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Research Guides

Digital Pedagogy - A Guide for Librarians, Faculty, and Students

This guide is meant to inform the user about Digital Pedagogy. It includes information on educational theory, a collection of case studies, and resources relevant to the study of digital pedagogy.

Hands-on Teaching Digital Humanities: A didactic Analysis of a Summer School Course on Digital Editing

Teaching DH Skills in a Summer School/One week long workshop setting

In their Case Study, "Hands on Teaching Digital Humanities: A Didactic Analysis of a Summer School," Rehbien and Fritze investigate:

  1. Summer schools as an opportunity to teach digital skills
  2. Digital editing through a holistic approach

The authors present the idea of summer schools and workshops as being a typical way of presenting content because regular curricula at the postsecondary level still tend not to be common, and certainly do not exist at all institutions. The authors describe an present their rationale behind a week long summer school course on digital editing, by presenting an experimental learning by project approach. One reason for this was to reduce abstraction about the process digital editing, although there was other rationale as well. 

The course described in this case study was "An Introduction to the Digital Edition," which took place at the European Summer School Digital Humanities at Leipzig University, in 2010. The courses are attended by an international clientele, coming from various disciplinary backgrounds.The main course objective was to introduce techniques and methods of digital editing, and to bring a small corpus to publication using a learning by doing approach. The ratio of the course's theory to practice ratio was about 25% to 75%. The edition, which was a small corpus of letter, was created by a digital method, and distributed by digital media.

The course was designed so that most learning goals focused on knowledge and cognition, but also on collaborative work. As collaborative work is a crucial aspect of digital humanities work, it was stressed in the students  by making it a learning goal

In terms of the course set-up, the content covered the editorial process from beginning to end. Data modeling was also covered and transcription and encoding, publishing, and digital editing infrastructure was discussed. The authors indicated that careful consideration was required in order to find appropriate materials due to the fact that participants were coming from such varied background, and  the instructors created an elaborate criteria in order to do this. 

The course feedback indicated that the participants valued the combination of theory and hands-on practice: the practical experience was considered very positive, although the theory covered in the lectures was found to be too heavy. 

For a detailed outline of course goals, content, and delivery, please see "

In terms of lessons learned, the authors state that: 

  • one difficulty is trying to strike a balance between broadness and depth. It is difficult to serve both objectives: the generalist and the specialist, in such a short period of time, and it is also, difficult, if not impossible, to complete a digital edition in such a short time. 
  • Although the participants might not see the project come to fruition, they are able to use what they learn to begin work on their own projects
  • the combination of theory and practical work allows for the integration for most of Bloom's taxonomy, from the lower level remembering and understanding, to the higher level applying and creating.  
  • it takes a huge amount of work to organize such a course, and planning must be anticipative
  • it is beneficial, due to the heterogeneity of participants, two instructors should participate 
  • the hands on portions of the sessions require very intensive coaching
  • minor details need to be taken into consideration

In conclusion, the authors state, like so many other digital humanists before them, that they believe that a learning by project approach is best. Additionally, they state that a week long course appears insufficient for a complex process that involves so many varied skills.

For a detailed outline of the course and its content, please see: 

Rehbien, Malte, and Christine Fritze, " Hands-on Teaching Digital Humanities: A Didactic Analysis of a Summer School Courses on Digital Editing," in Digital Humanities Pedagogy: Practices, Policies, and Politics, ed. B. Hirsch. Cambridge : Open Book Publishers, 2012.