Crystal S. Anderson, PhD
Associate Professor of English, Longwood University
Beyond the Classroom: Undergraduate Research and Digital Humanities
CUR 2016 Biennial Conference | Tampa, FL | June 23-28, 2016
Students may be “digital natives,” but how can we channel their informal interaction with digital environments into a rich research experience? This presentation shares digital tools that students can use for Internet research and explores the challenges of working on co-curricular collaborative digital humanities projects with undergraduates.
Undergraduate research is often constructed within a curricular context, focusing on the face-to-face experience between an instructor and student as crucial to mentoring and the transmission of inquiry and research skills. This presentation shares the experience of a collaborative digital humanities project conducted through the Internet. Because of its digital nature, the project invited students globally to participate as research assistants. Students were trained, received feedback on their work and participated in a research community almost entirely in a digital environment. As a result, new models of engaging students online emerged from the project. The project introduced students to an array of digital tools and trained them in skills that they could use in their curricular lives beyond the project. At the same time, the project encountered several challenges involved with motivating an undergraduate population outside of a course working on an unfunded project. The presentation will explore how the digital presents new opportunities for undergraduate research, especially in areas where faculty mentorship exists outside of the institution.