Ashley Reed, an assistant professor in the Department of English in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, has received the university’s 2018 XCaliber Award.

Established in 1996 by the Office of the Provost, the XCaliber Award is presented annually by Technology-enhanced Learning and Online Strategies to recognize individual faculty members or teams of faculty and staff who integrate technology in teaching and learning. The award celebrates innovative, student-centered approaches.

Reed received the award for her English capstone course, “Scrapbooks and Nineteenth-Century American Poetry,” and the associated project, the Virginia Lucas Poetry Scrapbook.

The course offers an in-depth study of 19th-century American poetry, including its circulation in the United States in manuscript and print form and its treatment by literary scholars in later centuries. Reed presents technology as a continuing force in American history rather than a recent development, and she encourages students to foster a vigilant yet flexible attitude toward technological change.

As part of the course, students are required to build an online edition of the Virginia Lucas Poetry Scrapbook, a manuscript collection of 19th-century poetry created by a resident of Jefferson County, Virginia, in the years before and during the Civil War. The students present the online edition and their research projects at a public symposium to end the semester.

In a reflection of the Virginia Lucas Poetry Scrapbook, one student wrote, “Not only did the senior seminar with Dr. Reed challenge me to transcribe and analyze 19th-century poetry, it also provided me with experience in web development, giving voice to 1800s media through 21st-century technology. Working on a team to give the poetry scrapbook a more evergreen, digital life was an engaging process, and I felt as though I was gaining professional team and technology experience alongside honing my own research skills.”

By the conclusion of the course, students have experience with digital project design and enhanced skills in oral and written communication, peer-to-peer collaboration, project management, and event coordination.

Written by Lindsey Grooms, a public relations major and member of the Class of 2019