Against Essays, For Accessibility

Cyborg in the Badlands

In “Part V: Teaching the Digital Humanities” of Debates in the Digital Humanities, Mark L. Sample writes about alternative forms of assessing students in the classroom. Perhaps ironically, his essay called “What’s Wrong With Writing Essays” deems the essay an obsolete form that does not function well in the capacity for which it has been widely accepted as a method: to train scholars in critical thinking. While I do think there is value in the essay as an avenue of assessment—there is something to be said for developing analytical skills through structured reasoning and the process of research—I also agree with Sample when he says that encouraging students to write more publicly (e.g. in the form of blogs) and/or to create more visual, auditory, or physical forms of manifesting their ideas can be equally as fulfilling, or even more insightful.

Sample’s student Sid Meier’s “Pirates Mapped in 3D”

In fact…

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