Editing Modernism in Canada


June 13, 2012

Digital pedagogies

I’m sure we are all still recovering from another fantastic year at DHSI. Who would have thought that Edmonton would be a warm, balmy relief after Vancouver Island? This year I took Digital Pedagogy taught by Katherine D. Harris, Diane Jakacki, and Jentery Sayers. It was a phenomenal experience and was made doubly so by the fact that I took the class with the lovely Emily Ballantyne. Our class came up with a collection of resources, exercises, and theorizations that can be found here: http://web.uvic.ca/~englblog/pedagogydhsi/

Below is a project that Emily and I came up with together that would work as a scaffolded (i.e., multiple-assignment based) task. We had a lot of fun working with it and I really enjoyed working with the PressBook tool. If you know anything about WordPress then it is super intuitive. The PressBook itself can be found here: http://engl4312.pressbooks.com/

A word of warning about the PressBook itself — for time’s sake all of our definitions were lifted straight out of Wikipedia (a practice we definitely would discourage in the classroom). But such is life. Enjoy!

Creating a Mini Digital Anthology

This assignment would be built for a 3rd year focused seminar on Canadian poetry.  It would be appropriate in both a genre or period-based course where the works being studied are short (ie poetry or the short story).  This project would serve as the backbone of the course, and includes multiple assignments each with their own individual learning goals to build toward the ultimate goal of a collaboratively edited literary anthology for the class.

The ambition of this assignment overall is to understand how works are selected for a critical anthology and to understand the editorial principles that informs the textbooks the students have been assigned.  This is a learner-centered assignment that allows the student to become both an expert in their assigned field (an author) as well as a colleague among peers who must both justify their editorial principles and collaborate with others to create the final class literary anthology.

Students will be working both individually and collaboratively.  Students will be broken into groups of 3-4 and assigned an author.  Each student will be responsible for the selection of six poems that they have selected according to a particular theme or time period.   They will make informed choices about the poems they select, and will use an annotated bibliography to review currently anthologized and under anthologized poems by canonical Canadian writers.  After consulting a primary resource (an original edition of the poetry), 3 anthologies and critical biographical essays on the authors and their work, the students will create and justify their own digital edition using PressBook software.

Then, they will form general editor committees and work together to select only 3 poems to include in the class-wide anthology.  Working collaboratively, they will select their poems and write a critical introduction about these choices for inclusion in the anthology.

The anthology will end up including approximately 12 poets with 9 poems from each writer. This anthology will be the basis for all questions on the final exam. The student-generated anthology will double as a study guide for the students.

Part One (independent)

Annotated Bibliography (2-3 double spaced pages): Begin by examining three anthologies that anthologize your author and one original monograph published by the author.   Explore choices and layout.  Then select three critical resources on your author. Following proper citation style, create a full citation with a short, paragraph long summary of each resource (primary and critical) and    describe the choices made, relevance to the author and themes you selected for your edition.   Teaching prep will require:

  • Classroom instruction on research methods. Ideally bring in one of the reference librarians to talk to students about resources at the library. Talk about selection in looking for resources (not simply just finding anything for the sake of finding something.)
  • Classroom instruction on and discussion of proper citation in the discipline of English. Which sources are peer-reviewed? What is the purpose of peer review?
  • Classroom instruction on the form of an annotated bibliography. Go over examples to determine what type of information is most useful for the researcher

Critical biographical intro (350-500 words):  Construct a one page critical biographical introduction to your author.  Consult the anthologies you used in your bibliography to think about framing your writing, and tailoring the piece to the six poems you selected.   Teaching prep will require:

  • Classroom instruction on the form. Go over examples of others in the field. What type of information do you want to see? What is useful? What is pleasurable? How do you find a balance between the two? Do you need a thesis statement in a critical intro?

Footnotes and Annotations (Amount will vary dependent on choice of poems.   Keep all annotations to 3 sentences or less):   This will require annotating key ideas in the poems you selected. Are there concepts that are not common knowledge?  What historical, social and political contexts inform the poem?   Teaching prep will require:

  • Classroom discussion of the role of footnotes and explications. Go over examples of over- and under-use.
  • Collaboratively (as a class) come up with a set of guidelines for the footnotes and explications for the classroom.

The Edition Itself (Approx 10 pages including previous work).   Using PressBooks, bring everything together to create your own PressBook critical edition.

Example of a partial anthology:

1) title page:


2) table of contents:


3) Poem, “After the Rain,” PK Page with hyperlinks for footnotes.


4) Example of a footnote, opening up on a page located in the “back matter”


5. Editorial principles and selections (500 words):  This is your opportunity to reflect upon the decisions you made and your individual selections.  It is an opportunity for you to show me how and why you made the decisions you made.

  • assigned reading on editorial theory and practice that will then be discussed in class. What types of editing are there?
  • Collaboratively (as a class) come up with a set of guidelines for editorial principles and selections.


Part Two (Collaborative editorial selections)

Peer review of editorial principles carried by the other two in the group.

  • peer review will be facilitated by a provided rubric and undertaken in class

Pick 3 poems as a group based on a shared set of criteria that is collaboratively determined and write a short critical introduction to those three poems and a brief justification of editorial principles.

  • each group will use PressBooks to create their final anthology. Each anthology will be made available to the entire class.
  • A final class will be dedicated to discuss the process of creating an anthology.

One Response to “Digital pedagogies”

  1. […] and make myself a better teacher. We have seen some measures of success; this week Vanessa Lent posted about the scaffolded project she and Emily Ballantyne developed during the course, creating a […]

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