Earlier this year, I posted about my presentation at the ASIS&T SIG AH/Visualizations Virtual Symposium. (The recordings are now available on YouTube here.) After my presentation, I was invited to deliver it to the ASIS&T annual meeting. That presentation was this morning in St. Louis.
I had a few updates to my presentation at the Annual Meeting. First, I discussed some timely references. The blog of the Organization of American Historians has a series on teaching history in the digital age. This includes a post by Amy Absher on her undergraduate class's project re-creating the 1893 Chicago World's Fair using Minecraft. This perfectly encapsulates the connection between digital projects and "historical thinking" I original discussed in May. Another timely reference is the recent op ed in the New York Times on the utility of the history lecture. This particular historian defends the lecture, providing a handy critique of this trend.
My second improvement at the annual meeting, was my addition of more actionable ways that information practitioners and researchers can contribute to this instructional method. I argue that archivists and researchers should work on assessments to see if these courses and projects do indeed help achieve desired research outcomes. There is much work already in process in the Archives field; for example, the Archival Metrics project includes an assessment toolkit for evaluating the impact of one-day orientation sessions at archives for undergraduate students. The most concrete example of this taking place is described thoroughly in Magia G. Krause's "Undergraduates in the Archives" 2010 article in American Archivist.
Perhaps more importantly, given historians' recent interest in the concept of empathy, is the need to evaluate projects' effects on empathy. Empathy can in fact be evaluated and measured by tests such as the Jefferson Scale or EQ/EI. If historians really want to say they are imparting empathy in their students, surely information researchers can use these or other assessments to see if they are successful.
My slides are below if anyone wants to check them out: