Two Monmouth College faculty members, Bridget Draxler and Hannah Schell, will co-teach an Associated Colleges of the Midwest (ACM) program this fall at Chicago’s famed Newberry Library.
Titled “Knowledge and Technology: From Socrates to the Digital Age,” the seminar will examine the historical roots of storing and disseminating knowledge before moving forward to the present and future of digital humanities. Students will be given the opportunity to produce their own digital work during their independent research projects.
During the first few weeks of the seminar, Newberry staff will teach the students about the collections and other resources of the privately endowed, independent research library for the humanities and social sciences. Draxler and Schell will focus the students’ attention on the digital side of the archives.
“The digital component of this is new and different and probably will be the draw for many of the students,” said Schell, who also co-taught the seminar in 2008. “But it was also emphasized that the seminar will still be traditional, where the students will work with primary sources from the library’s collection.”
During her 2008 experience, Schell was inspired by presenters to move toward digital work, and she said many students were curious to try something similar.
“Part of what we want to teach them is to think critically about the most effective use of media and the most effective way to make their argument,” said Draxler. “For some of them, the most effective way to make their argument will be to write a traditional research paper and nothing else. For some of them, having more multimedia components will help them make different and better arguments.”
Students will learn current techniques for video editing, creating digital timelines and manipulating maps using software, and will be encouraged to write blogs throughout the semester to share with their classmates and, perhaps, larger communities of students.
“Having a digital component will allow students to more fully take advantage of using the Newberrry collections,” noted Draxler. “If they include multimedia components in their research projects, they’re going to be thinking about the objects in the archive as artifacts rather than just as texts. I think that the attention to the content and medium of those sources will really enrich the work they do.”
Draxler directs Monmouth’s Communication Across the Curriculum program. A member of the faculty since 2011, she received her master’s degree from the University of York and holds a Ph.D. from the University of Iowa. She completed her undergraduate work at St. Olaf College.
A professor of philosophy and religious studies, Schell received a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Oberlin College and master’s and doctoral degrees in religion from Princeton University. She joined the Monmouth faculty in 2001.
One of the oldest academic consortia in the U.S., the ACM comprises member institutions that are among the most successful liberal arts colleges in the country. ACM colleges are known for their collaboration and for their highly regarded teaching faculty, small classes, interdisciplinary curricula, and opportunities for research by undergraduates. Monmouth is a charter member of the ACM, joining in 1958.