It takes roughly an hour or so to get here in the morning. I have to navigate across one of the oldest bridges on the Ottawa River, and it’s always jam-packed. On the plus side, it takes me through some of the oldest industrial heritage in the region. Ottawa was one of the first cities in Canada (perhaps North America?) to become electrified, courtesy of the power of the Chaudiere Falls, which is where the bridge crosses. Next year, I’m teaching a course in Digital History that will focus on this complex, using augmented reality as our expressive form. Each morning then I start by thinking about that class, and what we will do in this amazing spot.
But this morning, I have my first year Digital History seminar to prepare. We get going in about twenty minutes. Attendence on a Friday AM is always a bit sparse. But today we’re working en-masse on their group projects. We’ve partnered with a community organization, the Council of Heritage Organizations of Ottawa and their crowdsourcing history portal, Ottawagraphy. My students are preparing projects that will be hosted on Ottawagraphy, on different aspects of Ottawa’s history. One group of students are working on a smart phone guided tour of the Parliament Hill precinct; others on the development of various neighborhoods. It’s a pretty eclectic mix. What’s exciting about it is that these students were not overly critical consumers or producers of digital content when they started – I think they’ve come a pretty long way.
And so begins my day of Digital Humanities.