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Open Scholarship Perspectives on Digital Pedagogy and Training

Published onJan 14, 2023
Open Scholarship Perspectives on Digital Pedagogy and Training

Embracing new media and digital technologies in higher education has caused a profound shift in training and pedagogy. The unprecedented access to education facilitated by the Internet has extended skills training and knowledge exchange beyond the confines of the university and lowered barriers for accessing education. At the same time, today’s digital economy requires additional training and skills to improve digital literacy, including the use of digital technologies for information-seeking and research purposes, as well as knowledge production and dissemination. These shifts pose several challenges for higher education, ranging from how digital training and pedagogy can be adopted in the classroom, curricula, and universities, to thinking about best practices for engaging and training active publics. These concerns are also the focus of the Implementing New Knowledge Environments (INKE) Partnership’s (2021) Training Cluster, co-facilitated by Constance Crompton (U Ottawa) and Laura Estill (St. Francis Xavier University) who pose the research question:

What innovative training strategies and approaches improve digital literacy, information-seeking, and knowledge production for students, researchers, industry, and engaged members of the public, within a theoretical framework of open scholarship?1

The last decade in particular has seen an increased discourse on digital pedagogy, defined in 2013 by Brian Croxall as “the use of electronic elements to enhance or change the experience of education” (n.p.).2 This purposefully broad definition includes everything from using technology in the classroom such as PowerPoint and flip classrooms, to the expansion of massive open online courses (MOOCs) such as Coursera that offer free education to the public. Focusing this definition further is the peer-reviewed journal Hybrid Pedagogy that defines digital pedagogy as “precisely not about using digital technologies for teaching and, rather, about approaching these tools from a critical pedagogy perspective. So, it is as much about using digital tools thoughtfully as it is about deciding when not to use digital tools, and about paying attention to the impact of digital tools on learning”.3 From this perspective, digital pedagogy focuses not only on using digital technologies for learning but is much more extensive and also involves reflecting on how and whether such implementation advances knowledge and understanding. Digital pedagogy, then, is concerned with both looking at how digital technologies affect learning in institutions, as well as offering free education to the public.

The Open Scholarship Press Training Collection provides a snapshot of topics pertaining to training and pedagogy that reflect the aim of the Implementing New Knowledge Environments (INKE) Partnership Training Cluster. To capture current discourse on digital pedagogy and training, this bibliography looks to digital humanities and open resources. This focus is necessarily narrow for several reasons. No one bibliography can capture an exhaustive discourse on digital pedagogy today since it spans most disciplines that are in various ways adopting digital technologies and facing concomitant challenges, some of which are shared and others that are field specific. This bibliography reflects the disciplinary background of its authors, whose expertise lies in digital humanities, a field that Booth and Posner (2020) refer to as “advanced humanities research that uses and reflects on computational methods or digital tools” and “promotes public engagement and humanistic knowledge and understanding” (10).4 Both digital pedagogy and public engagement and training sit at the core of the field and are tackled from a humanities perspective. Therefore, the first section—Digital Humanities Pedagogy and Training—addresses the theory, best practices, and challenges involved in digital pedagogy and training in the humanities. It also looks at the place of digital humanities pedagogy and training in university curricula and programs, as well as how they affect student labour. Beyond the confines of a classroom, this section highlights the active involvement of libraries in digital humanities pedagogy and training, and addresses current practices for community engagement and training in digital skills and digital literacy. Altogether, the first section brings together resources that explore issues related to teaching and learning within, about, and through the field of digital humanities.

The second section, Open Resources, looks at discourse and educational materials that align with the philosophy of open education. Open education “combines the traditions of knowledge sharing and creation with 21st century technology to create a vast pool of openly shared educational resources, while harnessing today’s collaborative spirit to develop educational approaches that are more responsive to learner’s needs”.5 Under this umbrella fall works that address open education principles and practices and their many forms, with a particular focus on open educational resources (OERs) and massive open online courses (MOOCs). OERs are educational materials that are provided free of cost, with a license that allows for their use, adaptation, and redistribution (Wiley et al. 2014). MOOCs are online course that can be accessed by anyone with a computer and Internet connection, which is why they are considered “massive” since they offer knowledge and training to the public as well as to students, sometimes reaching thousands of participants. While these educational materials can be aimed at any level, this bibliography is particularly concerned with educational materials at the postsecondary level and beyond, with only a few entries that focus on school-level open resources. Although annotations in this category are rooted in multiple disciplines including education and philosophy, the content of the annotations is non-discipline specific in the sense that readers can gain knowledge about the opportunities and many challenges related to open education practices today that could help create more effective materials for their disciplines and for public training.

The two sections, Digital Humanities Pedagogy and Training and Open Resources, share an essential principle: they are concerned with digital pedagogy and training in the context of open scholarship. The bibliography also comes at a time when most pedagogy and training has, in a sense, become digital, since the switch to e-learning and away from more traditional in-person environments during lockdowns and the shift to hybrid modes with the gradual reopening of institutions as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. During this time, teaching and learning have been occurring in virtual environments, accompanied by increasing scholarship studying the effects of digital technologies on teaching and the benefits and challenges they bring, with more scholarship surely to follow this sudden and drastic shift toward digital modes of pedagogy and training. In 2012, Brett Hirsch pointed to the exclusion of discourse on digital pedagogy in the field of digital humanities. In the decade since the publication of his volume, digital humanities pedagogy has come to occupy a more central stage, seen in various avenues. In addition to Hybrid Pedagogy, another ongoing digital pedagogy journal that currently comprises 20 published issues is the Journal of Interactive Technology and Pedagogy (JITP), which promotes “open scholarly discourse around critical and creative use of technology in teaching, learning, and research” (JIPT 2012, Homepage). Multiple resources that address digital humanities pedagogy in particular have also been released or are forthcoming, ranging from theoretical works to more practical guides. A notable example of the latter is Claire Battershill and Shawna Ross’ 2018 guide Using Digital Humanities in the Classroom: A Practical Introduction for Teachers, Lecturers and Students, with a second edition released in 2022. Several calls for papers for forthcoming volumes on digital humanities pedagogy have been issued by the Debates in the Digital Humanities series edited by Matthew K. Gold and Lauren F. Klein (University of Minnesota Press), including the 2019 call for Debates in Digital Humanities Pedagogy by Brian Croxall and Diane Jakacki that addresses current digital humanities pedagogy and training in the many sites in which they occur, from more formal programs and curricula to lab-based and informal training venues.6 Another example is the 2020 call for papers on The Digital Futures of Graduate Study in the Humanities by Simon Appleford, Gabriel Hankins, and Anouk Lang that looks at digital futures for graduate research in the humanities.7 Also addressing the role of digital pedagogy and training in humanities graduate education is the recent special collection edited by Colette Colligan and Kandice Sharren published with Digital Studies / Le champ numérique. Excluded from this bibliography are discipline-specific humanities research and discourse that use digital pedagogy methods, since the rich research on digital pedagogy happening in the various branches of the humanities would be too difficult to capture in a single bibliography. The discipline-specific digital pedagogy resources that made it into this bibliography offer insight into digital humanities pedagogy beyond their disciplinary confines.

Providing much-needed training in digital skills for university faculty, students, librarians, and staff, as well as for members of the public, digital humanities training institutes typically take place over the course of a few days and up to a couple of weeks, with a focus on learning and applying practical digital skills in a variety of branches of digital humanities and digital pedagogy. While some of this training might be available in certain institutions, there is still a lack of formal digital humanities training in many universities, making these training sites a popular destination for those seeking to learn digital skills that can be applied to their research or brought back to the classroom in their home institutions. Some of these sites are the Digital Humanities Summer Institute (DHSI), the European Summer University in Digital Humanities (ESUDH), the Digital Humanities at Oxford Summer School, the Digital Humanities Institute Beirut (DHIB), the Humanities Intensive Learning and Teaching institute (HILT), DH@Guelph, NYCDH, DH Downunder, and others. Expanding digital humanities training to different locales are the new training institutes that were launched over the past few years, including the Winter Institute in Digital Humanities, DHSI East, DHSI Atlantic, among others. Additional sites that produce scholarship on digital pedagogy and training are conferences, such as the Open/Social/Digital Humanities Pedagogy, Training, and Mentorship conference at DHSI, co-organized by Laura Estill and Ray Siemens, with the Alliance of Digital Humanities Organization (ADHO) Special Interest Group (SIG) for Digital Humanities and Pedagogy and the INKE Open Social Scholarship Cluster launched in 2021, built on earlier gatherings by the ADHO SIG at DHSI. Another example is the annual Computers and Writing conference that brings together professionals who use digital technologies to teach writing.8 While these institutes and conferences are hubs for digital skills training and discourse on digital pedagogy, they fall outside the scope of this annotated bibliography, which focuses instead on books, volumes, chapters, journals, articles, and online digital pedagogy and training resources. The latter includes resources such as Programming Historian, the peer-reviewed journal and digital training resource, the Digital Pedagogy and Training in the Humanities resource that offers teaching materials in digital humanities that can be adapted by educators, as well as the journals Hybrid Pedagogy and the Journal of Interactive Technology and Pedagogy. While there is a proliferation of tutorials that teach audiences how to use a variety of digital humanities approaches on personal blogs and YouTube channels of practitioners and institutions, these also fall outside the scope of this bibliography.

The first section constitutes five sub-sections that offer a snapshot of digital humanities pedagogy and training in practice and theory. Throughout, authors communicate that digital humanities cannot be limited to learning how to use digital tools; rather, they foster the development of a new pedagogy, in a broad and most complete sense of the term. The first sub-section, “Digital Pedagogy and Training Discourse, Theory, and Best Practices,” addresses the place of digital technologies in digital humanities pedagogy (Brier 2012; Montfort 2016) and how to balance teaching digital skills with critical thinking (Bonds 2014; Mahony and Pierazzo 2012; Morgan 2018). This sub-section also looks at the intersection of theory and digital humanities pedagogy, including feminism (DeSpain 2016) and postcolonialism (Risam 2018; Gajjala 2020), as well as philosophical discourse on digital pedagogy and its effects on learning (Lewin 2016; Lewin and Lundie 2016). Finally, the sub-section includes broad thinking about how to involve the public in humanities work and increase community literacy by cultivating rooted spaces, such as opening up graduate student conferences to the public (Burg 2020).

In the second sub-section, “Practical Approaches to Digital Humanities Pedagogy and Training,” practitioners propose models and disciplinary approaches for integrating digital humanities into pedagogical practices. More specifically, authors focus on models for teaching students programming (Birnbaum and Langmead 2017); digital skills in the literature classroom (Crompton 2017); digital storytelling for educational purposes (Robin 2007); and pedagogy through gaming (Jing, Seng, Murugesan 2015; Van Staalduinen and Freitas 2011). This section also includes annotations of several open resources for learning practical digital skills.

The third sub-section, “Digital Humanities Assignments, Curricula, and Programs” brings together discussions on digital humanities programs, including how they ought to be structured and what needs to be included in their curricula (Clement 2012; Montfort 2016; Saklofske, Clement, and Cunningham 2012). It also maps the current digital humanities landscape by studying digital humanities programs and syllabi in institutions around the world (Mapes 2020; Sula, Hackney, and Cunningham 2017; Walsh et al. 2021). Together, the first three sub-sections deliberately focus on digital humanities pedagogy and training in institutional settings, from looking at how it is practiced in the classroom and sharing pertinent resources and assignments, to focusing more globally on digital humanities curricula and programs, what they currently look like, and how they can be improved.

Integrating digital pedagogy and training into the humanities curricula raises some important questions about how to teach digital skills while also ensuring that students are having meaningful learning opportunities for developing humanities knowledge and critical thinking. In the fourth sub-section, authors explore more explicitly student training and labour in digital humanities classrooms, programs, and project-based settings, ultimately recommending best practices for fostering digital skills training, collaboration, and community building, while ensuring that any work is properly attributed and contributes to career advancement (Anderson et al. 2016; Keralis 2018; Murphy and Smith 2017; Nowviskie 2012).

The fifth sub-section, “Digital Humanities Training in Libraries” offers a critical look at the role of libraries as hubs of digital humanities training and pedagogy for students, staff, and faculty members (Rasmussen, Croxall, and Otis 2017), and highlights the central role of the library in teaching information literacy and skills (Lightman and Reingold 2005; Russell and Hensley 2017).

Enabled by digital media and information and communication technologies, open resources for education have changed knowledge exchange and acquisition. Falling under the philosophy of open education that believes education to be a human right for people around the world, Section 1 offers a snapshot of the theory, practices, and challenges that open education faces today. One way in which open education seeks to lower the barriers to education is by decentralizing and democratizing access to educational materials. This is done in several ways, perhaps most notably through open resources.

Section 2 of this bibliography addresses issues related to open resources, including OERs and OpenCourseWare (OCW) that focus specifically on university-level open course materials, open textbooks (Jhangiani and Jhangiani 2017), and massive open online courses (MOOCs). Both advocates (Caswsell et al. 2008; DeRosa and Robinson 2017; Wiley et al. 2014) and critics (Bali and Sharma 2017) of OERs—as well as those who consider how open resources are produced and used (Bennett and Kent 2017; Huijser et al. 2008)—are included in this section. There are also proposals for addressing some of the main challenges posed by open resources, such as technical, content, and staffing issues for maintaining OERs (Downes 2017), challenges related to promoting quality and innovation in teaching and learning (Ehlers 2011), as well as the digital divide and offering content in multiple formats to enable access by countries with lower physical bandwidths and costly Internet (Haßler and Jackson 2010), among others. Thus, the publications listed here provide an overview of the main impacts and challenges of an increasingly open culture, especially in educational and academic contexts, that can foster reflections about its benefits and limitations.

This section consists of three sub-sections. The first, “Open Educational Principles and Practices,” addresses how open education can cause disruption that can be harnessed as a means for innovation to challenge the status quo of higher education (Broekman et al. 2014). This category also contextualizes the open education movement and open education philosophy, and addresses its challenges and potentials for education (Conole and Brown 2018; DeRosa and Robinson 2017; Ehlers 2011; Farrow 2017; Huijser, Bedford, and Bull 2008; Jhangiani and Biswas-Diener 2017; Weller 2013). It also highlights the role of OERs during the COVID-19 pandemic when schools pivoted into online venues (Huang et al. 2020).

“Open Educational Resources” presents critical discussion about OERs and the place they occupy in higher education today. Their role in democratizing access to knowledge, breaking down the barriers to education, and innovating pedagogy are addressed (Caswell et al. 2008; DeRosa and Robinson 2017; Orr, Rimini, and Damme 2015; Toledo 2017; Zhang 2019), including how open textbooks are up to par with commercial ones in quality and learning outcomes, and ought to replace them so that students and libraries save on book and subscription expenses (Hilton 2016; Jhangiani et al. 2018; Johnson 2020; Okamato 2013). Other authors problematize this embrace of OERs and point to the shortcomings of studies that claim to detect their positive learning outcomes (Grimaldi 2019). Additional barriers to embracing OERs are addressed in this sub-section, including limited Internet access, resistance to online learning, irrelevant contexts for audiences from the Global South, and imbalances of knowledge flow between the Global North and South (King, Pegrum, and Forsey 2018).

Similar trends can be seen in the third sub-section, “Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs),” in which proponents of MOOCs highlight their positive impacts on learning (Israel 2015), while others criticize them for perpetuating colonial and racial inequalities, or for pitching their content primarily to Western audiences despite their uptake by the Global South (Bali and Sharma 2017; Bennett and Kent 2017; Zhang et al. 2019). Several resources are also dedicated to studying the impact of MOOCs and their various models (Montero-Colbert et al. 2019; Raposo-Rivas et al. 2015; Ruipérez-Valiente et al. 2020; Shen and Kuo 2015). The annotations in this section point to the rich critical discourse on open resources, and demonstrate how creating open resources comes with a new host of challenges that ought to be addressed for open education to reach its ultimate goal of making high-quality knowledge and training accessible for everyone.

The reviews in this annotated bibliography focus on English language resources and look primarily at discourse and practices in North America and Europe. Each entry follows a standard format to communicate the overall thesis and purpose of the resource that can be read as a coherent document or by sections and categories. By no means exhaustive, it is meant to provide a snapshot of the various conversations related to digital pedagogy and training under the umbrella of open scholarship, with a particular focus on the discourse happening in digital humanities and in relation to open resources in the context of open education. Some annotations are relevant to more than one category, in which case the duplicates have been demarcated with the symbol F next to the citation, with a bracketed indicator of the section and sub-section where the full annotation can be found. Most of the annotations were developed as part of the Mitacs Globalink research internship program over the course of three years, in three-month intervals annually, authored by Alan Colín-Arce (2021), Vitor Yano (2019), and Anna Honcharova (2018), and are being published for the first time. The annotations authored by Colin Arce are denoted with a Δ symbol and those by Yano or Honcharova with *. Some entries are duplicated from a previous bibliography “An Annotated Bibliography on Social Knowledge Creation” (Arbuckle et al. 2017), marked by †.

This annotated bibliography is an output of the Open Scholarship Press. For related work, please see the Community, Connection, and Policy bibliographies.




Annotations appearing in more than one sub-section


Annotations developed by Alan Colín-Arce


Annotations developed by Vitor Yano or Anna Honcharova

Annotations drawn from “An Annotated Bibliography of Social Knowledge Creation” (Arbuckle et al. 2017)

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