The North Texas History Harvest: Using Harvest Methods for Graduate Education

Thursday, January 4, 2018: 2:10 PM
Delaware Suite B (Marriott Wardman Park)
Todd Moye, University of North Texas
In 2013 the University of North Texas History Department partnered with the UNT Libraries’ Portal to Texas History team, the Denton County Office of History and Culture, and the City of Denton’s MLK Community Center to create the North Texas History Harvest (NTHH). In doing so we tweaked the model perfected by our colleagues at the University of Nebraska. Rather than make this a hands-on learning experience for undergraduates, we structured it as an independent study for an M.A. student, Chelsea Stallings, who honed her project management skills and deepened her content knowledge—which helped her write an excellent M.A. thesis on black history in Denton (and—importantly!—land a good public history job) shortly thereafter. Rather than create a standalone online collection of the materials gathered at the Harvest, we opted to upload the materials we collected directly into the Portal to Texas History, the gateway to rare, historical, and primary source materials from or about Texas and one of the leading digital humanities institutions in the U.S. As a result, the materials are rich in metadata, easily discoverable, and digitally archived according to the highest standards, but also light on curation and interpretation. I learned valuable lessons from this experience that I applied to a course in which I helped undergraduate and graduate students create an online museum of the Mansfield Crisis in 2015, and will apply to my first attempt at using the History Harvest methods with undergraduates in a Spring 2018 course, African Americans in North Texas. In this presentation I will introduce the NTHH and discuss what I see as the method’s great promise for graduate education.
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