Some Assembly Required: Teaching through/with/about/by/because of, the Digital Humanities

I’m to speak at the  Canadian Network for Innovation in Education conference at Carleton in May; I’m one of the keynotes. I’ve never done a keynote before… I have a great fear of bringing coals to Newcastle, as it were. Pressed for a title and an abstract, this is what I’ve come up with (for good or ill): Some Assembly Required Every day, another university signs up to participate in Udacity, Coursera, or another of the monster MOOCs.  Every day, another job posting makes ‘digital humanities’ a requirement. These two trends are not unrelated. Canadians have been at the forefront … Continue reading Some Assembly Required: Teaching through/with/about/by/because of, the Digital Humanities

A history game brainstorming exercise

Tomorrow in my HIST3812 I want to get students thinking about the kinds of history that might be appropriate to embody in a game or simulation, and the experience of such games. Inspired by something we did at THATCamp Great Lakes, I’ve taken a deck of cards and divided it into ‘historiography (hearts)’, ‘genre (spades)’, and ‘aesthetic (clubs)’. Here’s the prompt for the exercise: “I will give you cards from three different decks: historiography (Hearts) genre (Spades) aesthetic (Clubs) Look at your cards. In your groups, brainstorm a quick idea for a game using those cards. If, after five minutes, you’ve … Continue reading A history game brainstorming exercise

HIST3812, Gaming and Simulation for Historians

Finally, with a bit of space to breathe, I am turning to getting my HIST3812 Gaming and Simulation for Historians course put together. In response to student queries about what this course will explore, I’ve put together a wee comic book (to capture the aesthetic of playfulness about history that games & simulations naturally contain). I’m not a particularly good maker of comic books, but it does the trick, more or less. See it on Issuu here Continue reading HIST3812, Gaming and Simulation for Historians

Digital Humanist Interview

I was interviewed recently by a student in Leslie Madsen-Brooks graduate seminar in digital history, HannaLore Hein. She posts her impression of the interview on the course website here. It’s always interesting to see what you wrote come through someone else’s filters. Given a recent conversation on twitter, where Mike Widner and others have been discussing the results of text analysis/topic modeling on all of the posted interviews, I thought I’d post here the ur-text from our interview. 1. Did you begin your academic career wanting to be an archeologist? How did your studies as and undergraduate and graduate student … Continue reading Digital Humanist Interview

HIST2809 Syllabus as Comic Book

In the hopes that a more visually appealing syllabus will mean that my students read the thing, I’m turning the first few pages of the HIST2809 syllabus into a comic book. The nuts-and-bolts will be the regular format.(The doctored historical plaques are from Rob MacDougall’s ‘Tecumseh Lies Here‘ augmented reality game). Oh, and the final project/exam is a version of the Forgery Game. Continue reading HIST2809 Syllabus as Comic Book

A teaching philosophy in practice

My field nowadays is the digital humanities; I started my academic life as an archaeologist. In between, I’ve taught in continuing education, distance education, secondary education to troubled students, and started a business. My philosophy of teaching has evolved continually as a result of these disparate experiences. I was attracted to archaeology by the hands-on nature of the field, by the materiality of it. I became interested in distance education and continuing education for how these two modes opened up academia to broader audiences than a standard undergraduate experience. Working with troubled teens (students whom the system had otherwise failed), … Continue reading A teaching philosophy in practice crowdsourcing cultural heritage

I have a small summer project running, using the Ushahidi and Omeka platforms for crowdsourcing local history, called HeritageCrowd. I have two Carleton University undergraduate students, Guy Massie and Nadine Feuerherm helping me with this; we’re blogging the experience here. Please check us out; comments & critiques (and submissions, of course!) are most welcome. Guy writes, This project, headed by Professor Shawn Graham and students Nadine Feuerherm and Guy Massie at Carleton University, rethinks the way that people share and interact with local history and heritage. Through the use of a number of technologies such as text messaging, voice mail, … Continue reading crowdsourcing cultural heritage

Practical Necromancy* Begins With Latin

In my previous ‘Practical Necromancy’ post, I made the argument why we should toy with history, using the Netlogo agent based modeling environment. Let me tell you today what happened when I introduced the idea of simulating the past to my first year students. The phrase ‘digital history’ does indeed appear in the title of the course, yet a significant proportion of the class told me during the first week that they were technophobes, that they could post an update to Facebook, but don’t ask them to do anything more complex! You can see how this is a wee bit … Continue reading Practical Necromancy* Begins With Latin

Wikiblitz: Student Perspective

We had a great conversation this morning on the students’ perspective on the Wikiblitz assignment. We began by going over the article, and noting all of the changes, deletions, additions, and omissions that had occurred in the five days since we last looked at the article. In the spirit of the Heavy Metal Umlaut video I used Jing to make a short video showing how the page evolved from its one-line birth in 2005, to what we see today. I’m no filmmaker. But it was instructive to see how the interests and early structure that emerged in the article’s first … Continue reading Wikiblitz: Student Perspective