Digital Humanities MOOC?

Growing numbers of digital humanists don’t have access to digital humanities centers.  While they may get energized at a THATCamp, it’s hard to sustain that energy back on the home campus.  The vibrant online digital humanities community helps by keeping us connected via social media as seen in Digital Humanities Now.  I’m interested in exploring a more organized form of digital humanities development.

What would a digital humanities MOOC look like?  A MOOC is a massively open online course, where course materials and interaction take place online.  MOOCs thrive on networked learning; those participants  who learn collaboratively by networking around the material get much more out of such a course than those who take it in a silo.  Since the digital humanities community already has a strong ethos of online interaction, it seems ripe for participation in a MOOC.  Granted, such a course might not be truly massive like Sebastian Thrum’s course with 90,000 signed up, but I think we could get enough critical mass to generate some good discussion and interaction.  I imagine a target audience of faculty, grad students, advanced undergrads, librarians, technologists, museum professionals, and anyone else who is interested.

So, let’s get together and plan a MOOC.  Seriously.  My colleagues and I at NITLE plan to pilot this idea in the last two weeks of July.  This is your chance to request your choice of topics.

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Digital Humanities Open Textbook

More and more faculty are offering Introduction to Digital Humanities courses.  What would a textbook look like for such a course?  What about an open intro to DH resource/textbook that would let you mix and match (or as Jeff McClurken suggested at THATCamp Kansas) even let your students decide where to focus in a given course.  What would you like to see in such a resource?

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Intermediate Digital Humanities Professional Development

There are a growing number of resources and opportunities available to introduce academics to the digital humanities.  My colleague, Lisa Spiro has written an excellent piece for newcomers, “Getting Started in Digital Humanities“, which was selected for publication in the new Journal of Digital Humanities.  NITLE offers digital scholarship seminars which are intended to raise awareness of digital humanities at and for small liberal arts colleges.  THATCamps are another great option for plugging into this community.  DHCommons hosted a Getting Started in Digital Humanities pre-conference workshop at the 2012 MLA conference and will do so again at MLA 2013. I’ve taught a number of introductory digital humanities workshops, as have many others.

But, what’s the next step?  What kind of intermediate digital humanities professional development opportunities are out there?  (DHSI leaps to mind.)  What else would you like to see?  How can we help new digital humanists take the next step?  At NITLE we are exploring some ideas for filling in gaps for the intermediate digital humanist, especially at small liberal arts colleges or other places that lack the support of a digital humanities center.  I’d appreciate any input you have on what that should be.  To give us something to do in the session, I’d also like to develop a survey that I can send out to all those who’ve done those introductory events, like the digital scholarship seminars, to get a clearer idea of needs.

Categories: Session Proposals | 3 Comments

Session ideas- ethical considerations

I’d like to spend some time thinking about the ethical considerations of asking students to use various online resources as part of the coursework.  By ethics, I mean two things:

1. Access– what hardware, software, and sites can we reasonably expect students to have and/or use?  (Are we leaving out students who don’t have as many resources?)

2. Creating an online persona (or adding to an existing persona)- should we be troubled by the ways in which services– for example, GoogleDocs– collect data in exchange for the free use of their services?  When I require students to sign on to these services, I want to make sure I’m not asking them to sign on to be tracked across all their web activity.

I’m eager to learn more about the best tools and practices that have been developed.

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Session Idea: Transform DH

A number of different groups and individuals have pointed out the ways in which DH, as a field, could do more to include women and people of color. Similarly, there have been calls to encourage more engagement with theories of intersectionality, feminisms, queer studies, and similar ethical and political positions.

While it can be hard to transform a field even as we try to gain footholds within LACs, it might be the case that we are in unique positions to help address these issues within the larger field. This session would be a forum for brainstorming ideas for action within LAC contexts.

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Session Idea: Bridging Digital Gaps

In light of the proposed topics regarding digital natives and digital aliens, I’m interested in a discussion about how to better engage students who don’t own devices (laptops/phones) or who aren’t comfortable with tools like Twitter or blogs into an interactive/digital classroom. When we bring digital and online tools into face-to-face (or even online) classes, what techniques can we use to create an inclusive classroom, especially when there is a large range of skills and technical backgrounds? How do we ensure we don’t alienate students who are not as tech-savvy or technically oriented, especially non-traditional students?

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[Session Idea] DH Swiss Army Knife: What’s in your tool kit?

Digital Humanities covers a wide breadth of disciplines, methodologies, and interests, but one thing all DHers seem to have in common is a set of digital tools, apps, and websites that help us in our work.  While we may have discovered these tools from reading about them on sites like Lifehacker or Profhacker or by trolling the Internet on our own search, I suspect we mostly learn about them through conversation with colleagues.  What if we could speed up the serendipity by having a tool kit exchange where we share some of our technology tools for doing our work?

Categories we might consider include:

  • If you were stranded on a desert island, what two or three tools would you most want with you?  What can you absolutely not do without?
  • What are your favorite tools for pedagogy and to engage students?  Why do you like them?
  • What do you use for your own research?
  • Do you have a favorite repository site for images, digital texts, maps, etc.?
  • What do you wish someone would develop?

Here’s the catch:  the tools must be free.

We could have a lightning exchange where we share the tools, how we’ve used them, and why we like them. In the tradition of “open mike” time, we could have a laptop connected to a projector (if the room allows) and let anyone step up to the computer and show the site, subject to a 5 minute limit.

It would be a quick and fun way to learn if there are a standard set of utilities that form the core of our collective tool kit and well as to discover that new tool we might have been looking for all along but didn’t know existed.

Categories: Digital Literacy, Proceedings of THATCamp, Session Proposals | 1 Comment

Session Ideas Ideas

A friend or two has asked me for advice on session ideas for THATCamp, and since I’m running a workshop at THATCampLAC I figured I’d post my response in lieu of an actual session proposal:

My advice is to take a look at the camper page and drill into the camper profiles.  It’s a really diverse group of people, from all levels of degrees, all kinds of fields, institutions, and backgrounds.  If you look at enough profiles, you’ll probably discover one or two people  who you’d like to have a conversation with.  Propose that conversation idea — even if there are only two people in the list you think it’d appeal to, I think more will come out of the woodwork once the session idea is up.  And if they don’t, that’s fine — some proposals don’t “make”, and many of them are merged with other proposals into the same session.

There will be about twenty different sessions at this THATCamp.  Most of those sessions will be fairly free-ranging conversations in which the session proposer just kind of acts as a moderator/facilitator.  (At the last THATCamp I went to, in one session people passed a whiteboard eraser around to talk, just like the conch shell in _Lord of the Flies_).  So you don’t have to stand up and talk for 75 minutes (with the exception of workshops, but those are already set).  It’s okay to propose a panel on a subject you’d like to learn but don’t know much about — so long as there are some experts around, quizzing them can be a very effective session, and you may be able to figure out people’s expertise based on their bios.

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Session Idea: Natives Without Literacy

The flip-side to the Digital Aliens? session… Our students are digital natives, but not consciously aware of how to learn from, leverage or be critical of the technology they’ve grown up with. Often they perceive only the social and entertainment value of the web, mobile devices and digital services. What techniques can we use to engage students in a meaningful dialogue about the power and pitfalls of technology?

Categories: Digital Literacy, Session Proposals, Teaching | 1 Comment

Session Idea: SoMoLo + Gamification

SoMoLo — social, mobile, local — is all the rage for tech startups trying to integrate the power of social networking, the mobility of our devices and the locales in our daily lives. In addition, the idea of gamification — infusing game mechanics into reality — seems to be present in many different contemporary contexts. What is the crossover into the humanities classroom? In this discussion, we can share ideas about mobile and/or gaming projects and the benefits to student engagement as a practical follow-up to the ARIS Video Games workshop.

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