10.0498 humanities computing viewed from outside

WILLARD MCCARTY (willard.mccarty@kcl.ac.uk)
Thu, 5 Dec 1996 21:18:54 +0000 (GMT)

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 10, No. 498.
Center for Electronic Texts in the Humanities (Princeton/Rutgers)
Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
Information at http://www.princeton.edu/~mccarty/humanist/

[1] From: ENTER_USERNAME_HERE <ENTER_USERNAME@inconnect.com> (30)
Subject: Re: 10.0496 humanities computing graduate programmes?

[I pass along the following message although the userid is less than
informative and the message itself seems to have lost its signature. Would
the sender please identify him- or herself? It looks as if the Internet
provider in question has a less than fail-proof menu system... --WM]

> [1] From: Nelson Hilton <nhilton@parallel.park.uga.edu> (10)
> >
> A group here is considering what a possible "graduate certificate in
> humanities computing" might entail, and are very interested to hear about
> courses actual or imagined which readers think might figure in such a
> program.

Coming from the commercial world, I approach this question from what is
perhaps an academically unorthodox point of view -- first consider real
world issues, then determine if and how humanities computing can fulfill a
need, and finally craft / develop a course. My conclusion is that
Humanities Computing may be part of the solution to one of the most
pervasive problems our society faces, e.g. boredom / apathy / lack of
success in the classroom.

There are approximately 5 million computers installed in K-12 schools in
the United States alone. By and large, these machines are used as expensive
typewriters -- their potential as "teaching technology" has not yet been
reached. Is it possible that searchable electronic texts, multi-media
materials, the internet, etc. can be combined with a pedagogical approach

* More effectively engages the attention of the student ...

* Shows students how to construct and pursue discovery strategies of their
own design ...

* Imparts both knowledge and skills that are useful in life and career ...

Before going further along this avenue, might I ask whether this line of
thinking merits further discussion, is of interest to other members of the
list, etc.?