Pedagogy as Poesis? NINES, Omeka, & Exhibit Builders

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I've been thinking a bit about some of the large claims trickling out of this year's MLA digital humanities panels--particularly one about how doing digital humanities means making something. Whether or not that definition holds (and whether or not making something demands a sophisticated knowledge of coding), I can't help but think about how that applies to pedagogy. Deidre's really thought-provoking post, "Poems to Remember (but how?)" led us to discuss how we might manifest and visualize the reading and note-taking experience. That is, reading is remaking a text with your mind, with a pen, and perhaps with a word processor or a wiki.

There are also some tools such as the NINES Collex where users can construct collections of materials from a patchwork or mash-up of various primary and secondary texts. Omeka's exhibit builder can be used in this way as well, though users need to bring their own texts, images, and so forth into the site, rather than accessing the group of nineteenth-century databases already filtered into NINES. Last year, as some of you probably read, Amy Earhart wrote a post for ProfHacker about using the NINES Collex as a tool to teach her students researching skills. But I wonder, too, if surfing through the Collex and collecting materials might also provoke a type of hands-on "distant" reading?

Has anyone used NINES, had their students do so, or would have a go at it now? How are these tools useful for our students or ourselves as a form of data or resource collection, a different kind of reading, or something else altogether? What other tools might we use, or what other types of making might we do in the classroom?

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Kate, though I am a big fan

Kate, though I am a big fan of NINES and Collex (as well as other tools), it's been a little difficult to incorporate these tools into my classroom experiences. What I really want from someone who has used these tools is a reflective piece, including student learning goals, failures, issues, successes, student projects and whatnot. (In my opinion, all new digital tools should solicit and display demonstrative pedagogy on their sites.)

Thanks for bringing this up. Digital Humanists are working on it but I'd like to see how some use it here in our forum, too.

Kathy, I love the idea of


I love the idea of sites soliciting and displaying demonstrative pedagogy on their sites. Though, we could certainly do this at RC Pedagogies too (via a volume of essays that were tooled for the specific kind of information you suggest). Are there particular sites, aside from NINES, that you'd like to see do this?

I'm also interested, if you're up for sharing, what whether there were a specific set of specific problems that you've found with incorporating these tools?

Kate, There are already a


There are already a smattering of articles on using tools, but they are not really specific to Romanticism or even literature. One very recent book on Learning & Digital Media is now open for comments ( and involves a tools-based approach. Again, it focuses on using the tools rather than privileging the content of the class. (And there's an article on using Omeka in there.)

I'd really like to see pedagogy with any textual analysis tools, such as Tapor, Monk, TokenX. There are many general descriptions about using these tools, but what I'm talking about is actually placing assignments (with all of its verbiage) online so others can grab it and apply with only minor tweaking.

I do this in a forthcoming article for Journal of Victorian Culture (out this March). It's short, but very descriptive about using tools, pedagogical goals, assessment, failures. I take failure as productive and try to instill that into my students too. (Caveat: it doesn't always work.)

Those 500-student courses will differ greatly from the 14-student seminar. This means a range of assignments are integral.

Mark Phillipson's Romantic Audience Project ( inspired me to create a course using digital tools -- the result was the TechnoRomanticism course that I've discussed here and in that brief JVC paper.

Anyone else have some ideas? Even those who don't use digital tools, where do you see that something like For Better or For Verse ( might help with understanding poetic elements?

Kathy and Kate, The other

Kathy and Kate,

The other site I work on (TECHStyle: is focused on how to create projects, assignments and pedagogies from Digital Tools. For example, there is a great article on using Zotero in classes from Zach Whalen (, and a really interesting column by Diane Jakacki on using blogs and Twitter to engage in what she calls "Real-Time Teaching" ( Jakacki had her students study the Egyptian Revolution as it unfolded using social media technology. The articles aren't focused specifically on Romanticism, but many of them give great reflective pieces on teaching with technology.

Oh, one more thing. I'm currently overhauling the site, so apologies for any stray widgets or broken links.