Tools for Teaching in the Humanities

by Victoria Machado

In the summer of 2020, as we all entered varying levels of quarantine, I embarked on a week-long virtual residency focused entirely on teaching. The event, “Passionate Teaching in a Research Environment: How to Create Meaningful Online Learning Experiences” was my first introduction to the National Humanities Center (NHC), “a free standing national resource devoted to advancing significant humanistic study and reflection and to making those insights available both inside and outside the academic world.” I had previous experience with campus and statewide humanities centers, but I had yet to see the impact of humanities-based work on a national scale. Even in the middle of a pandemic, the residency was a success, connecting me with scholars and educators from around the country and most of all, exposing me to national efforts to expand humanities-based learning and pedagogy.

This work led me to apply for a position on the NHC’s 2022-2023 Teacher Advisory Council, which I was awarded this past summer. As a Teacher Advisory Council member, I will join 19 other educators from around the country to actively develop, evaluate, and promote the National Humanities Center’s educational materials and projects. NHC’s programs are intended for a range of educators— K-12 in addition to college and graduate levels. They offer everything from webinars and courses to workshops and institutes. They even have a Digital Library, an open source sandbox that offers a range of subject matter, topics, and teaching materials free of charge. Above all, NHC hopes that by utilizing these resources we can further bring together academia and the classroom, in an effort to invigorate the humanities in a range of ways for a variety of learners.

Much of this is no news to Rollins, an institution that continues to diligently uphold the liberal arts, but I did want to take a moment to share with you a handful of engaging resources that you may consider using for your own knowledge basis, in your classrooms or sharing with others:

  • Humanities in Class Webinars: “live, interactive webinars connect educators with scholars and experts in humanities fields to discuss compelling topics. Webinars are free of charge but require registration.”
  • Humanities in Class Online Courses: “the National Humanities Center collaborates with partners, scholars, and subject matter experts to provide virtual courses that allow educators to explore a relevant topic in a collegial, self-paced environment.”
  • Humanities in Class Digital Library: “access to the best instructional resources and scholarly materials in support of humanities education. Resources are tagged by subject matter, topics and material type, making it easy to discover and combine content you need from institutions you trust.”

Victoria Machado is a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Environmental Studies Department at Rollins College and also serves on NHC’s 2022-2023 Teacher Advisory Council.

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