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I'm interested in how one goes about integrating digital tools into the liberal arts, and my perspective is that of a long-time faculty member in a small department at a small school. The common wisdom is that today's students know and can do more than most faculty in all things digital, and we need merely provide opportunities for them to use those skills. But that's not true for many students. Our department's newest faculty member has a specialty in digital media, specifically gamification. And although many students are flocking to her classes, she's also encountering resistance from some English majors: as one said to her in the first week of her "Digital Literacies" class, "I don't know anything about games, and I didn't become an English major to analyze stuff like this." I see two issues revealed through her statement: first, not all students are as digitally savvy as we think they are. Yes, they are experts at Facebook and Instagram and they can upload a movie from their iPhone to YouTube in seconds. However, they tend not to apply the digital skills they do have to their academic studies, and they usually don't have the confidence or intellectual curiosity to explore the application of new digital tools on their own. And second, this student and others like her hadn't received exposure in earlier classes to digital humanities techniques, so what my colleague was doing seemed outlandish to her. I want to address both issues today.




This paper is a slightly edited version of a presentation at the College English Association Conference in March 2014.

The final version of this article is available through the publisher:

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