The HSSA's Work on Technology in Teaching and Research

Advances in technology have long been changing the way scholars work in terms of teaching, research, and administrative duties. A famous example is the appearance and then widespread distribution of printing. Another one, seemingly more mundane but a fixture nonetheless, is the blackboard, which was introduced into the US from Europe at the beginning of the 19th century.

The institutions of higher education that house many of these scholars have grown extraordinarily since the creation of the first modern university in Bologna, Italy, in 1088. While their nature has developed greatly, there is the very distinct possibility --some say inevitability-- that changes in the next few decades will be more profound than those of the last several centuries combined.

Whatever the case will turn out to be, UC Berkeley is at the forefront of the technological and pedagogical innovations underpinning current changes, both in terms of developing and adopting them. The HSSA is well-aware that tomorrow’s scholars will work in a different world than that of today, and so is taking concrete steps to offer its members opportunities to learn about supplemental and transformative uses of technology as relevant in particular to teaching and research in the humanities and social sciences.

It is within this context that HSSA’s first event was dedicated to Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). On November 13, 2013, we were privileged to be joined by Armando Fox, distinguished professor at UC Berkeley’s Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences and academic director of Berkeley’s MOOCLab.

We are delighted to announce that on April 23, 2014, 3:30pm-5pm in the International House’s Sproul Room, the HSSA will host talks on transformative uses of technology for research in the humanities and social sciences by Cathryn Carson, Associate Dean of Social Sciences here at Berkeley and interim director of D-Lab; Zephyr Frank, Associate Professor of History at Stanford University, where he is also director of the Spatial History Project; and Kurt Keutzer, renowned professor at Berkeley’s Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences and an authority on South Asian and Tibetan religious thought.

For inquiries or suggestions related to the HSSA's work on technology, contact me at

Looking forward to seeing you at our future events,

Alberto Todeschini

Internet, Technology, and Online Education Officer of the Humanities and Social Sciences Association