The Cauffman Fellowship: Faculty-Student Collaboration

This past spring I was introduced to the amazing work that the Digital Liberal Arts Center at Whittier College was doing. Passionate about education, pedagogy and innovation, I find the work of DigLibArts inspiring as traditional posters and presentations are transitioning into becoming engaging, interactive assignments like Digital Storytelling, infographics and a variety of other mediums. As I expressed my interest in this work, an amazing opportunity to work alongside a faculty member to investigate and integrate the use of various digital tools into a course presented itself. I am incredibly grateful to be the inaugural recipient of the John and Jan Cauffman Fellowship. In addition, I am the inaugural HASTAC Scholar nominated from Whittier College. This fellowship is empowering me to work with Dr. Anne Cong-Huyen, Digital Scholar and DigLibArts Coordinator as well as engage in conversation with scholars from across the country regarding topics related to digital scholarship, education and pedagogy.

Anne and I are working on converting a semester length course into a three week January term course that will be taught in 2016. The course will explore digital labor, feminism, literature and film. To prepare to engage with Anne and convert this course, I spent my summer familiarizing myself with the topic and challenging myself to understand the complex theoretical framework the course is rooted. One of my  favorite readings from the course was Patricia Williams’ “On Being the Object of Property.” As a third year college student, I believe this was one of the most powerful readings I have engaged with in my time here at Whittier.

Returning to Whittier this Fall, Anne and I began to look at the course and redesign it. As we continue moving forward, a variety of new projects and assignments are being integrated into the course. Ranging from creating infographics to Pecha Kucha presentations, the course will give students the opportunity to look at the world around them and critically evaluate whose voices are represented. The course will challenge students to use new mediums and methods of interacting with others to make complex intricate content accessible and easily communicated. As we continue narrowing the course and looking for opportunities that will diversify the content, I am incredibly excited to learn more about digital pedagogies.

One of the proposed assignments I am incredibly interested in is Wikipedia editing. Students will be asked to edit and contribute to Wikipedia pages related to course material. In preparation for this, I attended a Wikipedia Edit-a-thon event. As a young Latina, I recognize that most contributors to Wikipedia pages are quite literally the opposite of me. Feeling comfortable and well equipped to contribute to this community, I began looking for sources to add additional citations to existing articles. As a student who often consults Wikipedia before embarking on studying complex and unfamiliar topics, contributing to the source in a meaningful and knowledgeable way was a very powerful experience. I am excited for my peers to have a similar experience and I hope that they too see the value of their contributions to this community.

Moving forward, I hope to find a similar sense of empowerment and motivation to contribute to the scholastic community. As Anne and I collaborate to include various tools into the course, I hope to continue using my understanding of the classroom as an undergraduate student to enhance and advise the creation of the course.