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NU Stories with Jacob Leveton: Embracing the Digital Humanities

Jacob Leveton, a PhD candidate with a focus on Art & Ecology from the late eighteenth century to the present, was the first graduate student to participate in the Educational Technology Teaching Fellows (ETTF) program at Northwestern. The ETTF program helps instructors and graduate students develop their courses, introducing technologies and pedagogical practices to enhance their teaching. Each fellow is paired with a consultant who explores new tools, strategies, and other helpful resources with them. I was thrilled to be paired with Jake because he had many fresh ideas and was very enthusiastic about the digital humanities.

Kelly: Why did you apply for ETTF?

Jacob: I applied for ETTF because I was excited about the program after getting an email on the first or second day of courses in the fall. I had been on fellowship for a year in Paris and had missed teaching immensely during that time. In addition, I realized that the teaching I eventually wished to do would include elements of new media, digital storytelling, and social media-based engagement. So, I knew immediately that the ETTF program would give me the opportunity to garner those skills.

Kelly (fishing for compliments): What was the most valuable part of your relationship with your ETTF consultant?

Jacob: You were unbelievably helpful, patient, and encouraging toward me as I experimented with the Wix website-building tools. Feeling like I could try different things and formats for my students’ blogs and not be judged if aspects didn’t work out or needed to be improved. You helped me feel confident as I built my course.

Kelly: You were able to visit documenta 14 in Athens – how did that influence your ETTF project?

Jacob: Visiting documenta 14 in Athens made me recognize the value of integrating social media in digital humanities-oriented art history courses. Being able to integrate new artistic production as it was being exhibited for the first time into my blog-based, student writing course made the course feel very relevant. My students had immediate access to conversations in the contemporary art world as they unfolded across influential events and venues like documenta 14.

Kelly: How will you use the things you learned in your future teaching?

Jacob: Most any course I teach will include a component wherein students engage with one another through blogging and Twitter. It’s my hope that I might even include an official course hashtag that we might refer to over the quarter, using Storify or similar platform.


Northwestern instructors and graduate students are encouraged to apply for the Educational Technology Teaching Fellows program for 2017-2018.

If you need help developing a project idea for your application, feel free to schedule a consultation with the Faculty Support Services team.

image via pexels