I spent most of last fall and winter working on creating an electronic version of an assignment for Russian 205. The assignment is a long-term task that requires students to watch clips from a Soviet movie, Courier, and then interact with those clips in a variety of different ways, from answering multiple choice questions to writing short answers to interpreting artwork and music. For many reasons, the course as a paper assignment made little sense. From the student perspective, it was difficult for students to access the video clips. From a professor standpoint, it was difficult to grade all of those paper tasks. I worked together with Russian professor Anna Dotlibova and Carleton student James Browning to update this assignment using the Moodle online platform. Moodle gave us an online interface that allowed us to expand the activities students could complete, as well as better adapt the assignment to fit students’ needs.
To get a better feel for the project, see the above video.
This project highlights some of the best aspects of DH at Carleton. As a DHA, I was able to work closely with faculty to develop this project. The collaborative element of the project was one of the most important pieces, as James and I had both taken the course for which we were creating this Moodle assignment and could thus provide feedback about what the best practices would be from a student perspective. Furthermore, this project allowed us to harness the powers of digital technology to create something that not only allowed for ease of access but also changed the way in which students experience this assignment.
I learned from this project crucial lessons about time management and working under a strict deadline (we were trying to finish the Moodle course in time for the winter 2014 term, a goal I am happy to report we met). The project also gave me a wonderful opportunity to further my computing skills. I learned about HTML, Moodle, and creating logical organizational structures for material online. This project really caused me to think about the ways in which DH can be used in the classroom and I greatly enjoyed working on it.