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Collaborative Insights through Digital Annotation: A Workshop

Friday, January 23, 2015

Rethinking the Connections between Annotation, Reading, & Writing

To register, please sign up here.

Instructors and students in the humanities and the liberal arts increasingly work in an electronically supported and extended world of multimedia texts.  Digital archives, online media repositories, and new tools for creating digital content have not only changed the way students interact with cultural content, they have also radically changed the landscape within which learning can take place. Digital content has broken down the barriers separating traditional learning environments such as the solitary scholar, the library, and the classroom. Access to digitally based knowledge and cultural content with opportunities for new learning environments requires instructors to reevaluate their existing pedagogical methods and their roles in the classroom. Instructors are faced with the challenge of how to respond to this shift, how to innovate and redesign their roles and curricula.

In this workshop, we investigate one possible solution to this challenge: digital annotation.  Digital annotation brings the long humanistic tradition of annotation, one of John Unsworth’s “scholarly primitives,” into contemporary electronic media.  Within a digital learning environment, annotation allows for a new form of interactive reading, one that can seamlessly transition between traditional forms of solitary highlighting or note taking to collaborative close reading or shared discussions about particular passages.  Participants in this workshop will discuss the opportunities digital annotation tools create for new forms of social engagement with the text, for students to share ideas, interpretations, references, sources, adaptations, or other related media with peers and other readers that significantly change the way students acquire and produce knowledge.

The keynote speaker will be John Bryant, Professor of English at Hofstra University.  Professor Bryant received his BA, MA, and PhD from the University of Chicago and is the author of several books and over 60 articles on Melville, related writers of the nineteenth-century, scholarly editing, and digital scholarship. The former Editor of the Melville Society (1990-2013), he created and edited Leviathan: A Journal of Melville Studies, which was designated CELJ’s Best New Journal of 2000 (runner up). His book Melville Unfolding: Sexuality, Politics, and the Versions of Typee (Michigan 2008) draws upon his online fluid-text edition, titled Herman Melville’s Typee, appearing in the Rotunda electronic imprint (University of Virginia, 2006), which was the second electronic edition to be awarded the MLA-CSE seal of approval.  His other books include A Companion to Melville Studies, Melville and Repose: The Rhetoric of Humor in the American Renaissance (Oxford 1993), and The Fluid Text: A Theory of Revision and Editing for Book and Screen (Michigan, 2002).  He has published several editions of Melville works, including Typee (Penguin), The Confidence-Man (Random House), Melville’s Tales, Poems, and Other Writings (Modern Library), and the Longman Critical Edition of Moby-Dick. He is currently working on a critical biography titled Herman Melville: A Half-Known Life (Wiley) and on the NEH-funded Melville Electronic Library (MEL), an online critical archive designated as a “We the People” project. In 2013, he was appointed Director of Hofstra’s new Digital Research Center.  In 2014, he taught America literature during the spring semester at the University of Rome (Sapienza) on a Fulbright Fellowship, and he sailed on the restored 19th-century whaling craft Charles W. Morgan as part of his Melville biography research.

Program (preliminary)

Friday, January 23, 2015
MIT, Building 66, Room 110

8:30 am   Coffee
9:00 am   Introduction by Kurt Fendt, Executive Director of HyperStudio, MIT
9:15 am   Keynote Address by John Bryant, Professor of English, Hofstra University
10:15 am Panel #1 Digital Annotation and the Writing Process

  • Suzanne Lane, Senior Lecturer in Rhetoric and Communication, and Director of the Writing, Rhetoric, and Professional Communication program, MIT
  • Mary Isbell, Assistant Professor of English & Director of First-Year Writing Program, University of New Haven
  • Alex MuellerAssistant Professor of English, University of Massachusetts, Boston

11:15 am   Breakout Sessions
12:30 pm   Lunch
Lunch will be provided (Swissbäkers)
1:30 pm    Future Directions of Annotation Studio with Jamie Folsom, Leader Developer at HyperStudio, MIT
1:45 pm    Panel #2 Digital Annotation and the Reading Process

  • Wyn Kelley, Senior Lecturer in Literature, MIT
  • Ina Lipkowitz, Lecturer in Literature, MIT
  • Roberto Rey Agudo, Lecturer in Global Studies and Languages, MIT
  • Ethna D. Lay, Assistant Professor, Hofstra University

2:45 pm   Breakout Sessions
4:00 pm   Andreas Karastolis, Associate Director of Writing Across the Curriculum, MIT
4:30 pm   Conclusion

To register, please sign up here.


Friday, January 23, 2015
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MIT Building 66, Room 110
25 Ames Street
Cambridge, MA 02139 United States
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Andrew Whitacre Written by Andrew Whitacre