Wednesday, 8 April 2009

New history wiki launched by U. of Richmond

The Chronicle of Higher Education has a story about a new wiki begun by historians at the University of Richmond. Called the History Engine , the wiki is meant to help students around the country work together on a shared tool to make sense of history documents online. Students generate brief essays on American history, and the History Engine aggregates the essays and makes them navigable by tags. The content is moderated by professors and History Engine uses mapping technology to organize scholarship by time period, geographic location, and themes. According to Prof. Andrew J. Torget, director of the digital scholarship lab at the University of Richmond, there is an oversupply of information and the current model for teaching and learning is based on a relative scarcity of research and writing, not an excess. “When you’ve got too much information to be able to process it all, you’re not sure how to find meaningful patterns within it,” Mr. Torget told The Chronicle. “The idea is to build a digital microscope that allows students to focus in on what’s most useful and relevant for the question they’re asking.”

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