Digital humanities fosters student development and community collaboration

It’s the class that isn’t a class at all.

Rather than teaching content, IASC 2P08 focuses on supporting and guiding students as they to connect with digital developers and develop their own career opportunities.

The Interactive Arts and Science course Competencies in Interactive Media is innovative in its structure. Rather than requiring students to attend set class times, they are responsible for attending 30 hours of professional development opportunities, both at Brock and elsewhere, over the academic year.

The Centre for Digital Humanities (CDH) offers a series of professional development workshops throughout the year, hosting talks by industry professionals on topics such as Web 2.0, virtual reality, digital music composition, and entrepreneurial and freelancing skills.

In addition to giving students direct access to professionals in their fields of interest, the workshops also equip them to manage their own professional development paths while forging relationships with future mentors, peers and colleagues.

The workshops fulfill a core part of the CDH mandate by increasing interaction and collaboration with new community partners, says CDH Project Co-ordinator Justin Howe.

“Workshop experiences have improved students’ awareness of internship options and hosts through interactions with presenters,” says Howe.

One interesting collaboration that has come out of the workshops has been with Jim Squires and Shane McCafferty of Rocketship Park.

McCafferty and Squires both presented separately — McCafferty on game design and Squires on media relations. The pair had such a good experience that they worked with CDH students on the testing and feedback phase of Block Droppin’, their first big iOS game released in August.

“We were delighted to have the opportunity to share our knowledge and experiences with them,” says Squire, who looks forward to continued co-operation with CDH in the future.

“In opening themselves up to community partners, the Centre for Digital Humanities is able to bring practical real-world experiences to the classroom while at the same time introducing local game companies to the next generation of skilled workers.”

Collaboration is of utmost importance to the IASC and GAME programs, says CDH director David Hutchison.

“Partnerships are key to the digital humanities as a discipline,” he says. “Students in both programs are going to be engaged in careers in which collaboration with others is key.”

CDH workshops are open to anyone in the Brock community. Upcoming workshops are listed on ExperienceBU.

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