Teaching Text Encoding, and Testing TAPAS, in an English Graduate Course

Grant program: Teaching and Learning Development Grant (TLDG)

Grant recipient: Michelle Levy, Department of English

Project team: Ashley Morford, Alex Petryszak, Lindsey Seatter, Emily Seitz, and Kandice Sharren, research assistants

Timeframe: December 2015 to December 2016

Funding: $4,562

Course addressed: ENGL 832 – Studies in Eighteenth-Century Literature (Spring 2016)

Final report: View Michelle Levy's final report (PDF)

Description: In 2014-5, I held a Teaching and Learning Development Grant to investigate existing digital publication tools and to design a new one to teach students how to use the Text-Encoding Initiative markup language (TEI-XML). (View Michelle Levy’s previous TLDG project here >>). However, based on my initial assessment, I felt that the barriers to teaching text markup language were too high, particularly for undergraduate students who already struggle with some elements of basic digital literacy. As a result, I taught students how to use/adapt WordPress for their digital projects.

Recently, a tool called TAPAS has been developed to make TEI-XML more accessible. This spring, I am teaching a graduate course which will offer an ideal opportunity to both teach text encoding and test TAPAS. A graduate-level course will allow me to explore the benefits of teaching encoding skills to this more advanced set of students.

Questions addressed:

  • How valuable is teaching TEI-XML to graduate students in terms of enhanced learning outcomes?
  • How valuable is teaching TEI-XML from the perspective of the students?
  • In comparison to WordPress, does TEI-XML provide (a) better understanding of literary texts; (b) enhanced opportunities for textual analysis; (c) improved final projects?
  • How effective is TAPAS in storing, sharing, and publishing TEI-XML data?
  • Is TAPAS an appropriate tool for students to use in their projects?
  • Would teaching TEI-XML be possible/valuable at the undergraduate level?
  • Are there extended benefits to students of learning TEI-XML and using TAPAS beyond the specific course?

Knowledge sharing: I am actively involved (and co-founded) the SFU-UBC Digital Salon. I will encourage students to present their projects at this venue, and at other local events (like the annual student conference organized by English graduate students and DHSI, the Digital Humanities Summer Institute held in Victoria each June).

Levy M. (2016, August). Usefulness of teaching Lyrical Ballads with the online edition. Presentation at the North American Society of the Study of Romanticism Conference, California, CA. 

Keywords: text encoding; English language; graduate course