester:
- Domain-related classes come from the ground up — they’re proposed by the teacher rather than pushed down from administration.
- Students don’t have to become experts in design to experience growth as a media designers; work on a Domain-related site need not be held to “commerce site” design demands.
- Assessment means assessing individual growth and programmatic growth; these two should be considered separately for measurement purposes.
- Students should be able to “play” with the digital space.
- Project-based learning and conducting primary research (from short video or social media interviews to more detailed ethnographic work) should originate from curiosity and clearly articulated methods of inquiry.
- The communities built around digital curation, composition, and engagement become new classrooms that operate under a collaborative dynamic.
- Digital literacies — including critical and rhetorical reading strategies, attention to design, and a new awareness of (and hopefully, excitement about) audience — are valuable across the boundaries of disciplines and institutions.
David and Dave stressed the idea that “curriculum drives Domain,” which resonates with my constant hope that digital pedagogues “focus on methods, not tools” (my presentation topic at Emory’s symposium last January). As usual and as a relative late-comer to the affordances of digital pedagogy, this concentration on literacy(ies) and inquiry pushes me back into Paulo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed:
Indeed problem-posing education, which breaks with the vertical characteristic of banking education, can fulfill its function of freedom only if it can overcome the above contradiction. Through dialogue, the teacher-of-the-students and the students-of-the-teacher cease to exist and a new term emerges: teacher-student with students-teachers. The teacher is no longer merely the-one-who-teaches, but one who is himself taught in dialogue with the students, who in turn while being taught also teach. They become jointly responsible for a process in which all grow. In this process, arguments based on “authority” are no longer valid; in order to function authority must be on the side of freedom, not against it. Here, no one teaches another, nor is anyone self-taught. People teach each other, mediated by the world, by the cognizable objects which in banking education are “owned” by the teacher.
I am excited that we’re moving toward working Domain, in some form, into our curriculum at SPSU next year.
More information on Emory’s Domain project:
There are currently about 40 classes enrolled in the Domain pilot, with approximately 700 students expected to participate this year. Course titles include “Platforms and Apparatuses” and “Digital Media and Culture” (Film & Media Studies), “Reading Literature and the Environment,” “Living Multilingualism,” and “This Disabled American Life” (First Year Composition), “Advanced News Reporting” (Journalism), and more. Domain provides Emory with opportunities to explore digital literacies across the curriculum, to foster faculty collaboration on student projects, and to re-imagine publishing and research options for undergraduates. They hope to initiate cross-institutional collaboration in the near future for universities in the Atlanta metro area that are interested in tinkering with Domain-related projects.