Teaching with Primary Sources
As institutions around the world abruptly turned to remote teaching in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Teaching with Primary Sources Workshop series—a unique collaboration among the Lunder Institute, the Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art, and the Cleveland Museum of Art that offers professional training to early career academics—also moved its activities to the virtual realm.
Each workshop offers an intensive program of presentations, discussions and archival encounters for its ten core participants, invited leaders, and guests. The workshops aim to build lasting relationships among the participants, who will serve as advocates for teaching with primary sources in the field of American art for years to come.
Organized by Director of Research Tanya Sheehan, the program’s online workshops addressed various aspects of assignment design for in-person and remote learning environments.
In May and June, Rachel Beane (Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Bowdoin College) led a two-part, interactive discussion on Zoom with the ten workshop participants, who are early career academics teaching American art history. Professor Beane offered an overview of the principles of assignment design, and the participants applied those to their teaching with archival primary sources.
In August, the workshop cohort met again on Zoom, this time with Colby Professors Stacey Sheriff (Director, Colby Writing Program) and Ghada Gherwash (Multilingual Writing Specialist) to talk about a variety of writing pedagogy strategies. The Lunder Institute hosted its third and final workshop in the series in September, before turning over the remainder of the programming to its institutional partners. Led by Colby’s Kate McLaughlin (Associate Director of Student Access and Disability Services) with Professor Amber Hickey (Visiting Assistant Professor of American Studies), the September workshop reflected on issues of access and equity in teaching.
All three workshops supported the cohort’s final project, which is to develop an open-access and adaptable assignment for the Smithsonian’s Learning Lab that incorporates online digitized materials from the Archives of American Art.