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Contributed by Mark Temelko on 09/06/2011
Dr. Michael Smith, Associate Professor of History and Environmental Studies and Sciences, and Dr. Ali Erkan, Associate Professor of Computer Science at Ithaca College have been awarded a $50,000 National Endowment for the Humanities Digital Humanities Start-Up Grant. Their project, “Untangling the Web of Historical Thinking: What the Structures of Student-Produced Wikis Reveal,” is a curriculum design initiative that examines how students' use of wikis can help them reach and cross conceptual thresholds in their understanding of historical knowledge.
“The use of wikis for collaboration among students has been well-explored, but we’re thinking about wikis beyond their collaborative potential,” Smith says. “The ways that wikis evolve over a semester—especially the links students are making—can reveal how students are learning to think about historical knowledge as relational and non-linear.” Smith and Erkan will be using the NEH grant to select and adapt an open-source software system to do further analysis of learning outcomes, including the development of visualization tools. This work builds on their explorations from the past three years, which was initially presented at ISSOTL 2009."
NEH grants support a wide array of projects, including collaborative research, the digitization of historic newspapers, professional development for teachers and community college faculty, scholarly editions and translations, the creation of new digital tools, the production and development of radio and television programs, and conservation programs at museums and archives.