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Manifold is a digital book publishing platform that allows you to upload multiple texts and embed interactive media elements into texts. During Winter quarter, two instructors experimented with Manifold as a replacement for online discussion boards. Students in the courses used private reading groups to converse about a text using annotation. Private reading groups allow the students and instructor to converse about a text while keeping those conversations private and only viewable to those in the private reading group. Instructors can see all annotations from the private reading group dashboard and can jump to each student’s annotation for viewing.
In an informal poll, students reported intuitive ease of use (once privacy settings had been clearly explained) and greater connectedness to their colleagues' responses as being Manifold's strongest assets. The TA grading responses in both Canvas and Manifold reported a subjective increase in quality of student comments made on Manifold.”
“By commenting on passages of Inferno 26 students actively engaged with the text, and the fact that the public domain translation of Dante’s Divine Comedy was different from the one that we used in class lent itself to explore translation issues.”
Using Manifold in the classroom offers students the opportunity to create scholarship in new and exciting ways. As you think about teaching with Manifold, here are a few things to keep in mind:
As you bring any digital tool into the classroom, always consider UCLA’s Student Collaborators Bill of Rights, “8. When digital humanities projects are required for course credit, instructors should recognize that students may have good reasons not to engage in public-facing scholarship, or may not want their names made public, and should offer students the option of alternative assignments.” Consider offering students an alternative to digitally facing public work. Matthew Kirschenbaum offers an example of this in his ENGL 759C BookLab syllabus. For more guidance on working openly with students, see UWB's Open Student Work guide.
Consider how public you want your course to be. You can set your course text to "Draft mode" rather than public mode to hide the text from the public. Consider student privacy when connecting projects to social media.
Make sure you are abiding by Copyright and Fair Use Guidelines with materials added to your Manifold project. Check out the Introduction to Fair Use and our Copyright Guidelines for more information, as well as this guide to finding Open Resources. Any requests asking the Libraries to remove materials from your site due to copyright violation or exposure of protected information will result in the Libraries notifying the project owners and placing the project in draft mode until the issues have been resolved.
Take responsibility for making your project accessible. You can find more comprehensive instructions for evaluating and improving your project’s accessibility in this UW-created Manifold Accessibility Guide (which is also a Manifold project itself!)