CFP: GSA 2020 Seminar, “Steal This Assignment! Hack Your German Studies Course with the GSA Teaching MakerSpace” (Sponsored by the Teaching Network)

Heather Perry's picture
Call for Papers
January 27, 2020
District Of Columbia, United States
Subject Fields: 
Cultural History / Studies, Digital Humanities, German History / Studies, Holocaust, Genocide, and Memory Studies, Teaching and Learning

We invite applications for the GSA conference seminar: “Steal This Assignment!  Hack Your German Studies Course with the GSA Teaching MakerSpace” (sponsored by the Teaching Network) at the 44th German Studies Association (GSA) Conference in Washington DC, 1-4 October 2020.



Andrew Evans, SUNY New Paltz,

Heather Perry, University of North Carolina Charlotte,


This seminar will provide directed guidance, dedicated time, and workshop space for instructors of German history, culture, and language to revise and/or create innovative teaching and learning assignments. Designed around the increasingly popular THATCamp and MakerSpace formats, this seminar will help teachers develop new course assignments that combine the disciplinary rigor and thematic expertise of German language, culture, and history studies with the active-learning student engagement of the Digital Humanities.


Seminar Details: 

Day 1 introduces participants to three distinct assignment formats:  (a) — an online collaborative reading, translation, and analysis program using social annotation and digitized texts (facilitated by Claudia Lynn and Sibel Sayili-Hurley); (b) Clio – a digital mapping project which uses GIS and student-drafted content to create online visual cultural and historical tours for the general public (facilitated by Chris Fojtik); and (c) “Avatar Projects”— course-specific learning simulations which require students to develop and role play characters through active historical research and analysis (facilitated by Heather Perry and Andrew Evans). On Days 2 and 3 participants divide into sub-groups and work in real time with seminar facilitators to develop and organize assignments specific to their courses. Like other THATCamp and MakerSpace events, this seminar will follow the “unconference” format in that it will be focused on collaboration — not passive spectatorship; it will include spontaneity – meaning that participants can set – and even switch up — their assignment-hacking goals on Days 2 & 3; it’s productive – meaning that participants use the seminar time on Days 2 & 3 to create, build, and hack teaching ideas in order to resolve real-life teaching challenges; it’s non-hierarchical – meaning that everyone is welcome; and it’s cooperative – meaning that participants share resources and ideas (rather than guard them as proprietary).


Once accepted into the seminar, all participants will submit a participation package in July 2020 which includes 1) their current syllabus, 2) a 500-word statement that explains why they want to change their course and which specific learning objectives (SLO’s) they want to hack with new assignments, and 3) a bibliography or list of course readings, films, songs, or other materials which participants have identified as suitable for helping the student meet the content goal of the assignment/course. Day 1: facilitators introduce active-learning assignments and formats. Day 2 and 3: three 60-minute rounds of working groups, following by a final debriefing.  Participants can choose any workshop in each of the 3 rounds – meaning that they can ‘dive deep’ into one assignment format and spend all 3 Rounds in the same Working Group; or, they can sample all assignment formats and choose a different Working Group in each Round. In order to reach the goal of extended discussion, seminar organizers and participants are required to participate in all three installments of the seminar. 


Seminar Applications: 

To apply for the seminar, please submit a 500-word abstract describing 1) the reasons for your interest and 2) a brief CV via the GSA Portal ( by 27 January 2020. Accepted participants will be notified by February 3, 2020. Contact Andy Evans ( and Heather Perry ( with any questions.

Contact Info: 

Andrew Evans, SUNY New Paltz,

Heather Perry, University of North Carolina Charlotte,

Contact Email: