Students in Ryan Shirey’s WRI 111 course dove into textual corpora derived from digitized campus publications of Wake Forest University in order to articulate research questions about the campus community’s discourse over time. Chelcie Rowell worked with Ryan Shirey to identify an appropriate text analysis tool to use in the course (Voyant), design the assignment, and co-teach use of Voyant. Chelcie also assembled textual corpora for students’ use from plain-text OCR (optical character recognition) output of digitized campus publications, including bulletins, commencement programs, student newspapers, and yearbooks. After creating individual autoethnographies about their participation in contemporary campus discourses, students formed groups and articulated a set of research questions about another time period at Wake Forest. As each group dove into a particular textual corpus to explore how to answer the research questions initially formed in individual authethnographies, they had to continually refine and rework those questions in light of the research process. The final outcome of the assignment was an oral presentation that outlined a research proposal using the methods of large-scale text analysis.
What will you build?
A digital map? A web exhibit? A course blog anthologized at the end of the semester? A collaboratively annotated critical edition of primary sources? Paintings or art prints digitized to support deep zoom? Or something else?