Redefining the Finish Line: Building Learning Modules for ArcGIS with Duke Extend [Munch & Mull Digital Scholarship Discussion Group]
Teaching new software as part of a course is challenging, chiefly because students also need to simultaneously master new concepts and content. Teaching software originally built for use in other disciplines can be doubly challenging, since existing online examples and tutorials reflect different data and use than what students encounter in the course. Such is the case for humanists at Duke who use GIS tools for developing historical maps. Ed Triplett (Lecturing Fellow in Duke’s Art History and Visual Studies department) has been seeking out better ways to introduce his students to the mapping tool ArcGIS Pro, so that they can maximize class time spent actually working with the tool and content. Likewise, colleague Hannah Jacobs (Digital Humanities Specialist in the Wired! Lab) has been looking for ways to help current and potential Lab students gain skills and knowledge in doing historical mapping. As digital humanists, they also want any instructional materials they create to be freely available online. Duke Extend offered them both a way to develop and test an open approach to teaching historical GIS.
This spring, Femi Balogun (masters student in Library & Information Science at UNC-Greensboro) worked with Ed and Hannah to develop a Duke Extend course in historical GIS. This field experience project, coordinated by Liz Milewicz in Duke Libraries’ Digital Scholarship Services department, sought to (1) adapt previous instructional materials for use in Duke Extend; (2) design a modular and openly accessible course for learning historical GIS tools and concepts; (3) create and test assessments that would help both instructors and current/potential students recognize what skills were mastered and where additional instruction or practice was needed. For Femi, this project was an opportunity to apply her instructional design knowledge to a cross-disciplinary, digital humanities course, while also acquiring experience and skills in aspects of project management (communication, priority-setting, time management).
Munch & Mull is a Libraries-based discussion group that holds weekly, informal, brown-bag lunch conversations around issues, projects, methods, and trends in digital scholarship. All are welcome!
The current M&M schedule of talks is here, https://library.duke.edu/digital/events. For more information about upcoming discussions, join our listserv: https://lists.duke.edu/sympa/subscribe/munch-mull-digihum-reading-group.