Digital Pedagogy in the Humanities is an open access book written in the “keywords” tradition of Raymond Williams’s seminal publication, but it also collects, describes, and ultimately foregrounds the “stuff” of pedagogy–syllabi, prompts, guides, projects, student work, and even primary sources–for instructors to reuse and adapt.

82 authors contributed 59 keyword chapters, each containing a curatorial statement and ten pedagogical resources, which were categorized, tagged, attributed, and annotated with commentary, representative screen caps, permissions, lists of related materials, and links to the originals where possible.

Rebecca Frost Davis, Matthew K. Gold, Katherine D. Harris, and I started this project with the Modern Language Association back in 2012, after Kathy and I had drafted a book proposal for a companion to digital pedagogy. The four of us served as general editors, and in July 2014 we began sharing our editorial process via GitHub. I contributed to the project until early 2018, when Rebecca, Matt, and Kathy kindly agreed to see it to completion. The MLA published Digital Pedagogy in the Humanities online in 2020, having dedicated an incredible amount of time, resources, and staff talent to building it in Humanities Commons.

I learned a lot about pedagogy while designing, developing, editing, and reading Digital Pedagogy. I also learned a lot about myself. For instance, I was initially tempted to do all the things. What if we added X, or readers could do Y? I gather this temptation is common among web-based projects, “unbounded” such as they may be, and thus I spent nearly a decade educating myself about scope and feature creep. I realized as well how important design is to me and my own editorial process. Between 2012 and 2020, our team presented multiple states of the book across an array of formats and platforms: Word, Markdown, GitHub, CommentPress, MLA Commons, Humanities Commons . . . Interestingly enough, many of these versions remain discoverable online, providing audiences with a “change history” of sorts. How did the book morph over a few years? How did this become that? I find such change and experimentation to be quite fascinating; however, I should balance them with respect for the time and labor of an entire team: in this case, fellow editors, the MLA, and our 80+ contributing authors.

Now I know more about not only prototyping a large project and routinely testing its scholarly apparatus but also communicating clearly, and early, about what’s feasible, what’s expected, and when. Doing so helps me to avoid those embarrassing follow-up emails to people who are already busy enough. Sorry, but would you be willing to also provide Z for your chapter? Could you scrap A and try B instead?

I learn from speaking candidly with collaborators, too, and that’s incredibly tricky in a large project. What do we value in the academy? In our communities? How will this project affect our other personal and professional commitments? Whom might the project risk marginalizing or objectifying? Whom will it benefit most? How precarious are our employment situations? How much can each of us commit to this publication, and by when do each of us expect it (or need it) to be published? Who isn’t at the table, how will we acquire permissions, and whose consent is essential before we proceed? Where will the final project be housed, and how we will maintain it? Have we consulted with, or included, librarians? When might the project require additional collaborators, and how will we invite and acknowledge them? How will we approach credit and attribution, generally speaking? How might we build flexibility into our plans and work cultures? Do we care to use task management software? How does meeting frequently across time zones sound to everyone, and when might such a commitment increase individual and/or collective anxiety?

If I consider questions such as these before a project begins and as it unfolds, then I’m far less likely to juggle too much, tacitly endorse overwork, and eventually disappoint myself and others. I also become better aware of when my various projects might overlap too significantly, result in scheduling difficulties, generate conflicts of interest, and overwhelm me. After all, large, open access projects are tough to plan and maintain, and they demand a lot from us. Just because it’s online doesn’t mean it was fast or easy.

Below are links to multiple versions, including the final version, of Digital Pedagogy in the Humanities, together with an official description of the collection, its table of contents, author names, and links to all 59 chapters and the introduction. I also point to Nicky Agate’s April 2015 interview with the editorial team, the Markdown template we initially used for book chapters, and a digital pedagogy course I taught with Diane Jakacki and Kathy Harris at UVic in June 2012.

Thanks to my coeditors, Rebecca, Kathy, and Matt; to all our amazing authors (listed below); to Diane for teaching “Digital Pedagogy” with Kathy and me; to everyone at the MLA (past and present), including Nicky Agate, Anne Donlon, Kathleen Fitzpatrick, Angela Gibson, Laura Kiernan, Katherine Kim, Eric Knappe, Tom Lewek, Margit Longbrake, Sara Pastel, Jonathan Reeve, and Chris Zarate; and to the members of our project’s advisory board: Cheryl Ball, Bryan Carter, Tanya Clement, Brian Croxall, Douglas Eyman, Paul Fyfe, Gail Hawisher, Jason B. Jones, Virginia Kuhn, Cynthia Selfe, and Lisa Spiro.

Digital Pedagogy in the Humanities

Digital Pedagogy in the Humanities: Concepts, Models, and Experiments
Published with the Modern Language Association in 2020 using Humanities Commons | edited with Rebecca Frost Davis, Matthew K. Gold, and Katherine D. Harris | 59 chapters | open access

Links: the book (HTML); browse by keywords (HTML); browse by contributor (HTML); draft in CommentPress (HTML); repository (GitHub); initial template for the chapters (Markdown); editor interview with MLA’s Nicky Agate (YouTube); digital pedagogy course with Diane Jakacki and Kathy Harris (Wayback Machine)

Digital Pedagogy in the Humanities is a peer-reviewed, curated collection of reusable and remixable resources for teaching and research. Organized by keyword, the annotated artifacts can be saved in collections for future reference or sharing. Each keyword includes a curatorial statement and artifacts that exemplify that keyword. You can read the keywords comprehensively, as you would a printed collection, and browse artifacts, exploring certain types or subject matter.

Chapters and Contributors

Read the entire book online.

Featured image and main image of the book care of the Modern Language Association. I created this page on 25 January 2022 and last updated it on 30 January 2022.