I personally believe that Humanities students should learn how to code. As the world continues to evolve, so does our education. In academia, particularly interdisciplinary studies, I feel as if it’s almost necessary to be knowledgeable in multiple areas of art and science. Learning to code is doing just that, because it helps people understand the basics of computer science discourse. That being said, when I say “learn to code”, I don’t mean a person has to be able to create some advanced application that can do a bunch of different things, but I do think that understanding how an IDE works, how to manipulate strings, and how to make this:
<!DOCTYPE html> <html> <head> <meta charset="utf-8"> <meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width"> Hello World </head> <body> </body> </html>
would be very beneficial.
One part of Kirschenbaum’s article that I agree with is the “snowball” allegory. When it comes to coding, it’s not something as simple as “put snow together in your hand, then you have a snowball”, it also requires even smaller details that you don’t even consider, like what it means to have “possession” or “nonpossession” of the snow itself. It reminded me of my earlier experiences with coding here at Carleton. For our final project in “Intro to Computer Science”, we had to create a video game, and I chose pong. There were so many moving parts that I didn’t even consider when I began, like the ball moving across the screen, and what happens when a player scores a point or their paddle hits. That assignment pushed me to think about the rest of my CS assignments differently. I also applied this way of thinking to my written assignment for non-S.T.E.M classes and tried to consider a more methodical approach in my writing. I believe that this thought process of blending S.T.E.M and Humanities helps everyone.
I like your emphasis with “learning to code” on simply being literate with technology rather than becoming a fully-fledged expert. Much of the debate around whether everyone should learn to code or not often becomes a semantic argument of what it means to “know how to code”. Your post does a good job of defining your stance clearly and it’s one I resonate with.