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Center for Teaching Excellence

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Announcing Winners of Digital Humanities Course Development Stipends for 2015-2016

Co-sponsored by the Center for Digital Humanities (CDH) and the Center for Teaching Excellence (CTE), the Digital Humanities Course Development Stipends support faculty members who wish to enhance an existing humanities course by incorporating innovative digital tools or projects. Awardees receive a stipend as well as pedagogical and technical course development support. We are pleased to announce that Lydia Brandt (Assistant Professor of Art History) and Mark Garrett Cooper (Professor of Film and Media Studies) are the recipients of the inaugural year stipends awarded for 2015-2016.

The goal of Brandt’s project is to establish a new approach to teaching art history. Traditionally, art history educators have evaluated students’ knowledge through slide comparisons and memorization-based exams. Brandt plans to replace these techniques in her ARTH 340: American Art and Architecture to 1812 course with a series of alternative digital assignments, in which students will select artworks studied in class to create a three-dimensional digital gallery. These assignments, she predicts, will foster critical thinking about course concepts and provide students with a more engaging means of contextualizing works of art.

Cooper will use the stipend to incorporate new digital tools and methods into FAMS 300: Film and Media History. This course introduces students to major events, actors, and issues in the history of media while helping them to develop basic research and interpretive skills that media historians use in their work. Cooper’s project focuses on three major course assignments. In the first, students will use primary sources to develop online histories of movie-going in Columbia from 1907-1919. In the second, they will use data visualization tools to analyze media coverage of celebrities. In the third assignment, students will use open source courseware to compare 1950s television programming in Columbia and New York.   Learning how to use these tools and methods, Cooper believes, will be essential for the next generation of media historians. You may view this work in progress at Columbia Screens.

CDH and CTE will be sponsoring a new round of stipends for 2016-2017. Check the CTE’s Grants page in early March for the call for applications and further details. Or email us at

About the Award Winners

Lydia Brandt is Assistant Professor of Art History at the School of Visual Art and Design. She has taught art and architectural history and the methods and theory of historic preservation at the University of South Carolina since 2011. She earned degrees from New York University and the University of Virginia.

Brandt specializes in popular American architecture of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, with a particular focus on the ubiquitous Colonial Revival. Her work questions the ways in which places shape, reflect and respond to politics, memory and society. Brandt is also an active advocate for preservation in South Carolina. In her classes, she pulls from local resources, e.g. buildings on the USC campus and in the Columbia area, art and decorative arts in nearby museums, and on-going historic preservation projects in South Carolina.

Mark Garrett Cooper is a Professor in the Film and Media Studies Program. He investigates the history of media institutions. Those investigation have led him to publish two books on early Hollywood and to current research, with co-author John Marx, revealing the career of the American university as a media institution. They are currently completing a book, tentatively entitled “Mass Media U,” and maintain a blog based on their research at

Another book in progress, “Accounting for Motion Pictures,” describes film and television history from the point of view of its accounting practices. Cooper is also involved in collaborative projects to bridge disciplines, institutions, and communities by means of digital tools and archival media.

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