American Social History Project • Center for Media and Learning

February 2014

2014 NEH Summer Institute: The Visual Culture of the American Civil War

ASHP/CML is currently accepting applications for our 2014 National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute for College and University Teachers on the Visual Culture of the American Civil War. The two-week institute, which will take place at the City University of New York Graduate Center and local archives and museums from July 7th to 18th, will study the ways the war was recorded, reported, represented, and remembered via an unprecedented array of visual media that included the fine arts, photography, cartoons, and a range of “ephemeral”pictorial items and publications.

Information about the institute−including an informational video, schedule of activities, roster of leading scholars in the field, and application instructions−is now available in a special section of the ASHP/CML website. We welcome inquiries about participating and invite college and university faculty, independent scholars, scholars engaged in museum work, and full-time graduate students to apply. If you plan to apply, be sure to review NEH’s Application Information and Instructions to determine your eligibility. The deadline for applications is Tuesday, March 4, 2014.

Who Built America Badges for History Education

We are very excited to announce the launch of Who Built America Badges for History Education. The site is a free online professional learning community where teachers can work with ASHP/CML history educators to teach and create document-based, Common Core aligned units. While doing so, they earn digital badges that demonstrate their professional learning and help to advance their careers. This project grows out of our decades of work providing professional development to history teachers in New York City and elsewhere and features the engaging social history content ASHP/CML is known for. Please help us to get the word out about WBA Badges to both in-service and pre-service teachers by sharing this announcement with colleagues.

The Story of Open Admissions: A Public Program Launch of the CUNY Digital History Archive

The history of the City University of New York and the championing of public higher education are the focus of a new initiative involving present and past CUNY faculty, staff, and students along with libraries, archives, and collections in and outside of the university. Coordinated by ASHP/CML, the CUNY Digital History Archive will collect the stories in text, sound, and image of the many events, people, and communities that have been critical to the university’s democratic mission. These materials will be made available to the public as an open access repository and also will direct users to valuable records and resources located at CUNY campuses.

A public program on Wednesday, April 9th, at 6:30 pm in the Martin Segal Theatre at the Graduate Center will mark the launch of the CUNY Digital History Archive. Featuring two roundtable discussions−”The Fight for Open Admissions and Its Early Implementation across CUNY, 1968-1976″ and “Student Activism and the Fight against State and City Cutbacks and Attacks, 1985-2014″−the event will involve activists in the struggle for and defense of Open Admissions from the late-1960s to the present, who will describe their experiences and offer insights about the past and its implications for the future. Please mark your calendars and check the ASHP/CML homepage in late February for details about this event.

CUNY Oral History Website Redesigned

As part of our CUNY History initiative, the website Student Voices from WWII and the McCarthy Era has been completely redesigned. ASHP/CML worked with historian Adina Back to launch the website in 2006 as a resource to teach college level oral history interpretation and practice and to explore the history of activism on the Brooklyn College campus. The new design focused on making the site’s navigation simpler and more accessible for tablets and mobile devices. Other new features include a persistent menu for easy navigation and new audio formats, including downloadable mp3 files.

Game On!

Carlos Hernandez (Borough of Manhattan Community College) giving opening remarks at the CUNY Games Festival, held at the CUNY Graduate Center, January 17, 2014.

The first annual CUNY Games Festival, January 17-18, 2014, was a terrific success. One of the first academic conferences to explore game-based learning (GBL) in higher education, the two-day event attracted almost 200 registrants. Participants included faculty and students from 10 CUNY schools and dozens of universities and colleges across the country, along with game developers and other representatives from non-profit and for-profit technology sectors.

The first day of the conference, held at the CUNY Graduate Center, featured a full slate of presentations, “shorts,” posters, a game demo arcade, and a plenary session with John Black (Teachers College, Columbia University), Joey Lee (Teachers College, Columbia University), Anastasia Salter (University of Baltimore), and Eric Zimmerman (New York University). ASHP/CML’s Leah Potter presented “Truth is Where You Make It: Designing Historical Games” with co-presenter Carlos Hernandez (Borough of Manhattan Community College). Her presentation drew on experiences with the ongoing Channel 13 Mission US series for which ASHP/CML is the lead content developer. The second conference day, held at Borough of Manhattan Community College, was a game day during which participants playtested both commercial and educational tabletop/board games with guidance from game designers.

Game-based learning (GBL) refers to instructional practices that incorporate games with defined learning outcomes, or that adopt game learning principles over conventional pedagogies. Research shows the potential of GBL to foster student engagement and problem-solving, and to improve student performance across disciplines. While GBL is gradually gaining a foothold in colleges and universities, and attracting the attention of administrators, most of the public discourse and media spotlight on GBL is directed at the k-12 level, and much less so at higher education. The CUNY Games Festival fills this gap by focusing attention on the possibilities and challenges of integrating GBL in college classrooms, as well as the emerging field of game studies.

ASHP/CML was the primary sponsor of the event, which also received generous support from the CUNY Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and CUNY Digital Humanities Initiative. The New Media Lab, Center for the Humanities, and Interactive Technology and Pedagogy Certificate Program were also co-sponsors.

To learn more about the CUNY Games Festival, visit the conference website, or search Twitter for the hashtag #cgf2014.