Digital technologies are a valuable part of the 21st century educator’s toolkit. In 2012, I was awarded a Digital Innovation Lab/Institute for the Arts and Humanities Fellowships that gave me the opportunity and resources to develop a prototype for Digital Portobelo: Art + Scholarship +Cultural Preservation (digitalportobelo.org) as well as the charge to incorporate more of the digital humanities into my teaching. I began to do so in the spring of 2013 by revising my COMM 841: Critical/Performance Ethnography course to include a unit on the critical use of digital tools and technologies in the practice of field research as well as in the dissemination of the results of our research. Likewise, I am in the process of revising COMM 661: Field Research in Performance Studies to give students more opportunities to experiment with digital tools and rubrics. In addition to incorporating the work into my methods courses, I plan to create an iteration of COMM 664: Race, Ethnicity, and Performance focused on Afro-Panamanian identity and culture. In additional to theoretical and historical essays, students will have the opportunity to engage with oral histories and other contextual materials on the Digital Portobelo website as well as on websites like Voices of Our Americas.
Whether in the halls of academia or in everyday life, I value the opportunity teaching affords me to be a resource, to aid in my students’ growth and development, to allow them to aid in mine, and to help them learn to produce art as critical scholarship and critical scholarship that is also art.