Digital Archives notes?

Were there any notes from the Digital Archives session?

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Ontological Crises notes

THATCamp – ontological crisis


Music software – music educators not always clear on some issues – although composers have been digital for decades – notation accompanied by playback to hear what you’re writing, but product is a score –

Digital music software organized according to what you’re trying to do: programs are complicated and very expensive (up to $1K)

Students come into college having composed since 2nd or 3rd grade – have started with pen and paper, then get a simple composition tool – now, students have been using iLife with Garage Band for back score (a la nine inch nails) – Garage Band built for copy/paste loops, not single notes into sound file, not score

SO – pedagogically, have students who want to “major” in Garage Band (ie electronic music, broadly) rather than learning process and product for single note composition culminating in a score

Similarly – students using “cite this” feature without understanding variations in citation styles – don’t understand components of a citation, for example, so can’t modify or (when necessary) generate manually

Worry re how pushing students toward more sophisticated, specialized understanding (“pushing against student misconception”) affects student evaluations – note a general societal trend toward minimizing credence of “expert” in field (eg PhD), especially in academia

TIP: extra credit for going into Wikipedia and adding citations to the entry for their topic

Need to help students see why we’re asking them to do certain assignments, learn certain skills – another role for transparency  – look at the purpose or meaning for certain requirements

Helping students see the benefit of knowing why/what’s going on with a process – the advantages when the technology progresses, for example, and you’re able to see what’s going on

It used to be we had to find the material (shlepping to library and using card catalog!) rather than expecting that the material will find us – a consumer mentality?

Market-driven curriculum and orientation to product lead to some students’ prioritizing the end result (product) over the process we want them to complete that is reflected in the product

Need to broaden discussions with students about why something matters, is important, has practical significance – looking at whole curriculum, not just our class –

Useful to bring other faculty into class to model discussion, disagreement

J Z Smith on using syllabus on first day to demo/discuss choices that have been made, the differences those choices make – including in evals follow-up questions on how those choices panned out!

Could a department have their students participate in a curriculum design exercise? HWS had graduating womens studies majors come to lovely lunch and talk about the curriculum, including responses to curricula from other programs – resources from other programs came from student project (funded) during semester to review other programs and gather info

Need to start out with (1) assessing where students are/what they’re thinking and (2) lay out the big picture for them from the beginning

A “main responsibility” is making clear – not just in abstract platitudes – the value and stakes of a liberal arts education

**notes taken by Sally Stamper

**music composed during session available at:


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Gamification: taking principles of game design and applying it to other activities and professions to make them more engaging/bearable/fun.

There is controversy and conflict about the topic and how it relates to students.  The Escapist’s “Extra Credits” video on the topic was used as an introduction (link for Video Essay )

Software for Digital Humanities using game design principle.  Game created by Michelle created level badges that equated to badge to grade.  Her game requires players/students to interact with each other via social media where they play roles of prominent characters and interact in character.  Scored based on liked and disliked posts.

This sounds like an actual game, rather than a limited use of “gamified” techniques

Might introducing game principles take focus away from other pedagogical objectives? Shawn Doyle raised concerns about the time needed to test and create games, rather than using their principles and ideas.

    • It is important that gamification doesn’t just provide a way to “game the system” (in which the game structure does not sync/fit with existing course goals
  • What happens when our students start hacking the game?
    • When there are no additional incentives, then the game is the only thing
    • Cheating is always a problem when students don’t see the value of the course content itself
  • What about examples of gamification in the humanities?
    • Working with gifted high school students, one approach is to give them “missions” that are focused on principles of positive psychology, as opposed to providing ways to “game the system.”  Also, this is not the core mechanic of the course; it is one element among several.
    • A Media Studies/Theatre team-taught course used several of these kinds of principles (drawing on Lee Sheldon’s course designs), and while some elements seemed to work well and engage some students well, others were either actively detrimental to learning or inconclusive.  More trials need to be conducted and reviewed.
    • Jane McGonigal has some examples in her book, Reality is Broken.
    • Katie Salen’s Quest to Learn pilot school in NYC
  • Thinking about student motivation, wanting to know “what my grade is” at any given moment is a powerful motivator. The “Bartel Test” is discussed; breaks MMORPG players into  social, achiever, explorer, and killer.  The test is used to explain why people play.  Could it help explain why students try or do not?
  • Gifted students often are hesitant to take on challenges where they might loose/fail.  Created missions to reinforce positives to provide motivation.
  • With teacher education, the feedback can be competency based, with the motivator pushing being that they know they’re preparing for a professional position after graduation.  Concerned, though, that if we make all the achievement focused on small gains, we might lose students’ attention and focus on the larger picture.  How do we balance those elements?
    • Making education a game changes what education is; removing the intrinsic value of why you’re participating in education removes something very important
    • Possible to create “levels” within content where passing/achieving a certain level or skill it opens up new levels, challenges, and skills.  They included a revision structure so students could revise and retry.
    • Concerns were expressed about grading and achievement solely based on XP points, game skills, and levels missing loses the personality and individuality.

    Gamification requires a carrot, lots of them for extrinsic motivation.  If this is used then there is never any intrinsic motivation.  We can miss the “why”  “why am I doing this?”

    • What about just doing work because it needs to be done?  Learning to work hard when you don’t want to?
      • A lot of games try to find ways to make meaning for drudgery.
        • Seinfeld’s calendar for work
        • 10,000 hours theory and The Dan Plan
      • McGonigal wants to imagine a world in which there is less drudgery
  • Games in education is not making education a game.  Where does the line between gameplay and work get drawn? Work ethic and stress do not need to go hand in hand.  Changing the meaning of work, changing goals is where games can help.
  • Instead of thinking about faculty making games, what about asking students to design their own games?
    • Global Kids
    • Geocaching: for many, it’s about the journey; for others, the outcome (racking up numbers)
    • Younger students (primary and secondary) are more likely to engage well with simple and/or black and white objectives in games than students in higher education
  • Have game design principles and game structures always been a part of education and learning?
  • It should be more about “what did I learn today?” than “what will get me the A?”
  • James Paul Gee’s 32 Principles
  • Game strategies are more than simple rewards and levels; practice, challenge, motivation, personalization all contribute to what make games engaging
  • Concluding texts
    • Gee’s interview for the New Learning Institute
    • Prof.hacker post on gamifying your course website
    • Ian Bogost’s critique of gamification
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“Finding one’s way” session notes

Topic introduction:

Amy comes as a humanist Political Scientist.  How can we talk with rank and tenure committees?  Also, having picked things up on her own, how does one build those skills?

Dick: My progress through tenure and promotion (while switching fields from math to CS years ago) was hampered by the time I invested in coming up to speed with technology, and helping others with those technologies.  None of that counted towards tenure.  Also, values in my field of CS were not well understood by my tenure and promotion committee.  How can we avoid this in the case of DH?


Jackie: We all bear the burden of educating our colleagues.  This places burden on individuals to make the work of DH legible.

___: As a new faculty member, what is our advice?  How can we explain, make relevant, especially when there’s almost a service element?

Erin:  Must be able to explain whatever one’s field is.  Being at a liberal arts college, there’s more freedom to explore.

Jackie:  Are there places where we can send deans and provosts to?

Sara:  Looking at Twitter as a form of citation.

Rebecca:  At AACU:  Those administrators need examples and models of tenure cases.  MLA has something, but not enough;  Nines working on it.

Dick:  A white paper from one or more professional societies would help.

John:  Has been on a tenure and promotion committee.  It is just accepted.  Ryan:  as an interviewee, was asked “where do you see your scholarship going in next five years?”  Scientist asked for “traditional forms of scholarship….”

Erin:  We need to be aware of it.

John:  Departmental statement was rewritten.

Amy:  Will have to work hard to make the case for her tenure and promotion, make the case clearly to a heterogeneous group.

Dick:  Explicit wording of a departmental statement of values for tenure and promotion that recognizes DH would be enough.

Rebecca:  Katherine Harris sent a tweet about expertise.

___:  Were there relevant comments in the “communicating with colleagues” section?

Mark:  No.

Jackie:  What about interdisciplinary collaborations?

Ryan:  Seeking collaboration with computer scientists;  Dick is seeking collaborators in Humanities.

Mark:  Needs to be incentives on both sides.  Same with mentoring (as came up in “communicating with colleagues” session).

Rebecca:  What about role of undergraduate research as an incentive?

Jackie:  Collaborations such as LAC-R1 or anything newsworthy, and can help to make a tenure/promotion case.

Ryan:  There are NYT articles about DH this year.  Sometimes easier to make the case for outsiders!

Rebecca:  Role of grant agencies.  Can you get credit from peer-reviewed grant.

John:  Peer review an issue. DH that is “just doing it” won’t count.

___: At a small college, what do resources look like, how do they get shared, and how does that go?

Erin:  Laptop… That’s it.  She is her own tech support, and her IT department doesn’t support her Mac.  Particularly interested in partnerships with research-intensive schools.

Jackie:  Are there opportunities for multiple LACs to collaborate on grants?  Can we band together?

Dick:  I’m looking for that.  Is there funding for LAC-LAC collaboration?

Rebecca:  Talking to people about this.  One model is trading expertise for expertise.  NITLE is interested, Mellon is interested.  Will have to collaborate in order to .

Dick:  Start-up grants need initiation by a humanist, and I’m a CS collaborator.

Jackie:  Need an innovation statement.

Rebecca:  Brett Bobley is interested in new models of pedagogy, as well as innovation in humanities and innovation in technology.  Talk to Jen or Brett.

Ryan:  Need to connect.  Join DHAnswers, which supports technical questions, with vetting.  On a similar model, DHCommons is for collaborating on projects. Some big projects might use that site to collaborate or disseminate.  Quinn put the site together, several others here are involved.

Dick:  This kind of collaboration needs some face-to-face time to get started.

Rebecca:  Needs the face-to-face, which will happen at MLA session.

Mark:  If have gifted undergraduates doing innovative work, where should they go for graduate school, where they can grow their enthusiasm?

Sara:  Can be a divide at an institution between old guard and newer faculty;  at her institution, younger faculty are gathering to band together over lunch.  Helps them to bring informed internal ideas to the table.

Dan:  Had a discussion among faculty including both older and younger faculty, and some of the older faculty asked how they could help.

Ryan:  This is how DH gained a foothold.  Some with traditional scholarship are endorsing.

Ryan:  At MLA, it was said doing DH requires twice as much work, since must do the traditional scholarship, too.

Erin:  Fortunately, at LAC, don’t need the book for tenure.

Dick: Get it in writing.

Ryan:  There are these advantages of being at a small college.

Erin:  Have more latitude to create new courses.

Dick: Quinn said the same.

Jackie:  How many people are on job market.

Dick:  I meant getting the tenure values in writing for the committee.

Ryan:  Getting tenure and promotion letters.

Dick:  A possible model:  Computer scientist and student collaborates with digital humanist and student

Rebecca:  Wheaton College Old English/CS/Stat project to find about authorship is an example.  Their college requires a collaborative linked courses project.

Jackie:  At MLA DH track, do you need to build things in order o be a DHer?  Other questions:  What is feasible? What is feasible at undergraduate level? What computational competencies do DHers need in order to collaborate?

Dan: At Occidental, a staff group consults with faculty on these technologies.

Dick:  This is related to the technology center idea that arose in the student panel.

Dan: Doing that at Occidental, with students who help support.


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The Social Classroom

What is the definition of social reading?:

Reading and analyzing texts collaboratively

  • possible tools: good reads, social tagging (i.e. flickr)
  • Ancient jewish concept of Midrash of collaboratively commenting on holy texts by scholars
  • Comment Press–WordPress plugin for collaboration, annotation, alternative to Google Docs, must be run on your own server, comment on specific blocks of text.
  • Why use Comment Press or like technologies? Connecting students to scholarship of analyzing particular portions of text, close reading, giving students ownership.
  • Assessing students’ reading ability. Requiring students to write in books, text, direct interaction with text. Example, students that aren’t allowed to write in text, never given opportunity to have meaningful interaction with text, on deeper level than surface story. Deeper level, at zone of proximal development. Important as instructor to start at students’ knowledge base.
  • Using social tools with students, do instructors lose control of class? In good or bad ways?
  • What would an assignment look like that involved collaborating on a single piece of text?
  • Example of collaboration via twitter: The Atlantic Book Club using #1book140
  • Tool: Diigo for collaborating, marking up digital artifacts.

Social Media in the Classroom

  • Facebook groups-interacting with Students, discussion board
  • Facebook pages connected with Twitter to display on WordPress
  • Historical Role playing using Facebook accounts, ex-students playing the roles of slaves, Nat Turner, evangelical preacher.
  • What makes a classroom social?
  • Technology as a second avenue for participation. Students have different preferred modalities. Some students uncomfortable with public speaking but more comfortable with writing.
  • Activity example, taking poems by Robert Burns and rephrase into tweets. How does that change the text? And force students to reflect…socially?
  • What does technology do to allow students to understand/reflect about the medium? How should students reflect on their social interactions in these kind of learning spaces?
  • Early adoption stage, how do we get early adopters to say this has value, there’s an obstacle, but once you get past this obstacle, you can assimilate it into your learning.Tech is spread by word of mouth, by faculty members adoption rather than workshops. Better to invite faculty, rather than push out onto faculty. Seeding technology.
  • Gathering questions via web form before class. Asking students: What is your top question?
  • Just in time teaching” related to using Google Docs or Google forms.
  • Using Google Docs to teach summarizing articles, vetting writing, what counts as a good summary? Opening up the classroom to students.
  • Letting go of control to students with social media, at what point do you need to turn it into a lesson of what are valid sources of knowledge? Value of stepping in when you need to. Teaching students how knowledge is constructed. How then are misconceptions constructed? Must be careful about teaching students public dialog.
  • Gerald Graft–Teaching the Conflict. Allowing students to have a voice.
  • Exercise experiment via Dave Carroll (@davidcaroll):
  • FB for faculty, friending students? wait until you don’t have a class or until grades are turned in. Check privacy settings. What does friend mean on FB? It’s a verb now.
  • Some schools have specific policies for social media, FB friending.
  • search engine for public updates on FB.
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Bootcamp 1 Session Notes: Integrating Digital Humanities Research Into the Classroom

Session notes are in this Google Document. Feel free to edit!

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“Engaging Colleagues” Session Notes


  • Using digital portfolios in a department whose chair is highly tech-phobic (refuses to use email, etc.).  How do you deal with a situation like that?
    • (Faculty engaging student with digital tools are primarily lecturers in the dept.)
    • Perhaps the tenured faculty could hold a meeting in which they openly identify the advantages/disadvantages of print and digital media
    • Her behavior is not rational, so trying to persuade her otherwise is unlikely
    • If your Dean is supportive, then he/she can put pressure on the dept. chair to make incremental changes
    • Bringing in recent grads who are working using digital tools to show the benefits of these tools
  • How do you encourage faculty who seem to be interested/intrigued by new digital tools, but also seem to be reticent to take the time to learn and then integrate them into their pedagogy?
    • (And some people think they know more than they do)
    • Is having someone on staff with broad familiarity of applicability of tools to higher ed pedagogy crucial/central to disseminating these tools and practices?
      • Jay ___: I am that here at St. Norbert’s.  Staff are much more likely to attend workshops than faculty.  How do I get them to come in?
        • Blake: took long time to feel like they were worth attending.
      • Mentoring new faculty could be a way to encourage attendance
        • There needs to be incentives on both sides for it to work, though
        • Cross-departmental mentoring helps new faculty see connections between disciplines
    • Why isn’t there a “help desk” for integration of digital tools into pedagogy?
  • In building inter-disciplinary minors organized around digital networked media, there is a huge coordination problem.  How do you balance resources, including hardware, software, and participants time?
    • Finding the right collaboration tool is probably important: meetings may not necessarily be the best way to get something like that going.
      • Email is also not the best; it must have a group collaboration component.
    • Does anyone use collaborative software within their department, perahps even in lieu of dept. meetings?
      • Sharepoint, though it’s a pain (and Microsoft empire).
      • Google Docs…
        • Working on such projects with colleagues crosses into territorial issues about authorship
        • There needs to be some kind of understanding about the appropriateness of such changes
        • It can be wonderful, in that your colleagues(s) are like little elves who come in to help you further your work, just when your energy is flagging
      • Facebook Groups’ new mechanic allows for friendships to develop more casually (can be closed, notifies you when new posts arrive)
    • What about a retreat during the summer to work out the logistics?
      • You might even be able to get day-rate funding from your institution as an incentive
      • Or perhaps a grant
      • (It seems like support community-building
  • How is hardware shared on different campuses?
    • Shared pool: priority-based; some campus groups have higher priority
      • better equipment, but sometimes less access
    • Library controlled: reservations are first-come, first served
      • limited number of devices (laptop, ipad)
    • Media Studies dept. controlled: single faculty member, loans made on casual basis
      • Easy to get access because single faculty member is open to it, but can be a drain on his time
  • Availability of IT resources can be very limited on some campuses.  Is anyone familiar with the WW3 network?
    • It’s an attempt to build a Web around scholarly tools only
  • One prominent issue often raised when institutions consider making significant changes is focusing on changing/updating the Humanities (as opposed to Sciences and Social Sciences).  How do we keep Humanities faculty from hearing that focus articulated as “in the future, you will all become Media Studies faculty”?
    • Strength in Numbers: early adopters participate in pilot testing, and then they become advocates of ways to use those tools and practices in pedagogy.
    • If you say, “everyone will need to know this,” it’s less effective than if you provide colleagues with assistance with ways to introduce change
    • Again, face to face gatherings help to build community
      • (like Final Cut Pro User Groups)
      • Allowing people to give a “like” or thumbs up by regularly posting about such gatherings to a blog or listserve seems to really help approval rates
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Multimedia Projects & Liberal Education Competencies

Kim Middleton kicked it off (was volunteered to kick it off) – what can we do to give students tools they can take with them; how can it be clear to students what it is we’re doing when we’re trying to develop skills. These are (at her school) college-wide goals for liberal learning. This is also an issue at Harvey Mudd. “Critical thinking” is ubiquitous but not always meaningful. Persuasive communication is also a vague phrase. What does that look like when it’s multimedia?

Broad institutional outcomes are not always on the front burner and can be hard to define (both politically and intellectually).

The value rubrics of AAC&U might be an approach as will Partnership for 21st Century Skills (k16) plus others that will be tweeted. (Media Scholarship?)

Defining terms – being forced to work in alternative formats can require people to stretch and uncover what they don’t know. Discomfort with the ambiguity of inquiry. Doing the research without yet knowing what the focus will be (using primary sources) can be really unsettling because you don’t know what to look for.  Another cause of hesitance is that when you don’t know how much time a new kind of task will take, which makes learners reluctant to take on those kinds of projects. “How do we scope inquiry?”

We need to recognize skills students do have in navigating contemporary sources. Have students use Diigo to share links that they can annotate and tag. (Students actually started using Library of Congress subject headings because having controlled taxonomy worked.) Can use the experiences of everyday uses of information and how one handles it to relate to unfamiliar resources such as digital archives. The focus on credible sources has led many students to be skeptical of social media sources as valuable.

Developing a way of thinking should transfer across media. Use, assess, and situate different media appropriately.  Need to understand that “credible” isn’t a matter of appearances. Need work days – lab days – when students practice can help. So might having a lab attached to a course.

A challenge is separating tool literacy from actual critical understanding.

In the humanities the process is often invisible; we assume students will pick it up somehow. We don’t do apprenticeship terribly well. We (sometimes) see writing as a process but often fail to recognize our own research process. “Mathematical maturity” – a threshold crossed when people understand underlying concepts rather than being able to get the answer. Peer mentorship is one way of helping bridge expert and novice mode. Can we leverage excitement about digital humanities and digital tools to model learning how to engage in research and creativity. In physics, peer learning has been proven to be effective. See also The American Literature Scholar in the Digital Age.

Should there be a course in digital literacy? Or should it be across the curriculum? Like writing, it can’t be learned in a course, it’s learned over time with practice. Should bear in mind that the end goal is to be able to apply these skills in a variety of situations post-graduation. Learning how to learn is the point.

How do we assess this kind of learning? Project based learning can show products that unify process and content. Act of publishing in some form is where the balance between product and process happens. Need to tap into causes in which students are invested; they can understand the rhetorical nature of communication when their work is public and about something that matters to them.(Cf Standford Study of Writing.)

When does the technology itself become the product? Are there times when, if understanding a technological tool is not the purpose, a lower-tech approach would work just as well? If the technology offers a way into a different logic, a different ontology, it is worth it (though it may not get as far as when using a familiar technology).

Understanding what technology is capable of – knowing the logic behind it – is valuable. (Cf Jeanette Wing.) Creating a mix of content-based courses and ones that are multimodal might accomplish content and skills. In small departments it can be hard – maybe by making it a college-wide outcome it can be done, but that requires negotiation. Need to come up with a way to persuade our colleagues that sacrificing content is not always a sacrifice of anything of lasting importance to our students.

Joan Lippincott described that she remembered a paper she was told she couldn’t write for lack of sources as an undergrad. Now you can get all of those sources with a Google search. A link to her blog post about this is pending.





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Undergrad research group notes

A ton of support for science undergrad research, but zero for humanities
Being an aide for faculty moving in this direction
“Ruckus”: getting iPads for students/faculty, made deal w/ faculty that students will use it constructively
What are other people doing in classrooms? What could be transferred to mobile?
Website documenting handouts used in writing program (“go to our website” instead of “go to Purdue”)
Undergrad research fellowship in the writing center– revising/redoing website, cataloging/archiving, where is writing center compared to peer & aspirant institutions
Comp sci– looking for interdisciplinary work; been looking for a student wanting to do linguistics work with high-performance computing
Teaching/designing introductory comp sci course, examples drawn from DH
What should go in this course?
Undergrad projects throughout undergrad career; journal, archive-building
Incorporate more digital work into general education
What do you do when your archive takes off?
How can library support research for faculty, students?
Where are the differences between what faculty and undergrads need?
Media studies
New head of library interested in accessing digital materials
Provost interested in undergrad research
How to incorporate media, “set aside curmudgeonly attitude”
(there’s a lot of pens at the welcome desk that no one wanted)
Emphasis needs to be on what you do with technology, not the technology itself
How do you use technology to communicate well?
Should there be competition between digital and fountain pen? Does one replace the other?
Digital environment isn’t always sufficient for research
A sophisticated argument is more than one screen
Enage the larger world of scholarship, not just digital
“Laptop campus” – students will be playing Angry Birds on their iPad
How do you engage students who have always done multitasking?
For us, it feels rude when most of them are looking at laptop; they feel like they’re paying attention
There’s always technology, whether we give it to them or not
Corpus studies is exploding in linguistics
Student involvement in building a corpus
What’s the difference between a digital archive and a corpus? Analyzed in different ways?
Grad students are too busy to help with research; hiring undergrads was more effective
How do you find money for that in the humanities, to fund undergrad research?
Want to see them being more than lab assistants, get credit for it, use it in the future, etc.
Don’t push them to the graduate level, but also don’t just give them gruntwork
Cornell College — one course at a time, for 3 1/2 weeks
Work with first-year students who are at a selective college, but not doing that well
Quantitative reasoning studio, academic technology studio, library (w/ consulting librarians)
Common ground is critical thinking– if a paper isn’t great, it’s not a grammar problem
Knowledge is contingent, you can make new knowledge
Getting more students engaged in digital humanities
Taking knowledge you have in a different form, thinking about it in a new way
Capstone course (in addition to first-year writing course)
Recycling digitized information is a problem for research
Try to google-proof your research topics
“How do you know…” – trivia contest (Mental Floss blog), non-googlable puzzles
Cartoon bird beaks– some of them you know, or you think you know, and have to confirm
How do you design a search that can get at that information
Teaching skills, reflection
Students were copying things before thigns were digital
How do you get students to understand that they can create knowledge too?
“Google paper” – an assertion about what something means; original trains of thought from non-Google papers
It’s not about the answers, it’s about the questions
Students have to have a research question, not thesis
The students never age, we do
Aren’t students conditioned to look for the answer, not the question?
Emphasis on testing in high school– teachers evaluated by test results
Arguments with science colleagues– want the same answer every time they ask the same question
Start with JSTOR, not Google
Students uncomfortable with there not being The Right Answer
Remix is a big deal in media studies– exciting way to get people to use sources
Find information, put it together (use sources to generate something new)
Less cut-and-paste, what does that generate?
Digital remake of collage
Explicit instructions (# of sources), different venues to go to
Find X videos, Y images, inter-lace them
Librarians show legitimate sources for these things
Use consensus to determine which are the best sources
Citation, search, generating new ideas
Zotero assignment?
Does number of sources make it product-driven, or more focus on putting things together?
Wharing, writing reflections on other people’s work
Ego is on the line, grade is on the line
Student who received a bad grade just wanted to know how to get an A
Reflection piece; talk about false starts in reflection piece (“what? point out a mistake to a profsesor in my paper?”)
Pushing undergrads across the line they learned in high school is difficult
“Show your work”
Digital tools hide some of the work in a significant way
Interesting insight going on in the process, but we don’t see where it’s coming from due to technical limitations (incompetence with tools– did X instead of Y because didn’t know how to do what they wanted)
Importance of acknowledging the self and cognitive; anxiety that digital work takes you away from the bodily/personal
Problem-based and challenge-based learning (you pick your project to solve the question “how do you get the entire campus to be more environmentally aware?”)
One group went for printing less, outreach and assessment platform
How does that translate into a humanities classroom?
Important not to build up division between Process and Product– how do you share that process and information?
Intuitive scholarship: start with a product (what they think they’ll find), the word “proof” is banned in papers
Start with a hypothesis; product is a reflection of the process of how you build towards that
Everything is about a problem or challenge– why does Genesis 3 end with more than one god?
Predestination is a humanities problem
Peter Elbow– write a paper in 3 sections, set out like a scientific experiment
Hypothesis, say what you know and how experiment is set up
Research, do the experiment, write up what you did and what happened, sequence of reactions
analyze what happened in section 2, ask whether it satisfied hypothesis
In Humanities, process becomes very important: they can’t google and print for this
Could someone replicate the research? How would someone go further?
Three-section paper is written over whole semester; google-proof
This is a paper that narrates what you did looking at the topic
How do you get to the thesis, how do you make the argument for it (opponents’ critique, address that)
Missing piece might come up in social classroom– blogging, people bringing different pieces of knowledge, the debate
The final product of a humanities paper is designed to be out there for other people with the same questions
Undermine the rigid idea that the audience is the professor
Publication is much more available today
FERPA is a concern; does it apply if there’s no grade put on it?
Research: to learn about something, to develop sense of argument
Developing an argument about something you don’t care about is hard
Get people to have a real question/problem
Ask undergrads: what research was satisfying, what would you have liked to do?
Online portfolio of student work
File away papers for portfolio– doesn’t have to happen now, you can publish a blog
Would like to see more published work, even as informal as a blog
Realize that students are on the same level as the work they’re referencing
Changing the mindset: students writing for professor, not for other minds
Idea that education is formulaic (knowledge > grade > degree > job)
How do you get them to think and care?
Opening up more publishing opportunities would be gratifying
Have students post an excerpt of a paper in an appropriate forum
Community-based research– see how your archive of food bank attendees can result in a grant for the food bank
Make you feel like you make a difference
Energy/excitement can be harnessed for making a difference
Lots of public discussion about education in Wisconsin
No one says that the point of education is to learn something, develop critical thinking skills, in public discourse it’s something else
Carthage: president says that students are customers, selling the parents on this education
Economic game
Keep the constant tension about the point of the liberal arts education may have nothing to do with the economy– developing skills, abilities, interests, etc.
Counter-cultural aspect of LAC
Process writing is the first draft
“Just start writing.” — you’ll work it out through the writing
The conclusion of the first draft is the hypothesis
It’s not about a result (not “prove something”) but a defensible argument
Can’t get students invested in putting in time from the beginning of the semester; they see this as bits and pieces
When students write papers, it’s important to have a revision process (even if just on the syllabus)
Non-graded draft– they don’t take it seriously
First assignment: 4-page paper, have to keep rewriting it until you get an A, or you get an F
First grading is really harsh
“As a student, there’s nothing more frustrating than an A-.”
You haven’t finished a revision until you’ve learned something new about your topic
Intermediate courses: teach the process of the discipline– learning how to tackle problems in the future
frustrated with seniors’ lack of research skills; instituted new junior course called “research methods”
Can begin seninior thesis or do something else, but take them step-by-step through the research process
Google search can help undergrads doing research: people blogging about topics in their field (“here’s some thoughts about this thing I just encountered”)
Students volunteered for a blogging assignment to follow a couple blogs throughout the semester
Critical summary of issues raised in the blog, find a connection to something in the class
Not everyone was able to complete the assignment as desired (there’s some assignment tweaking), but some students really got it, became engaged in the discourse
Existing archives are important and valuable, but thinking about things that are out there on the web to help undergrads think critically about topics
Less intimidating than journals
Science project: take something from Oprah, Psychology Today, newspaper, etc., “study shows X”– trace it back, find the study, look at what the study said, and see if the newspaper is accurate
Suspicion about what they find on the web
Tension about grading, how do you build rubrics for these assignments?
Ambition as part of the grade (20% for how broadly conceived, research depth, etc.)
Leap of faith
“If you’re not uncomfortable, I’m not teaching.”
Students get angry with you because they haven’t seen it before (reassure students that it’s normal to be confused)
Curse of the honors student– they want the grade
Students from small high schools, a C is a shock
Scaffolding for different kinds of research tasks
It’s okay to not know what you’re doing
Intro/middle level– just looking for things that help make their argument, not engaging with broader dialog
Throwing students into JSTOR can be intimidating; using blogs can lay some groundwork for contradictory arguments
Decided to make a website related to Moby Dick
One student mapped route on an 1850 map
Syllabi, game design– “leveling up”, point scale for grades
Leveling up makes sense to students
Anti-climactic to go to the next grade, but if you can “level up” at any point in the year, that’s exciting
“Reality is Broken” – positive psychology underneath that
Praising effort over intelligence (effort you have control over)
Developing ability to do undergrad research process, then applying it to a new problem, then something that’s publishable research (level-wise growth)
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Making Your First Map

Here is the handout I will be using for this bootcamp.  If you’re not attending this bootcamp but would like to participate and contribute here are some ways to get involved:

One of the things we will be doing at this boot camp is “Asking” geographic questions as they relate to digital humanities. Take a look at the questions people come up with and feel free to post your own.

We will also be adding to a google spreadsheet any datasets that people have come across that have been particularly useful to them.  If you have a great resource to share, PLEASE add to the list!

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