Do’s and don’ts for digital teachers

Prof. Jesse Stommel loves interacting with learners, so he was initially reluctant to pursue digital teaching. But Stommel, assistant professor of digital humanities at the UW-Madison Division of Continuing Studies, came to see that digital tools would only strengthen his connection with students.
In an article for the Chronicle of Higher Education, co-written with Sean Michael Morris, Stommel enumerates the best practices for digital teachers. The authors preach the value of experimentation, arguing that “digital tools will often surprise you with their possibilities.”
Among their recommendations:

  • Add one digital activity, strategy, or technology to a class at a time, not 12 at once.
  • Be honest about who you are: “How you present yourself online should not be all that different from how you present yourself in front of a chalkboard.”
  • Harness the power of Twitter, encouraging your students to join digital learning communities.
  • Grade less. “Digital teaching should start with inquiry and investigation, not assessment,” the authors say.

Stommel is currently organizing Digital Pedagogy Lab, an institute that will explore the role of digital technology in teaching. A collaboration between the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the digital journal Hybrid Pedagogy, the institute is scheduled for August 10-14, 2015, on the UW-Madison campus. Registration opens in late February; follow @DigPedLab and @HybridPed for updates.