Vicki Suter

Discovering the power of good questions

Am I a digital humanist?

Attending the Hybrid Pedagogy THATCamp this weekend, wondered through a session on “what is a digital humanist?”

I wonder about disciplines that have references to technology in their name. And, does it matter whether the term is an adjective or a noun? My discipline is learning technology, and in this case, the term is a noun, maybe to be read as a special case of technology studies. But it turns out, most of those degrees come out of education, not computer science, and the body of knowledge that I’ve focused on has to do with collaborative learning and learning communities, and the affordances of technology that both support and transform education.  In fact, I chose to go into the field so I could be in a position to disrupt all aspects of higher education, and all disciplines – the technology is just a means.

As the Director of Learning and Technology at Marylhurst, my job is 3 parts learning to 1 part technology. In fact, I’m not at all interested in the bright and shiny – I’m interested in ideas of social learning, co-creation of knowledge, collaboration, communities of practice and the sense of presence. It happens that technologies can transform and extend what is possible in these practices and ways of seeing the world.  So, learning and technology is a good name, and it starts with the center of my study.

On the other hand, “humanist” is the noun and “technology” is the adjective. What would it have meant if the name were humanities and technology?

I don’t know, maybe naming is a part of a process that starts with emergence through disruption (new technologies used in the humanities), requires differentiation (but not so much as to leave the original domain) evolving toward specialization, and then, through a natural process of evolution and the development of a new interdisciplinarity across domains.

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This entry was posted on October 21, 2012 by in Learning, Learning Theory, Technology.
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