Faculty and Students Present Digital Liberal Arts Projects

Digital Liberal Arts Fair 2017

December 19, 2017

On Friday, Dec. 8, the Digital Liberal Arts Collaborative (DLAC) and the Center for Teaching, Learning, and Assessment (CTLA) hosted the annual Digital Liberal Arts Teaching Fair. As in years past, this year’s fair featured a variety of projects from all three divisions — science, social studies, and humanities — of the College.

Alex Claycomb ’18 presents a project that digitally visualizes and maps the early modern Spanish Empire.

Approximately 75 attendees, mostly faculty but also including some administrators, staff, and students, explored thirteen exhibits. The projects incorporate various digital applications and resources that enhance the engagement of learners with their subjects and the presentation of knowledge to wider audiences. Many exhibits highlighted the close collaboration between faculty and students. For example, Celeste Miller, professor of theater and dance, presented Digital Bridges to Dance with Charlotte Richardson-Deppe ’19, who explained the project website as well as a poster of her drawings portraying feedback to performance art. Alex Claycomb ’18 presented the work of students in Spanish Professor Mirzam Pérez’s project, Diseñando Imperios, in which the Omeka platform was used to curate, interpret and present a selection of documents and artifacts visualizing and mapping the early modern Spanish Empire.

Sarah Purcell explains the Uncle Sam Plantation project to President Reynard Kington

Other projects displayed emerging technologies such as virtual reality that provide learners with an immersive experience into their subjects of study. For example, chemistry professor Elaine Marzluff demonstrated the use of Google Cardboard goggles with a mobile phone app to explore protein molecules in a 3D environment. And digital liberal arts specialist David Neville and history professor Sarah Purcell guided attendees through a virtual representation of the Uncle Sam Plantation, a nineteenth-century sugar plantation, that used architectural plans and photographs to virtually recreate the spaces of the plantation complex and tell the forgotten histories of those who lived there.

Students exploring the various displays at the Digital Liberal Arts Fair

Several other projects on display also have publicly-accessible web-based components available for browsing and discovery. Among these were sociology professor Ross Haenfler and his students, with the Deviance and Subcultures website; music professor Mark Laver’s project on hip-hop music; music professor John Rommereim’s Grinnell Virtual Choir; the Vivero Digital Scholarship Fellows program, presented by library digital scholarship specialist Elizabeth Rodrigues; and the Data Analysis and Social Inquiry Lab, presented by DASIL director and anthropology professor Xavier Escandell. Rounding out the list of projects and presenters were art history professor Eiren Shea, with a digital mapping project of objects and monuments produced in the Mongol Empire; math and statistics professor Pamela Fellers, with a demonstration of statistical analysis using the video game Guitar Hero; philosophy professor Tammy Nyden, who presented student-created infographics and videos produced for a mental-health policy and outreach project; and psychology professor Damian Kelty-Stephens, demonstrating a motion capture system to collect biomechanical data for the analysis of human movement.

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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