Archive for the ‘Session Descriptions’ Category

  • The future of cultural heritage (including archaeology) curricula


    There are lots of different ways that we can teach about the past and use the past to better inform ourselves about the present. Archaeology has long employed hands-on techniques in field schools and some experimental courses, but I’d like to talk about how we might best use technology and/or a combination of experiential work, “fieldwork” – writ large – and technology to improve our curricula. If we want to encourage an appreciation for cultural heritage, how can technology best be used to teach this? What approaches don’t work? How do we know? I’d love to talk with anyone who has experience in this area or even remotely related areas.

    A lot of people have used fake excavations and virtual excavations in teaching, and I’m not sure that that is the best way to learn. Does the use of Second Life in teaching about the past make cultural heritage more meaningful and more comprehensible? What about using GPS-based and geospatial techniques? I think that the cultural heritage area of study is open to a lot of different kinds of teaching methods, and that the structure of curricula can be changed in many different ways, but I’m not at all sure how to evaluate what works, what doesn’t, and what is just plain fun but silly. We at the Department of Anthropology at Michigan State are currently revising our curriculum, and we are also discussing including a focus on cultural heritage; how can we do this with an innovative, appropriate, and useful digital spin?

  • DH/Archive 2.0 and cultural/community stakeholders


    Mike McLeod and I are interested in discussing DH/Archive 2.0 projects that tailor to the needs of cultural/community stakeholders.  We think that projects with cultural stakeholders present their own relationship needs, design challenges, research questions, and rewards. We would like to share some of our work on our Samaritan Archive 2.0 project. We’d also love to hear from academics, librarians, programmers, and designers working at any stage on projects with a similar emphasis on establishing and maintaining relationships, community-centered design, fieldwork as a major component of the iterative design process, or any related interests and concerns.

  • Toward Linked Data In The Humanities


    Imagine being able to pull data from hundreds, even thousands, of different sources to create charts and graphs; compare facts, figures, or relationships; or discover patterns that no one ever knew existed.  If you had the ability to do it, what would you set out to find?

    This is the new web of Linked Data that’s envisioned by Tim Berners-Lee, the creator of the World Wide Web, and amazingly, it’s starting to become reality.  We have accomplished incredible things with a web of documents, but we now have the opportunity to dig deeper to explore the relationships between people, places, and things utilizing graphs rather than tables. It’s like going from The Muppets to Avatar (or if you hated Avatar, pick your own exaggerated analogy for a paradigm shift in technology).

    The humanities stand to benefit enormously by this new opportunity for discovery and analysis.  Not only does it offer the real possibility for bridging isolated archives and data collections, but it opens the door for community contributed links that can significantly amplify long-stagnant archives and records.

    Within the Linked Data movement, there are roles to be played by technologists, developers, researchers, archivists, dreamers and everyone in between.  I’d like to present the Civil War Data 150 Project as just one example of what Linked Data may help us achieve, and invite everyone to come up with creative projects you might pursue if you had the ability to reach across collections, time, and space to explore new networks and relationships of information.

    Graph of data to be mapped from various sources for the Civil War Data 150 Project.

  • hacking wearables & e-textiles


    Nowviskie's Soft Circuit Merit Badge: close the circuit and light the red LED by clicking the flower (sewn with conductive thread) to the metal snap.

    On Saturday at Great Lakes THATCamp, Bill Turkel and I will be hosting a workshop entitled “Hacking Wearables and E-Textiles.” I think of this kind of activity as “soft circuits work — but there’s no reason your wearable or hand-crafted tech has to be soft (or domestic, or gendered in any way) — even if our supplies list includes grosgrain ribbon and something called a “Foof a la Bag o’ Buttons.”

    Bill and I will have a chance, at Great Lakes, to give a brief overview of interesting work happening in the wearables arena, and to talk about why we decided to partner in this way. (Hint: when we saw the applicant pool, Bill was thrilled that women were signing up, while I was relieved it wasn’t going to be the all-girl ghetto of THATCamp.) If you’re new to all this, we’ll also share resources and avenues to keep you going when you return home. (It was Bill’s Arduino class at the very first THATCamp, followed by Dan Chudnov‘s Processing tutorial, that got me started!)

    We’re planning the class to appeal to experienced and inexperienced participants alike. As a warm-up exercise, we’ll take on this concept from Evil Mad Science Laboratories: a merit badge that (if you’ve sewn the circuit correctly) merits itself, by lighting an LED. My prototype is above (and see it light up here). It should be fun to see the variety of battery-powered, glowing nerdiness our fellow THATCampers design!

    This has just been a teaser post. Time permitting, I’ll share some other wearable tech concepts before the 20th. Bring your thimbles, if you’ve got ’em!

  • Telepresence: Saving Time & Money


    Telepresence is the next generation of video conferencing. Using webcams and the Internet with software such as ooVoo, real-time interaction recreates an in-person meeting experience. A GVSU business professor and librarians collaborated to use videoconferencing for class group work, facilitate office hours, and communication between the library and faculty. Web based videoconferencing has acquired tremendous popularity as it “virtually” connects people in many fields: military personnel, medicine, job interviews, education applications and global communications. Telepresence requires an understanding of techno-etiquette which we facilitated with a video presentation to highlight effective communication.
    We want to talk about how this technology is an effective communication tool with multiple applications. We also want to share important etiquette considerations when using this technology.

  • Using Digital Video for Research and Community Archiving – Getting Beyond YouTube: Segmenting, Annotating and Archiving Digital Video Using the Annotator’s Workbench


    The Annotator’s Workbench is an open source application developed at Indiana University for the segmentation and annotation of digital video. This tool was originally developed to support the Ethnographic Video for Instruction and Analysis Digital Archive, a multi-year grant from the Mellon Foundation to Indiana University and the University of Michigan to create online access to hundreds of hours of field work done by ethnographers from around the world. Since the completion of the grant, we have found that the technologies developed to support the EVIADA Project can be applied to many different and diverse projects.

    Annotator's Workbench in Use

    Annotator's Workbench in Use on Ethnographic Field Video

    We have worked successfully with the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University and the Central American and Mexican Video Archive (CAMVA) to adapt the Annotator’s Workbench to their projects. We are currently working with Archives of Historical and Ethnographic Yiddish Memories (AHEYM) to preserve and annotate oral histories collected from Yiddish-speaking residents of Eastern Europe and make the material available to scholars, educators and the public. In additon we are working on another Mellon grant on Ethnomusicology Multimedia (EM), a collaborative series of first books in ethnomusicology to be accompanied by a Web-based platform for hosting audio and video materials integral to the authors’ research, published by Indiana University Press, Kent State University Press and Temple University Press. This presentation will discuss the Annotator’s Workbench and surrounding technology and how it has been used and can be used in a variety of digital video based projects.

    But the use of the Annotator’s Workbench or any other tool is just the starting point. Using digital video for research and scholarship is still an open issue and the exact place of this type of scholarship in the academy has yet to be decided.

    How can we take a medium like video and make it more than just accessible but also provide metadata, rich content, insight and academic rigor? What does it mean to peer-review such content? How should it be distrubuted? Who and what kinds of access should be given to this material? What about intellectual property? What about copyright?

    How do we make video part of the classroom? part of research? part of publication? part of the scholarly process?

    Some additional thoughts occurred to me as I responded to a comment. One possible use of this tool, the Annotator’s Workbench, a digital video segmentation and annotation tool, is for what could be called Community Archiving. Basically, I see the process of community archiving as an historical tool, a pedagogical tool and a community building tool. For instance, distribute digital video cameras and recorders to, for instance, a high school class and send them out into their community to record what ever interests them (of course you could have them focus more if you wanted). Segment and annotate the result. Use Omeka or build your own web pages and web site. Allow comments from the community. Perhaps even uploads of video or audio. The process of creating this web site and the web site itself would be good for the students and the community. Depending on the interest of those present, I will probably focus more on the concept of using a tool, such as the Annotator’s Workbench, for community archiving.

  • Digital Tools and Transferable Skills


    I’d like to talk about pedagogical issues related to the use of digital tools. In particular, I’d like to discuss how we can best integrate digital tools into humanities/humanistic social sciences courses in ways that (1) students can see as clearly related to the course and (2) that will equip them with transferable skills.

    It’s the transferable skills I’m most interested in, I think. What I want is for my students to learn how to determine what they need to know, then be able to figure out what they need to do to acquire that knowledge. I got good training in that respect in my own field, and have been able to make use of those skills to learn a great deal about digital tools.

    What I want to do in my courses is work with students on academic and digital skill sets simultaneously. The question for me is which digital tools to use, and why—and how to get students comfortable with them (and confident that they know where to go for help if they get stuck).

    I’d love to share ideas about these kinds of questions with other campers. It might also be helpful to discuss how we as instructors can develop our own digital skills—including how we teach them to our students and what resources outside our institutions we might need—particularly if we’re interested in using tools that aren’t officially supported by our institutions.

  • Engaged Cultural Heritage Development, Archaeology, and Digital Social Media


    The MSU Campus Archaeology Program was established to make sure that MSU serves as a good steward towards their cultural and archaeological resources. We are called in to mitigate before any tree is planted or building is built. Our primary goals include the research of MSU’s past, teaching students about archaeology, and engaged cultural heritage development within and around the MSU community.  Over the past year, the MSU Campus Archaeology Program has been utilizing digital social media as a means for engaging communities in our archaeological research. Utilizing Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, and blogging, we have been able to share the process of excavation, methodology, analysis, and interpretation with the communities that we serve.

    We consider traditional public archaeology, which typically consists of site visits and museum exhibits, to be lacking in a number of qualities that keep it from being “engaged”. Communities are rarely encouraged to take part, or even to see, the process that goes from excavation to presentation. Digital social media has allowed us to keep the public informed and engaged in what we are doing in a number of ways. Real-time excavation posting on Twitter and Facebook have allowed us to show and tell the decisions we make in the field and to share the discovery of artifacts with the public. Photos on Flickr and blog posts provide an opportunity to share our research methods, discuss our findings, and provide explanations about how we draw the conclusions that we do. Lastly, social media allows for all of these elements to be two-way: the community has the opportunity to engage with us at any moment. They can ask questions of us while we are in the field, post comments to Facebook, Flickr, or our Blog asking us questions about our decision making, or anything else that is on their mind regarding our topics.

    I am hoping to discuss our methods in how they may be applied to other areas of public, engaged academic services. Additionally, I am hoping that new ideas may be brought to the table about how these technologies may be utilized. The very recent popularity of location-based social media, for example, has sparked our interest. Our primary focus will be on using technology to engage communities in the development of their cultural heritage.

    In the meantime, please see what we’re up to by following, fanning, contacting, subscribing, or what have you!

  • Reaching Common Educational Goals: Are Public History (and Digital Humanities) Entities Providing the Resources Educators Want?


    Last year, for my capstone masters project in the NYU Archives and Public History program, I undertook a three-pronged exploratory project to assess the state of collaboration among history educators and providers of educational resources sought (and unsought) by them.  My project stemmed from the commonality of “education” embraced as a shared goal among public history institutions and schools. My aim was to determine whether providers of educational resources (including archivists, museum educators and creators of digital history projects) are meeting the stated needs of K-12 teachers (and to determine whether teachers’ educational goals match the goals of public history institutions). To reach my goal I surveyed 23 history teachers (mostly secondary-level) about their educational goals and about the resources (including text books, primary sources, websites and visits to historic sites and museums) they use to meet them.  I solicited feedback on how museums and creators of digital history sites can better serve the secondary educational community. Simultaneously, I interviewed 11 public historians including museum educators, archivists and creators of digital history projects about the genesis of their projects, how they conceive of their educational goals, the role that teachers and students play in their educational efforts and the ways that they measure success.  This study has illuminated elements of successful collaboration, areas for improvement and needs for further collaboration and advocacy in the promotion of history education in America.

    Although my project focused on history education, I believe it has relevance to the humanities more broadly. For this session, I am interested in sharing the results of my survey and discussing their implications for digital humanities projects that seek to offer resources to teachers. I look forward to discussing educational goals with creators and users of digital humanities resources and brainstorming ways in which institutions can work together to make their content more relevant to educators and to advocate for the breadth and depth of educational experience possible in the best-constructed digital humanities projects.

    I welcome suggestions and am happy to discuss my survey design and results in advance of THATCamp with anyone who is interested!

  • Socially Sourced Student Feedback


    I would love to talk with others who have experimented with socially sourced feedback for student work or those who are interested in trying this out in their own class. After the first go at trying this out myself, I think the benefits far outweigh the consequences!

    You can read more about my first experiment here –

    I am replicating this experiment in late April and would love to come away from THATCamp with additional reviewers for my pool.  Additionally, during the session I would love to brainstorm

    – a set of guidelines for external reviewers (a “toolbox” and review tips)
    – strategies for instructor management of the external review process
    – ideas for scaling this up and making it a sustainable practice

    Ideally, if we can make connections at THAT Camp, I would love to collaborate on a paper to share our thoughts and experiments with an even wider audience!

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