Readings: Impact of Digital History on Historians

Readings: Impact of Digital History on Historians

Blogging for Your Students – David Voelker

American Historical Association – History and Technology Column – May 2007

Voelker discusses the advantages of teachers/professors using blogs for their courses.  One of the advantages that Voelker emphasizes is the interactive feature of blogging.  It emables comments and allows peers to interact in a way that they would not normally do during lecture. Because blogs are generally public, there is more critical thinking that goes into the comments on the posts, which allows better discussion online and during class.

Voelker also discusses other advantages for professors using blogs for courses.  It is easier to track grades and progress.  It is also easier for students to filter through the site based on category lists, tags, and hyperlinks that would not be available simply on a paper outline/syllabus of the class.  Not only can a student search for categories, but the professors is able to organize the site uniformly in such a way that syllabus, assignments, outside sources, different classes, etc. can all be separated into different tabs.

Inspired by the founder of Edublogs, James Farmer (coincidence?!?!), Voelker suggests that professors should start letting students blog on their own because, “blogging is a form of self-publishing.” Considering I have blog posts from multiple classes and regularly update this one for Digital History, it is evident that from 2007 students have increasingly begun to use blogging as a tool for participation in courses across several disciplines.

Wikipedia and Women’s History:  A Classroom Experience – Martha Saxton

Spring 2012 – Writing History in the Digital Age

Martha Saxton (currently working on a bio of Mary Ball Washington… another coincidence?!) oversaw a Wikipedia class project with undergraduate students as well as colleagues, starting in 2007.  She had two goals for the project:  to increase the representation of women in the global source information as well as using Wikipedia as a tool to show students methods for evaluating and writing responsible history.

Throughout Saxton’s research, she noticed common trends of women’s history on Wikipedia. First that there is hardly any representation of women in history at all on the digital encyclopedia.  This has partly to do with how women’s history has not become mainstream in online culture and that women are only 13% of wikipedia’s contributors.

Because her students use Wikipedia for contributions and editions, it is a different style of teaching.  It is a “less predictable’ style that uses the opinion of others in high regard. It increases debates of facts between historians.  Saxton’s particular students focused on women’s history of broad, popular history articles such as the American Revolution and the Vietnam War. In the end, she discovered that much of her students content, with very credible and extensive research, were removed or moved from the article.

In conclusion, women’s history is still not highlighted enough today, which comes as a surprise as evident of lack of information on the supposedly free and open Wikipedia. Although we have this great resource meant for open access, the censorship on gender studies is still evident.


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