5.0195 Humanities Computing (1/26)

Elaine Brennan & Allen Renear (EDITORS@BROWNVM.BITNET)
Wed, 26 Jun 91 21:57:02 EDT

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 5, No. 0195. Wednesday, 26 Jun 1991.

Date: Tue, 25 Jun 91 14:23:00 PDT
From: cbf@athena.berkeley.edu (Charles Faulhaber)
Subject: Re: 5.0187 Computing: CAI Expenses

With respect to the argument that no one cares when the sciences move
to CAI, but complain about the price for humanities:

If the humanities followed the model that the sciences did in their use
of instructional computing, the cases would be comparable. In fact what
happened in the sciences was that computing became indispensable to
research and then was "downsized," first to graduate student instruction,
then to undergraduate instruction. Nothing like that has happened in
the humanities. While word processing has become universal, humanities
research computing remains a fairly small and arcane specialty, quite
far removed from the concerns of most humanists, or at least of most
students of literature.

Since it has never become a major factor in humanists' intellectual life,
there is no pressing reason to introduce it to students. Therefore,the
question of CAI becomes one of sheer practicality, not necessity. Does
it help the student to learn better, however you want to define better?
In terms of language instruction, there are fairly precise guidelines as
to what constitutes proficiency. I would like to see some comparative
studies. Until we have them, it is very difficult to convince the deans
to invest the money.

Charles Faulhaber
UC Berkeley