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.
Gitre received the award for his development of a history course, HIST 3544, World War II: A Global History.
The course examines the Second World War not only by analyzing military tactics, but also through its effect on people’s ideas and values in terms of ethnicity, nationalism, citizenship, gender, death, and health. Gitre aims to enhance student understanding of the war while allowing for the growth of their humanity-based research skills as well.
Gitre weaves digital literacy into the class through a series of workshops in which students are given hands-on instruction in the use of digital history. Each student contributes to the digital history project The American Soldier, in which they digitize, transcribe, and tag handwritten survey responses of World War II soldiers.
The curriculum emphasizes Gitre’s aim for students to contribute to meaningful public work while learning through the hands-on use of software and new technology.
In a reflection on The American Soldier project, one student wrote, “While the documents did not contain any accounts of events or stories of bravery in combat, they provided us with details and a deeper contextual view of the soldier’s life. That’s what history is all about, and I had not really done anything quite like it in my prior four years as a student here.”
Gitre is in the process of publishing “One Nation, Under Adjustment: How World War II Subverted American Individualism,” a book exploring World War II soldier-to-veteran readjustment.