Digital Skills for the Liberal Arts

Photograph Courtesy of Ursinus

Sophia DiBattista

sodibattista@ursinus.edu

     The Digital Liberal Arts (DLA) Fellows are having their first workshop session on Feb. 23, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. in the Myrin Library lounge. According to sophomore DLA Fellow Tiffini-Amber Eckenrod, the workshop will consist of four groups, each led by a different Fellow.

     Eckenrod and the other Fellows, seniors Shelby Bryant and Paige Szmodis, and junior Shelby Carmichael, will be teaching attendees how to use various tools to improve both their literacy and technology skills. These tools include programs like Shotcut, WordPress, QGIS, Timeline, Wix, and Storymap JS.

     “The programs can make interesting projects or be used for fun. For example, Shotcut allows people to make and edit their own YouTube videos while Wix lets people make their own unique webpages. Each of these tools is useful in its own way and is used in certain professions all the time,” said Eckenrod.

     The Digital Liberal Arts have been at Ursinus for over a year and a half now. They work towards advancing literacy with technologically advanced equipment.

     Eckenrod, explained that the DLA Fellows are students who “work with faculty and [other] students to incorporate digital components into the classroom and troubleshoot any issues people are having with these digital components.” 

     They aim to assist teachers, staff, and students using a variety of technology.

     Eckenrod said, “In general, we work with programs like WordPress, Audacity, and ArcGIS, as well as assist with video-editing, web design, digital storytelling, and digital curating.”

     The Fellows’ assistance only goes so far, however. Eckenrod explained, “We do not do all of the work for students. We just help them out. We can assist with a wide variety of programs and websites, not just the ones listed.”

     Eckenrod continued that “students will be able to walk in and out as they like, [moving] to and from each station at any time. Food and drinks will also be provided.”

     Eckenrod encouraged students, and faculty as well, to check out the event because it will teach them about programs that can be used in and outside of classes.

     Dr. Kara McShane, co-director of the DLA, said that the Fellows previously did video-editing work with faculty in the library, but the Fellows are pushing to “help faculty feel comfortable integrating these technology tools into their classes,” and to consult with teachers about the programs.

      McShane stated, “For some faculty members [and their classes], the Fellow takes [charge], but for others, the Fellow is there to be an extra set of hands.”

     The purpose of the workshop is “to get students to explore some of these tools in a low-stress, friendly, warm, supportive environment,” McShane said.

     The DLA Fellows are excited for their upcoming workshop and to teach people about the digital humanities. If a student attends the workshop but does not finish their task in time, they can schedule a meeting with a Fellow to follow up and complete their project. Students can stop in during the workshop at any time, during normal office hours, or make a separate appointment with a Fellow on the Ursinus website at https://www.ursinus.edu/library/digital-liberal-arts/.