2018 Digital Liberal Arts Fair Features Faculty and Student Projects

December 13, 2018

Morris Pelzel

On Friday December 7, the Digital Liberal Arts Collaborative (DLAC) and the Center for Teaching, Learning, and Assessment (CTLA) hosted the annual Digital Liberal Arts Teaching with Technology Fair. This event gives faculty and students the opportunity to showcase innovative uses of digital applications, methods, and resources in teaching, learning, and scholarship at the College. Faculty, student, and staff attendees explored nine exhibits from disciplines across the College curriculum. 

The projects on display included:

  • Erik Simpson (English) and Megan Tcheng ’19 presented elements from the course Lighting the Page: Digital Methods for Literary Study. Created in collaboration between Professor Simpson and Christina Brewer ’18, the course included modules on electronic literature, literary mapping and geocriticism, and computational text analysis. The display featured a site created by the entire class as a companion to Edward P. Jones’s story collection Lost in the City, as well as examples of electronic literature and text analysis created by students in the course.
  • Sarah Purcell (history), Sophia Stern ’19, and Katherine Walden (DLAC) presented Digital History: Exploring the Past in the Grinnell Classroom. This course introduces students to methods used in the digital humanities, with a special emphasis on applications to historical studies. Students create projects and study existing digital projects, with a special focus on U.S. history in a global context.
  • Anya Vostinar (computer science) demonstrated projects from a special topics class in which groups of students design and implement a game in Unity3D over the course of the semester. The games, which all involved the theme of evolution, included:
    1. a real-time strategy game where evolution controls the behavior of attacking zombies,
    2. a farming simulation where the crops evolve in response to environmental conditions and pests,
    3. a god simulation where the player guides a society that are under evolutionary pressure, and
    4. a rogue-like dungeon crawling game where evolution controls the stats of the creatures the player can take with them to fight in the dungeon.
  • Nick Philips (Spanish) and Henry Mahar ’19 presented Digital Cartographies of Spanish Detective Fiction. This project uses the ArcGIS platform to digitally map character movements, locations, and key events from contemporary Spanish detective novels onto real, interactive digital maps of major Spanish cities such as Madrid, Barcelona, and Seville. The goal is to question and interrogate the spatial layouts of these novels as well as how these spaces are presented and critiqued in fiction and in the actual built environment. 
  • John Garrison (English) and Ahon Goopta ’21 presented Mapping Absence in Shakespeare. This web-based tool takes an unusual approach to mapping as it charts absent elements in Shakespeare’s plays. It thus acknowledges the role of referenced but unseen figures and objects on the stage action. Visualizing such elements, in turn, allows one to see the scope of Shakespeare’s global imagination.
  • Celeste Miller (theater and dance), Obuchi Adikema ’21, and Naomi Worob ’19 presented Digital Bridges to Dance. Founded by Professor Miller, Digital Bridges to Dance is a project devoted to building synchronous and asynchronous online digital practices in two ways: first, as vital and irreplaceable components of the collaborative process for the creation of choreography; and second, as models for coalition building through intentional arts-based collaboration. Adikema and Worob are focusing on developing online curriculum for “Embodied Experiences in the Environment.” 
  • Sydney Hamamoto ’19 and Acadia Broussard ’19 presented the Native histories project initiated by Professor Deborah Miller (education). This project brings together resources related to indigenous history to empower secondary school teachers to teach Native histories as American history.
  • Xavi Escandell and Jarren Santos from the Data Analysis and Social Inquiry Lab (DASIL) were on hand to exhibit two projects. First, an application developed to make data from the Grinnell College National Poll available to students, faculty, and staff of the College. The app provides data analysis and visualization tools to enable better understand of the polling data gathered through the GCNP. Second, a demonstration of Tableau, one of the leading tools for interactive data visualization.

For more information about the Digital Liberal Arts Collaborative at Grinnell College, visit the DLAC website and follow DLAC on Twitter @GrinnellDLAC.

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