Installation 2 | Digital Histories: The Changing Relationships of Rutgers to Digital Technologies, Mediums, and Practices | May 2023
This online exhibition, completed in May 2023, marks the second installation in the series that was inaugurated in 2018. Professor Urban pledges to try and teach classes where students can continue to revisit Rutgers’ relationships to technology at five year intervals – in 2028, 2033, and 2038 – before he retires. Inspiration for this project stemmed from Professor Urban’s conversations with students and colleagues in digital humanities and history courses, and at events organized by the Rutgers Digital Humanities Initiative, which frequently turned to how university life – as a social, cultural, bureaucratic, labor, and educational experience – was continually being transformed by the introduction of new technologies and systems.
It is no exaggeration to say that the five years between 2018 and 2023 were seismic in respect to how they shifted Rutgers’ students, faculty, and staff’s relationships to technology. When Rutgers moved to online instruction and remote work in response to Covid-19 in March 2020, it ushered in a new world of Zoom meetings and office hours; asynchronous classes; and, on an individual basis, retreat into online and virtual realms of shopping, socialization, and engagement with culture, when doing so in person proved dangerous. April 2023 saw workers at Rutgers go out on strike, with backlash against software that management has imposed upon administrators, faculty, and ultimately students – such as Cornerstone finances and Course Atlas scheduling – playing major factors leading up to the work stoppage. At Rutgers and in society, concerns and anxieties about AI technologies, and their role in scholarship, knowledge, and learning, seem to show no sign of abating.
As part of a more general trend, students, faculty, and staff at Rutgers have continued to grapple with technology that the university claims will make their educational and working lives more efficient, productive, and – maybe most optimistically – fulfilling. As a digital history project specifically concerned with the past, this project suggests that the reality of what takes place moving forward will be far more complicated and nuanced. With that in mind, we hope you learn from this project and that it inspires you to pose your own questions about what technology means to Rutgers.
The Table of Contents below directs you to the different sections of the site that the five groups curated.
Questions? Email Andy Urban at aturban [AT] rutgers.edu.
Table of Contents
- Course Syllabus
- The Social Life of Buses: Rutgers Buses, Students, Social Media, and Digital History
- Analog to Digital: RU Classrooms
- Who RU Accommodating? Digital and Technological Accessibility at Rutgers
- 250 Years of Memes: A History of Rutgers Humor
- RU Registered? Scheduling at Rutgers University