In a recent webinar, Dr. Julie Voss, Associate Professor, Department of English, Lenoir-Rhyne University, shared her experience using a digital archive of 18th-century books, broadsides and pamphlets to fascinate and challenge an undergraduate class of English majors. Using the Readex Early American Imprints collection, she asked her students to select an out-of-print text and then create an original modern edition of the work. Throughout this process, they experienced the joys and frustrations of working with rare old books, expanded their repertoire of research skills, and, in the end, began to see themselves as legitimate scholars.
Attendees told us they were hoping to:
Gain new ideas for engaging students in research using primary sources
Learn practical ways for using this kind of assignment in the classroom
Hear about collaboration between faculty and librarians
According to our follow up survey, their expectations were met!
“I especially appreciated learning new ways of assessing students’ knowledge. I knew a standard English research paper was not appropriate, but didn't know how to design a project.”
“Prof. Voss's project has given me ideas for expanding current student projects.”
And attendees left with ideas for implementing primary source research at their institutions:
“We look forward to expanding this project to include not only items from digital archive databases, but documents and manuscripts from our physical archives.”