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Thursday, May 12 • 1:15pm - 1:30pm
Literature and Social Online Learning: An Interdisciplinary, Project-Based Undergraduate Course at Stanford University

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This talk discusses the conceptual framework, learning goals and outcomes of an innovative undergraduate class my husband Sebastian Thrun (Computer Science) and I (Comparative Literature) taught at Stanford University in the Fall of 2014. Designed as a project-based course with truly interdisciplinary student teams and professor team, the class challenged the students to innovate the ways in which literature and serious literary study could be shared and enhanced for a broader reading public using the internet and social media. Through design thinking, rapid iteration, and built-in interdisciplinary challenges, the student teams developed and launched six separate projects in a mere 10 weeks: (new apps, websites, new social media platforms ranging from collaborative fan fiction to new comparative literary translations, music tracks to accompany books, a philosophy app based on Tinder, satirical literary quizzes, virtual reality environments for poems, and a curated social reading list app enhancing the Goodreads platform. The class was part of a new joint major program at Stanford University, called "CS+X" (with CS standing for Computer Science, and X for various humanities departments that have signed on). By bringing together "techies" and "fuzzies" who do not usually take classes together or work on projects together as a team, this class achieved different things than a typical interdisciplinary program or major would: it enabled a direct conversation between, and more importantly, a true grappling with, the differences in mindset and approach that characterize Computer Science and literary study, respectively. When the maker spirit and the spirit of reflection meet each other and occasionally clash, new thinking can emerge that neither discipline alone would be able to produce, expanding what it can mean to teach an interdisciplinary class, including unexpected challenges and joys. 


Thursday May 12, 2016 1:15pm - 1:30pm
COOR 186 975 S Myrtle Ave Arizona State University Tempe, AZ 85281
  • Session Location COOR 186

Attendees (23)