Discussion Leader Guidelines

At this point you should have all signed up for a day to be a discussion leader. On that day you and a partner will be responsible for kicking off class discussion about the assigned readings/media/tools.

Leading the discussion entails preparing generative questions that will serve to focus our conversation.

A helpful hint: By “generative” questions, I mean questions that will be able to generate a lot of conversation. For example, “how many digital humanities centers exist in the world?” is not a generative question. Instead, consider open-ended questions that could be discussed from many different angles. Like this: “Based on the readings we did for today, what do you think are some of the possibilities and potential dangers of ‘big data’?” “How does big data affect our everyday lives?” Remember, this should be a discussion, not simply a question and answer session. If your questions are really generative, it may turn out that we spend the whole time talking about 1 or 2 of them.

In addition to asking provocative questions, you might consider presenting some examples of DH projects/resources that are related to the topic of discussion, or preparing handouts that contain questions, key passages, visualizations, etc. These aids could help to focus discussion and/or provide vivid examples or illustrations of concepts from the readings. Or, you could lead us in some kind of in-class activity that is relevant to the discussion.

Regardless of how you choose to spend your time as discussion leaders, you and your partner should aim to keep the discussion going for at least 25 minutes.

NOTE: Either you or your partner should contact me via email by 7pm the night before your chosen day to let me know your plan for leading discussion and/or to send me any additional materials (questions, handouts, links to projects, etc.) you may have. And of course, if you need to talk with me about ideas I’m happy to set up a meeting with the two of you a few days before your turn.




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