Technology in Teaching Showcase

Collaborative Technology-Based Projects at Hamilton College

e-Black Studies Multimedia Website Project Overview

Description and Resources


Course Name:
e-Black Studies: Race and Cyberculture

Course Description:
The term 'eBlack Studies' describes the ongoing application of current digital information technology towards the production, dissemination, and collection of historical knowledge critical to the discipline of Black Studies and to the overall black experience. We will chart the future of scholarship, teaching, and community work through the use of eBlack Studies. We will explore digital culture as it critically interrogates, interprets, defines, and documents the experiences of people of African descent. Applications like Google, Facebook, MySpace, and Second Life will be examined.

Project Description:
Students will survey and use a variety of technologies to collect and analyze the relationship between technology, culture and ethnicity. Students will create an archive of content and media using the wiki tool in Blackboard and exchange ideas using BlogCFC. Students will compare interactions in a virtual world using an avatar that represents their own ethnic/cultural identity and then one that represents a different ethnic/cultural identity. Students will "curate" a showcase of the information and media that they survey and analyze.

» Professor Angel D. Nieves

Completed Student Projects

Baobab Website - Created Spring, 2009

Goals, Process and Outcomes

Project Goals:
To expand the students' personal knowledge of the relationship between technology, culture, and ethnicity, while allowing the students to share their experiences in a web-based format.

Learning Objectives:
Create an archive of media and content, encompassing the students' experiences throughout the project.

Project Process:
Students will develop a collection of digital items related to Black Studies. Each week, students will contribute a list of items that may become part of the ongoing collection. Development of the collection will include:

  • Creating a refworks bibliography for each item/object/URL. The Refworks will be the long term metadata citation for the item.
  • Add the list of items collected each week to each individual students wiki page

On the individual student Wiki page:
  • Describe the structure inherent in the items and/or how the item is presented
  • Describe the "experience" inherent in each item and/or in how it is presented
  • Sort the items into thematic categories - subcollections
  • Develop Tags for each item in the collection that help make it accessible to the general public
  • Associate each item collected with other items in related theme on a thematic wiki page
  • If part of a curated collection, how best would the item(s) be experienced? What form would the item(s) take, what would be the optimal structure in relationship to other objects in the collection? How would variations in structure and form effect the "experience" of the collection?

Students repeat this cycle weekly as new items are considered for the collection

Learning Outcomes:
The students created a website containing their experiences and thoughts, and made it publicly available for the community at large.

Project Feedback:
The students in this course felt that the variety of media they explored truly helped them to understand the triad relationship they sought to comprehend at the beginning of the course.

Some quotes from surveys filled out at the conclusion of the class:
"The Second Life software was useful because it allowed me to apply what I was reading about and put it into practice. I was able to live an identity that was not particularly my own and gain an experience that I would never have done outside of the class. I was able to experience this alternate life that many people use and learn how it is both a resource and hindrance for people of color."

"It was interesting to see how Second Life didn't truly accommodate users of any other ethnicity."