Beyond the Blackboard

Very nice piece by Matt Getty in the Dickinson Magazine on digital scholarship at Dickinson prominently features the DCC. My favorite paragraphs:

One important lesson Willoughby Fellows learn is that when it comes to using the latest gadgets and electronic media in the classroom, what you leave out can be just as important as what you bring in. Take those limitless possibilities that the Web opened for the Dickinson College Commentaries. As Francese and his students considered what to include, the infinite margins yawned before them as both opportunities and challenges.

“The temptation is just to put everything in there because you can,” Francese explains. “But you have to resist the urge to add all the bells and whistles just for their own sake. If you put everything in there, it’s overwhelming. It’s not helpful to the reader. We took our cue from Steve Jobs. You have to keep the user experience in mind at every moment and ask yourself, what would be useful here? What would a reader really want to know right now?”

Chris Francese is working with Alice Ettling ’12 and other students to bring ancient Latin texts into the 21st century through the Dickinson College Commentaries. The online, peer-reviewed site is helping Latin scholars around the world, but the project also has had an impact on the students working on it. “It’s definitely deepened the learning experience for me,” says Ettling. “I did a lot of work structuring vocabulary lists, which called my attention to how students learn vocabulary. That helped me refine my own approach to how I learn.”

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