Virtual communities are being used extensively in online education to create learning communities and foster collaborative learning. I would like to speak on my experience using Second Life as an inquiry-based, collaborative tool in an online implications of technology class where students were asked to explore the social, legal, and ethical aspects of computing technology by treating Second Life (SL) as a microcosmic representation of real life. This virtual play project lead to interesting critical reflections by students on the effect of virtual environments, and by extension, various technological tools on our individual digital lives. I hope this presentation would help other educators/technologists generate ideas on more innovative uses of technology as a critical pedagogical tool.
In fall 2015, I debuted a 2000-level class on Early Modern European History at UC Blue Ash. Because I wanted to do something different than the normal survey, I began to brainstorm ways I could incorporate the Digital Humanities into an otherwise ordinary classroom set-up, with students who would be, for better or worse, expecting that entirely ordinary classroom. In this session, I therefore propose to discuss the ways in which I brought DH into the course, including particular assignments, and I invite others to discuss their own ways they made an ordinary course suddenly unusual with the addition of new technological tools. Questions we’d consider together include what kind of assignments work best for this and how to handle student technological failures or challenges. (Because as we know, they will happen!)