I and many have noted the uneven knowledge base of students taking college courses, often as a product of equity issues in K-12 education. College accelerates rather than ameliorates these uneven penetrations of knowledge, especially when students take what I call distance digital courses.
Distance education has been around for a long time. Adding web-based elements to distance education is typically called "online education" but I think that term "online" ignores the distance elements of it. As well, there are so many elements of "online courses" that are digital but not web based, I think calling our courses "online" versus "face-to-face" does an an injustice to the total skill set students need to succeed.
So, I wrote five lessons to help students taking distance digital education courses to help bring everyone up to the same level. My direct inspiration was Mike Caufield's Check, Please! fact and source-check lessons. I used the same publishing tool and cribbed much of the pedagogical structure (and some language) from the original (http://lessons.checkplease.cc) Whatever brilliance underlying this model is credit to Caufield and all its faults lie with me.
I also took inspiration from several others scholars who I do not know well (or in the case of Tufecki, at all), but appreciate from afar. Roopika Risam, a digital humanities scholar has a willingness to jump into meaningful projects I appreciate. Maha Bali writes inspiring reflections about the the nexus of learning, teaching, and technology. My original forays into how technologies create learning spaces for the oppressed owe their inspiration to Zeynep Tufekci and her book Twitter and Tear Gas: The Power and Fragility of Networked Protests . I also love how all three scholars refuse to stay in their lanes. At my college, Lacey Mamak has been a teaching and technology mentor for many years, as have many colleagues inside my department and out.
This blog post will auto-tweet, so if you're reading this before ;2020-08-17, you may be frustrated not to see a link to my lessons. I feel I should give my college colleagues and the scholars named above a couple days to comment on my lessons (and for me to chase bugs) before releasing to the public. My thanks to my History and Political Science colleagues and friends for their support this summer for this project. Thank you Robert, Lisa, Kurt and Liz!