For one of my two language requirements, I completed an exam in the computational language of PHP.
The purpose of this, in part, was to learn more about server management and the manipulation of the aesthetic and functional features of WordPress templates so that I might give myself some experience in managing a WordPress installation, just in case I’m ever working in a context that doesn’t already have one set up for teachers and students to use.
Additionally, over the last few years working as a Hybrid Coordinator at Baruch and as a result of reading for my orals exam, I’ve learned a lot about critical educational technology from the scholarship of people like Audrey Watters (web link), Sean Michael Morris (web link and presentation), Lisa Nakamura (web link), Carmen Kynard (journal database link), Mary Lynn Chambers (link to article abstract), Jesse Stommel (web link), Elizabeth Losh (link to book description), the FemTechNet community (web link), and several others.
So, part of the objective of completing this exam was also to gain an opportunity to foster my own critical transliteracy consciousness and to build a skill that I could one day teach to others.
I wrote about this process here, in a viewable Google Doc. I’m putting this on my site because I think that this was an enormously useful process, and I hope to encourage other PhD students in the humanities to consider gaining some basic fluency in a computational language in order to satisfy or partially satisfy a language requirement. I learned a lot, even though the end result looks pretty basic .
I also benefited greatly from looking at the model that Erin Glass shared with me of her own rationale for learning Java Script. Here’s Erin’s website. Thanks Erin!