“Evaluating Digital Projects: A Roundtable Discussion of New Forms of Grading and Peer Review”
(Digital Humanities Caucus Roundtable)
Lisa Maruca, 5057 Woodward, Dept. of English, Wayne State U., Detroit, MI 48202; Tel: (248) 890-5177
As new media projects begin to supplement or in some cases replace the print essay, research paper, scholarly article or monograph, what modes of evaluation should we expect or demand of students (undergrads and graduate students), colleagues, and ourselves? In recent times groups like HASTAC and the MLA begin discussion on evaluating digital work — the latter appropriately enough on a wiki — while the president of the MLA has even advised that more digital dissertations be produced. Similarly, the American Historical Association and the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University announced in 2008 a new annual prize for “an innovative and freely available new media project that reflects thoughtful, critical, and rigorous engagement with technology and the practice of history.” Since our students now might ask to produce a YouTube video instead of a paper, and our colleagues go up for tenure with a digital archive instead of a book, it behooves the member of ASECS to join this discussion and reflect on both methods and criteria for judging specifically historical work.
The organizers welcome descriptions of your own or others’ classroom or institutional experiments; policies that you or others have authored; ideas for future criteria, rubrics, methods and standards for evaluation; as well as theoretical examinations of evaluation as a concept. Panelists might reflect on the following, applied to both students and faculty:
- Which standards should we preserve and which reject as we move from evaluating print work to digital projects?
- What are the digital equivalents to (or replacements for) familiar print products such as (for undergrads) the interpretive essay or research paper; (for graduate students) the seminar paper or dissertation; (for faculty) the journal article, chapter or book?
- How do we transfer such criteria as length and depth to innovative projects?
- How do we account for the new skills that may need to be acquired to produce works in new media?
- How do we fairly assess forms requiring multiple team members?
- How can we import crowdsourcing as a method into the classroom or for examining scholarly work?
- How do we allow for citation and account for influence in the digital realm?
- What is the relationship between methods of evaluation for students and that for faculty?
- How do new media projects de- and re-construct print-based concepts we bring to evaluation, such as periodicity, authorship, originality, knowledge, and intellectual property?
- How might digital pedagogy and service be reconceived as valuable and quantifiable forms of scholarly work?