NY Immigrant City research cluster embraces the digital storytelling as a critical frontier in humanities pedagogy. Students are invited to present traditional research in innovative and creative ways. The intention is to give students independent, team-based research experience. Taking cue from the physical and biological sciences, in which research teams work toward answering a common question, NY Immigrant City creates opportunities for students to work in unconventional settings and to develops skills less commonly taught in conventional classrooms. More importantly, the students draw upon their experiences as digital natives to curate and express their research findings.

Students work in a fluid, yet hands on environment. The students subdivide into smaller teams and meet regularly with Professors Lee and Ludden for progress updates. They also keep track of their work in digital notebooks and share and gather materials using digital collaboration platforms. Professors Lee and Ludden organized special workshops tailored to student group interests, from interviewing skills, the basics of podcasting, to using digital mapping tools. Sessions were scheduled based on demand and interest.

A key goal of the research cluster is for students to learn collaboration and peer-on-peer mentorship. Students enroll with the intention of staying involved three semesters. Seasoned students train and guide newer students in navigating their piece in the group project.