Digital Course Development Grants

One of the major components of the DH@CC initiative is offering 25 Digital Course Development Grants to faculty members at the five undergraduate Claremont Colleges. The DH@CC initiative offers competitive  grants of $6,000 to 5C professors who will use the funds to develop or redesign courses that focus on, or make use of, digital tools. The grant cycles will take place over three years and result in a robust offering of up to 25 DH courses which will be taught at least twice during the life of the DH@CC Mellon grant.

Another major focus for the DH@CC Mellon grant is to build a vibrant DH community across disciplines, departments, and institutions. Not only do faculty involved in the DH@CC become familiar with each other, the DH@CC team, and the Honnold Library staff, those who receive Digital Course Development grants are asked to present their DH courses and projects to the 5C community. Faculty may choose to either make a formal presentation at a DH@CC event, or develop an educational video with DH@CC media personnel.

2015 Course Development Grant Recipients:

Eric Doehne, Scripps College, for a new course: Capturing Art: Digital Preservation and Analysis in 100 Objects. This experiential learning course will provide students with new digital tools, such as such as RTI and Light Stage 3D capture, to “back up”, study and provide increased access to important works of art. Digital archives are useful for preservation and analysis. This course engages participants in a series of hands-on class projects for the digital capture, analysis, restoration and dissemination of works of art: specifically, 100 ‘hidden gems’ of the museum and library collections at the Claremont Colleges, selected by their curators. These will range from an ancient Chinese scroll looted from a cave along the silk road, to a Mary Cassatt painting and early stone tools. Capturing art enables new questions to be asked, such as helping scholars understand how a translucent marble sculpture or a palimpsest manuscript interacts with light–revealing subtle details and inscriptions. Calibrated data also aids curators and art conservators in managing change – evaluating if the colors in a painting or a Native American basket have faded after loans and exhibitions. Using digital restoration techniques, students will gain insights into how a painting appeared when it was created. For more information, see the course website coming soon.

Tarrah Krajnak, Pitzer College, for a course redesign of Introduction to B&W Photography. I propose to create a catalog of safety training videos and equipment demonstration videos that would cover laboratory set-up and chemical handling, as well as all the basic analog and digital photographic processes we cover in the current Introductory course. I would house these training videos on a Vimeo site specifically designed for the Pitzer Photography Labs. This site would then allow me to run a “flipped classroom” in the introductory course where training and demonstrations would occur BEFORE we attempt to do them together in class. The students would then be able to access these training videos all semester long on their phones or ipads AS they are working. I anticipate that this would dramatically transform our program¬ making the labs and all these analog processes safer and more sustainable in the long term.

Gina Lamb, Pitzer College, for a course redesign of Media for Social Change. This course built a rich digital online “space” that facilitates multiple student users (entire class) to contribute to an ongoing semester long (or possibly longer) social justice project utilizing a variety of digital tools in the area of data visualizing, asset mapping, and media archiving, news search feeds, first source documents, with the goal of inciting dialogue that raises community consciousness and/or advocates direct action around a specific current topical social issue. The students also made use of GIS and the expertise of Warren Roberts, the Library’s GIS specialist, to uncover the often hidden forms institutionalized oppression through an app that allows students to report microagressions, where they took place, and if anyone stepped in to stand up for other students. Check out Make Some Noise, the class’s website documenting the Black Lives Matter movement and more!

Rachel Mayeri, Harvey Mudd College, for a course redesign of Art and Science. This course would enhance dialogue between the arts, media studies, and STEM fields. This is an interdisciplinary course, which offers a background in the field of contemporary art and art-science-technology practices. At this point, students can bring in their own knowledge of technology into the course, but with the help of this grant, I would be able to create modules (and perhaps have an assistant with a tech background available) for non-technical students to learn basic scientific and computer science techniques to expand their methodological palette. These I imagine could include tutorials and support for analyzing and visualizing data, using GIS for locative media projects, and making apps. I’d like to create a public website for the class to archive projects and techniques for future students. Be sure to take a look at the course website!

Daniel Michon, Claremont McKenna College, for a new course design to be taught Fall 2017. There are two fields of inquiry that this course will bring together: (1) the philosophy/history of ‘space’ and ‘place’ and the contribution that the study of digital media might offer to this conversation; and (2) the material history of the ancient world and its contribution to the Humanistic study of the past. The course will engage with ancient sites by reconstructing both the tangible and intangible heritage. In doing so, we can explore how paying attention to ‘place’ rather than mere ‘space’ might influence or interpretations of such sites. The goal of creating these interactive models is not to just ‘recreate’ these ancient sites for aesthetic appreciation, but to understand how moving through a ‘lived place’ might alter our interpretation of it. The two [proposed] software packages are Sketchup and Unity 3D. The sites we choose to recreate will come from already published materials. My goal, in fact my expectation, is that this faculty-student collaboration will produce new interpretations of heritage sites. In my past work on Sirkap, I demonstrated how canonical interpretations of the site based on two-dimensional media (site maps, satellite photos, drawings, text) are challenged when the site is experienced in three-dimensions and with activities represented. That is, the model of Sirkap we built is not empty space, but inhabited by people and objects. Further, those who ‘visit’ it virtually, inject desires into the space, which transforms it into place. I hope that each project will challenge some of the canonical interpretations of that place.

Paul Steinberg, Harvey Mudd College, for a new course design Political Studies 179: Bicycle Revolution. What does it take to bring about local change? This community-based course will examine the politics and policy of increasing bicycle transit access in the San Gabriel Valley (specifically Pomona, La Verne, Claremont, Upland, Ontario, and Rancho Cucamonga). Digital technology will allow this course to serve as a forum, an archive, and a powerful message. A major goal of the course is to promote local change by documenting local problems, diffusing best practices, and facilitating peer-to-peer exchanges among planners, activists, and elected officials in the region. I would like to create an online presence that includes (1) student documentary footage from our rides, revealing the city from the perspective of the bicycle rider; (2) oral histories based on interviews with changemakers in the LA/SB region; (3) an archive of final projects by students, whether papers, posters, GIS projects, or other media; (4) one-stop-shopping for local officials who are curious about policies and practices of surrounding communities in the San Gabriel Valley.

Kim-Trang Tran, Scripps College, for a course redesign of Women’s Work and Collective Actions. United: Women’s Work and Collective Actions is a course that explores key moments in the 20th c. history of organized labor and its representation in the media to understand women’s participation in and the public’s imagination of the labor movement. Given the course content, students have collectively created print and e-zines for the past two projects. It is now necessary to expand their capacity to produce media-rich texts and to model this by creating a much needed course textbook/reader by using Scalar, or another born-digital publishing platform, and additional tools. This past summer (2015) I worked with two student research assistants to create a book in Scalar that I’m now having students in my class add commentaries to and further build the book. See their book here!

Raquel Vega-Duran, Claremont McKenna College, for a course redesign of Encounters in the Atlantic. “Encounters in the Atlantic: Transnational Relations Between Spain and Latin America (1491-2015)” introduces students to over five hundred years of relations between Spain and Latin America. Starting with Columbus’s diary and finishing with narratives about Hispanic American immigrants in present-day Spain, this course examines the evolution of the cooperation and conflict between Spain and Latin America through social, political, and cultural texts, from the sixteenth through the twenty-first century. I plan to digitally map these transatlantic relations using an interactive website to help students visualize the different narratives and journeys more clearly. I hope the website (with an interactive map, e-biographies and events easily accessible, and related links, all in the same space) will help them better visualize the larger networks of transatlantic journeys. For example, the interactive map will allow the students to add information as we study and collaborate in the recreation of particular journeys that have contributed to the dialogue between both shores of the Atlantic.