Pacific is entering a new period in which technology is playing an influential role both in and out of the classroom. For instance, as a member on the Strategic Planning Committee, we recently revisited the Key Strategic Indicators (KSI) to determine student success. For each goal made by the committee and the Council of Deans, there are no more than three KSIs to support the goal. Existing measures are used when appropriate for the committee to analyze and reduce data to a manageable number.
What does this have to do with the reading? Action item “1.3 Embrace New Technologies, Innovative Learning Models” correlates – to a degree – with Jerome McGann’s scholarly review essay, “Radiant Textuality.”
Hypertext is repeatedly used throughout the essay as a new concept. Considering McGann’s article was published in 1996, the idea of linking text or materials to related information, graphics, or sites seemed daunting. However, fast forward 19 years into the future and it’s simple. Shortcuts were establish for any individual interested in creating a hypertext to do so. For example, if I wanted to “hypertext” McGann essay, “Radiant Textuality,” I would just need to highlight the selected area, click on the link icon, and then insert the link.
The article also relates the topic to libraries. Computerization in humanities has been mainly located and associated with libraries. As a member of the University Library Search Committee, the digital humanities and creating a library that caters to print text and the digital era were frequently discussed. The library is considered the church of learning, with the reference desk and its personnel viewed as the high priest by scholars. The article debates whether or not computerizing data is prudent or keeping printed copies of materials. Again, we are in the 21st century and with challenges such as Action Item 1.3 and Pacific 2020, encouraging us to pursue technology as an innovative learning model seems difficult; how much should we innovate and what types of texts or printed material should we keep in the library?
However, if the new library dean decides to digitalize most – if not all – of the library resources, a problem that would arise is access to materials. Amy Earhart’s article, “Can Information Be Unfettered? Race and the New Digital Humanities Canon,” notes of the push for free access to materials in a digitalizing world. In addition, Earhart notes that the digital humanities deemphasized theoretical appraisal of the digital utilizing cultural studies framework.
Does this mean digital humanities will be harming academia? Or, in other words, does the implementation of digital humanities restrict learning or producing work?
Referring to my committee work with the Strategic Planning Committee, Action Item 1.3 encourages hybrid teaching model/online programs and faculty and students presentation on work related to technology and learning model. However, using existing data the University have:
- A definition such as hybrid does not exist – so along with the data; and
- Data was not collected from faculty and students and no definition was established on what constitutes a conference versus training versus seminar.
Despite the lack of available data and information I provided, I still believe digital humanities encourages learning and producing work. The accessibility to data, information, and charts – as well as the use of hyperlinks – provides easy access to further information and supporting data.