Boot Camps

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1.Teaching with Omeka
Unedited live capture Omeka Boot Camp

Jeffery McClurken, Chair and Associate Professor of History and American Studies at the University of Mary Washington

Amanda French, THATCamp Coordinator, Center for History and New Media at George Mason University

Omeka is a simple system used by scholarly archives, libraries, and museums all over the world to manage and describe digital images, audio files, videos, and texts; to put such digital objects online in a searchable database; and to create attractive web exhibits from them. Even people with no web development experience can use it to create a digital archive of images, audio, video, and texts that meets scholarly metadata standards and is delivered on a search engine-optimized website.

In this workshop, we’ll teach you how and why to use Omeka in the classroom. We’ll give you a basic hands-on introduction to the system so that you can get comfortable with it yourself, look at some examples of pedagogical use of Omeka in humanities courses, and talk about our own experience teaching with Omeka. At the end of the session, we’ll workshop some of your own ideas for Omeka-based assignments.

Please sign up for a free Basic Omeka.net account at http://www.omeka.net/signup before you come to the workshop. If you don’t get your login information, check your spam folder.

2. The Undergraduate’s Voice in Digital Humanities
Unedited live capture The Undergraduate Voice Boot Camp

Katherine D. Harris, Assistant Professor of English at San Jose State University

Pollyanna Macchianno, Graduating English Major at San Jose State University

In the Chronicle of Higher Education article “Questions, Questions, and more Questions: A Student’s Perspective on THATCamp LAC,” Celeste Marshall Kahn issues a call to include more  undergraduate voices in THATCamp (and other) gatherings. Jen Rajchel’s video attests to the efficacy of learning through Digital Humanities after her experiences at Bryn Mawr. Rebecca Frost Davis, at NITLE, has been encouraging the undergraduate voice in Digital Humanities research, and Digital Humanists have responded by integrating more undergraduates into their research plans. But, we are still lacking that undergraduate voice in the formation of digitally-inflected courses over a broad range. This co-taught Bootcamp will address the following:

The bootcamp will be about one undergraudate student’s movement into Digital Humanities (a narrative with some reflection). I will then offer up some assessment about my pedagogical decisions in helping her get there:
• How did the tools allow her to sharpen your understanding of humanities/liberal arts/brilliance
• What was her process for using digital tools, participating in digital projects, or theorizing DH?
• What incremental moves from one tool to the next opened up her thinking?
• My response will be to her narrative, my assessment of her process & a statement about my process

This is an opportunity for Bootcamp participants (both faculty and students) to collaborate with an undergraduate in the formation of pedagogy before it happens and to experience the evolution of strategies for creating a digitally-inflected course.

3. Cognitive Pedagogy: Ditching the Lecture and Teaching for the Brain in Digital Humanities Classrooms
Unedited live capture

Christopher Dickman, PhD Candidate in English at Saint Louis University

More than most disciplines, the Digital Humanities are well poised to help lead the ever-increasing interest in – and demand for – more effective pedagogy in higher education. Whether creating research tools or using those tools to parse the content of our disciplines, DH courses have a distinct focus on doing not enjoyed by other disciplines. An explosion of cognitive research in the past couple of decades has shown that the active learning DH gravitates towards helps students gain the kind of knowledge that allows them to apply a discipline’s principles to novel situations; this is the kind of knowledge that distinguishes experts from novices.

Yet, DH also introduces another layer of complexity for students, who are often not only responsible for learning the content of the course or discipline, but also the tools of digital research and their application. There is a danger, then, in overloading our students’ cognitive capacities. Research has shown, for example, that even a novice writer composing an essay of several hundred words and a chess expert in the middle of a match experience roughly the same cognitive load. What’s needed, then, is a balanced approach to teaching that best engages the brain’s natural approaches to learning without overloading those cognitive abilities.

In this workshop, participants will learn ways to alter classrooms practices and activities to better account for student cognition in digital, networked environments. We’ll cover ways to best utilize the natural structures of the brain as well as ways to avoid overloading our students’ cognitive capacities. This workshop will focus on three main pedagogical dynamics:

1. Active Learning
2. Immediate Feedback
3. Metacognition

Participants will learn why these methods are effective for creating and solidifying neural connections in the brain, and learn how digital environments can facilitate these methodologies. Participants will work to apply them to their own classrooms and will leave with a set of strategies for classroom practice as well as a number of examples of these dynamics in action.

During the session, we’ll also make a wiki-like record of the tools we might use for each strategy.

4. Integrating Digital Projects into Undergraduate Courses

Rebecca Frost Davis, Program Officer for the Humanities, National Institute for Technology and Liberal Education (NITLE)

Kathryn Tomasek, Associate Professor of History, Wheaton College, Massachusetts

Digital methods of analysis exert growing influence on the practice of many disciplines in the humanities and social sciences, yet students majoring in non-science disciplines often have little exposure to computational thinking and working with computer code. At the same time, in the curriculum, the Digital Humanities promises significant learning benefits for undergraduates, who need a measure of digital literacy to function well as citizens in the twenty-first century. This bootcamp will present strategies for effectively integrating digital projects into undergraduate courses. By examining effective cases of assignments linked to digital projects, participants will consider how to make room for such assignments in a syllabus, how to tie digital projects to a course’s learning outcomes, and how to scaffold both technological and content learning to allow students to make positive contributions to a project external to the course. Participants will leave with a set of proven examples of effective assignments, preliminary plans for assignments for their own courses, and suggestions for how to find collaborative partners in library and technology services for such projects on their home campuses.

Materials for this bootcamp can be found at http://integratingdh.pbworks.com/. Click the link to request access.

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