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Task-driven programming pedagogy in the digital humanities

Birnbaum, DJ and Langmead, A (2017) Task-driven programming pedagogy in the digital humanities. In: New Directions for Computing Education: Embedding Computing Across Disciplines. UNSPECIFIED, 63 - 85. ISBN 9783319542256

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In this chapter, we advocate for a task-driven approach to teaching computer programming to students of the digital humanities (DH). Our perspective is grounded first in Birnbaum's (2014) plenary address to the University of Pittsburgh Faculty Senate (Birnbaum 2014), in which he argued that coding, like writing, should be taught across the liberal arts curriculum in domain-appropriate ways. This position argued that (1) coding is not an esoteric specialization to be taught solely by computer scientists, and that (2) coding might be taught most effectively in the context of different disciplines. Here, we present a method for embedding Digital Humanities education, and more specifically programming pedagogy, within the long-standing traditions of the Humanities and argue that this approach works most effectively when new learners have access to context-specific mentorship. Our second point of reference lies with oral-proficiency-oriented (OP) foreign language pedagogy. Within an OP model, the ability to communicate in a foreign language is a skill, and the primary goal for learners who seek to acquire that skill is not an academic understanding of the grammar of a language, but, instead, the ability to function successfully within realistic contextualized human interactions. Seen from this perspective, computer-programming curricula organized around the features of the programming language might be compared to older grammar-and-translation foreign-language pedagogies. What we advocate instead is that the ability to use a programming language (programming proficiency) is best acquired in the context of performing contextualized, discipline-conscious tasks that are meaningful to humanists, an approach that has parallels to OP language learning.


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Item Type: Book Section
Status: Published
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Birnbaum, DJdjbpitt@pitt.eduDJBPITT
Langmead, Aadlangmead@pitt.eduADL400000-0002-9159-9797
Date: 17 April 2017
Date Type: Publication
Page Range: 63 - 85
DOI or Unique Handle: 10.1007/978-3-319-54226-3_5
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Slavic Languages and Literatures
Refereed: Yes
ISBN: 9783319542256
Title of Book: New Directions for Computing Education: Embedding Computing Across Disciplines
Other ID: ISBN 978-3-319-54226-3
Date Deposited: 26 May 2017 15:34
Last Modified: 30 Mar 2021 20:55


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