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Engaging Undergraduate Students: An Oral History Assignment Charrette

Fri, October 6, 8:30 to 10:00am, Hilton Minneapolis, Marquette VIII

Session Submission Type: Roundtable


Greater affordability and ease in recording high-quality digital audio, increased access to archival oral history collections, and digital technologies for creatively interpreting oral history have generated innovative teaching assignments designed to engage undergraduate students with oral history. This roundtable will be an “assignment charrette” inspired by the American Historical Association’s recent undergraduate teaching workshop, which found its muse in the “design charrette” model employed by designers and urban planners to share ideas and provide feedback on design concepts and solutions to problems. In this collaborative session, five professors who regularly teach with oral history will each share one assignment, followed by discussion centered on ways to improve, revise, and spin the assignment into new forms, or adapt it for other teaching/learning modes, student populations, and topics. We will pay special attention to the ways in which oral history-focused assignments can help meet institutional student learning outcomes, and to how assignment specific outcomes can resonate beyond the humanities classroom. We welcome feedback and discussion on the assignments from not only fellow roundtable participants, but also from attendees in the audience. Assignments will include public history projects, community-engaged/service learning, assignments in which students conduct interviews, and primary source analysis of archival interviews.

Prior to OHA’s annual meeting, roundtable participants will post their assignments to a shared website. Drawing inspiration from the National Council on Public History Working Group model, in which members begin collaborative preparations prior to the conference in order to engage in more in-depth conversations during the session, participants and fellow attendees for this charrette will have the opportunity to review and discuss the assignments in advance of the meeting, offering a collective entry point into the conversation and a point of access and discussion once we leave Minneapolis.

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