This week’s readings on the blog concerned themselves with networking, collaboration, community, and crowdsourcing. I believe the idea of ‘community’ captures the essence of these inter-related topics. It is Cathy Davidson, in “How A Class Becomes A Community”, who asks a “basicthat is rarely asked in higher education: How do we learn?”, an extremely pertinent quandary, especially when she questions where ‘course’, ‘class’, and ‘community’ intersect. In terms of converging disciplines, Davidson refers to the ‘course’, an undergrad class she taught at Duke in 2010 called “This Is Your Brain On The Internet”, as a “commons”, citing the class’ primary objective which consisted of a collaborative ‘manifesto’. Through this group exercise, Davidson recounts that they managed to “reshape [their] class into a peer-organized community of peer-learners”, in which the terms ‘commons’ and ‘community’ become synonymous. Davidson’s prescription employs her students: 8 undergrads from 3 universities, under 8 different disciplines, “all brought together by a course topic and method”, graduate student collaborators under the DH and Digital Knowledge disciplines, Google Docs, and a “foundational text”, ‘Mozilla Manifesto’. Together (with Davidson acting as their moderator), they “morphed, remixed, hacked, modded, and mashed” the terms into an online, open-source book, the “Duke 21C Community Manifesto”, with each student completing individual units, which transformed into chapters and became the book.
Davidson’s technique does not necessarily constitute a tool or a theory, but more of an evolving, interdisciplinary practice of digital convergence that proves quite inspiring and quite familiar (in regards to our course aesthetic) in that “each student chose texts, activities, and group exercises. Each became a leader and a teacher.”
Cathy Davidson co-founded hastac.org, which the article cited above (an excerpt of the open-source, Duke21C book; Chapter 1) is hosted on. HASTAC, or Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Alliance and Collaboratory, is “an interdisciplinary community of humanists, artists, social scientists, scientists, and technologists” hosted by Duke and CUNY Graduate Center.
The link to Davidson’s course page for “21st Century Literacies: Digital Knowledge, Digital Humanities” has not been updated since Spring 2013. The accompanying Twitter hashtag, #Duke21C, remains static in posts since 2013. It seems her acknowledgment at the end of her blog post/ ch. 1 excerpt, “Please also note that the original Google Doc still stands as an open document and will remain so unless it ceases to serve its function as a constructive, creative place for learning together”, proved more of a concession of forethought. The Google Doc, open-source book was last edited on September 12, 2015.