Undergraduate Network for Research in the Humanities Conference

The call for proposals is open for this year’s UNRH conference. Here’s what they have on their About page:

UNRH is a network founded by and for undergraduates in order to reimagine the undergraduate role in innovative humanities research. We aim to aggregate, present, and promote student research that questions the methods of traditional humanities research. We further hope to establish a sustainable network of digital scholarship through which students might question and break down leading models of teaching & learning in order to reclaim student agency.

This conference addresses these goals in three ways:

  • We provide a physical platform for the submission, peer reviewed selection, and presentation of projects alone or in collaboration.

  • We engage in workshops, in order to develop skills for professional development, whether that be within academia or outside of it.

  • We gather for ‘design thinking’ sessions with the purpose of drawing out the problems in the current undergraduate research model in order to create actionable solutions

If you’re interested in submitting a proposal, they’re due September 20th, so right around the corner. (DHAs, chat with me about your ideas for this if you’re interested in presenting as part of your DHA work.)

DHA Fall Schedule

Welcome to Fall Term! We have a lot to do this term, and with doing a lot comes communicating a lot both with the rest of the DHA team and also with the faculty, staff, and students we support on campus. Digital Humanities is a team sport, and good teamwork runs on good communication, so I’m kicking things off by laying out our broad schedule for the fall.

Communication this term

2015-09-14_1510First, we’ll be managing our projects using Asana. Each team member should have an invitation to join an Asana Workspace, and in that workspace you’ll find our major projects laid out in the left-hand menu (available under the little hamburger menu icon)

One of your first projects should be to familiarize yourself with Asana – how to put tasks into projects, tags, attaching various kinds of things, having team conversations, assigning tasks to others, etc. I’ll start a blog post for that assignment soon and you can all use the comments to help us all learn useful things about Asana, or you can write your own blog post if you have something more long-form you want to say.

The other main communication tool we’ll use is this blog. Meeting notes and project updates might be published as “private” (meaning only we can see them if we’re logged in), but one really interesting thing about the digital humanities is how much people share with each other via blogs and Twitter and Facebook, so we’ll participate with the community and with each other that way, commenting on blogs and writing posts, sharing knowledge and ideas and asking for help.

Team Meeting Schedule

So those are the two main overarching things for this term. And here is the sketch of our meeting schedule for the term. We will have team meetings most weeks and then individual meetings as necessary.

Week 1: Orientation and beginnings

  1. Introductions
  2. Orientation to the DHA job responsibilities
  3. Project descriptions and updates for current projects (from returning DHAs)
  4. Assignments
    1. Divvying up projects between team members (projects have initial tasks pre-loaded into Asana)
    2. Learning Asana Assignment
    3. “What is Digital Humanities” assignment.

Week 2: Professional academic blogging

  1. Project Updates
  2. Conversation: What is blogging and how do you do it well in digital humanities?
  3. DHA blog redesign – early conversations about design and content for our blog
  4. Conversation: What is Digital Humanities?” Based on Week 1 assignment.
  5. Assignments for the week
    1. Find some best practices for blog design.
    2. Find a theme or two to suggest for the blog.
    3. Begin a review of blog content.

Week 3: Writing for the Web

  1. Project Updates
  2. DHA Presentation #1 (one DHA presenting to the rest of us on skills or ideas that will help us all and that the presenter has learned from current projects)
  3. Presentation/Conversation: writing for the web with special guest Doug Bratland [schedule still being finalized]
  4. Assignments for the week
    1. Write bios for the blog
    2. write an About page for the blog

Week 4: 3D projects

  1. Project updates
  2. DHA Presentation #2 (one DHA presenting to the rest of us on skills or ideas that will help us all and that the presenter has learned from current projects)
  3. Presentation/Conversation: 3D projects in digital humanities with special “guest” Austin Mason.
  4. Assignments for the week (TBA)

Week 5: Content Management Systems

  1. Project updates
  2. DHA Presentation #3 (one DHA presenting to the rest of us on skills or ideas that will help us all and that the presenter has learned from current projects)
  3. Presentation/Conversation: content management systems with special “guest” Austin Mason.
  4. Assignments for the week (TBA)

[Week 6 – no scheduled Team Meeting]

Week 7: Hitting our Stride

  1. Project Updates
  2. DHA Presentation #4 (one DHA presenting to the rest of us on skills or ideas that will help us all and that the presenter has learned from current projects)
  3. Assignments for the week (TBA)

[Week 8 – no scheduled Team Meeting]

Week 9: Preparing for December Break

  1. Project Updates
  2. DHA Presentation #5 (one DHA presenting to the rest of us on skills or ideas that will help us all and that the presenter has learned from current projects)
  3. Assignments for the week
    1. Prepare documentation and tasks/goals for next term for each of the projects you’re working on.

Week 10: Individual Meetings

  1. Each DHA should set up a meeting with Iris and/or Austin. During this meeting we’ll review each DHA project (the project’s goals and what we’ve done so far to work toward those goals). Then we’ll set up goals and tasks for next term so that we can hit the ground running in January. Be sure to gather notes and files and other documentation in preparation for these individual meetings.

Asana for DHA Project Management

2015-09-14_1552There are quite a few free project management tools out there – Trello and Basecamp are two of the other very popular ones right now – and it’s entirely possible that as you collaborate with other partners on campus you will end up using other systems that integrate well with that particular project.

I chose Asana for us to use as our home base for several reasons. First, it is widely used by several in the library and by everyone in ITS, making collaborative project management much easier for projects that will involve staff from these areas. It is also really good at integrating with Google Docs and Dropbox, making it a great tool for working with some of the other widely used collaborative tools on campus. There are various other things I love about it (and a few things I don’t love so much, which is true of every tool under the sun), but I’ll let you explore and find what YOU think will work well for us this term.

And that’s your Asana assignment for this week. Play with the system, explore its tutorials and documentation, and write down some of the things that would be useful for us all to know as we work together via Asana this term. Post those ideas in the comments or, if you have a whole lot to say, and especially if you have neat hacks or work-arounds that would be great to share with the broader community, feel free to write your own blog post here.

And if you’re not one of my DHAs and you’re reading this had have ideas for us, by all means add a comment! The more ideas the merrier!

What are “Digital Humanities” anyway?

Out in the wide world of the Digital Humaties blogosphere and twitterverse, this is a question that really preoccupied people for a long, long time. And here on the Carleton Campus, it’s still a bit of an open question for a few reasons. First, it’s relatively new. Second, the definition for what we do here at Carleton in terms of digital humanities will differ from what other institutions do because we’ll be driven by the research questions of our humanities folks, the staffing capacities and skills on our campus, and the technical infrastructure of our institution.

For us on this team, the definition matters not only because we are part of this thing called Digital Humanities, but also because it helps us decide what work we take on and what work we turn down. We can’t do all the work on campus, so some definitional boundaries are important. But we also want the flexibility to explore this rapidly changing field, so we don’t want our definitional boundaries to be too rigid. So you can see that the balance can be a bit tricky and that it’ll probably shift over time.

DHAs, this week please do a little online exploration. Google “digital humanities” and follow at least 5 links, then poke around this blog to see what past DHAs have written that may help you get a sense of what Digital Humanities means here at Carleton.

When you’ve explored a bit, leave comments here or write a blog post about what you’ve found. What defines the Digital Humanities? Who is the audience for that answer? Is it a useful question to ask (beyond helping us define our day-to-day job duties)? What distinguishes the Digital Humanities at Carleton? Are there things we seem to concentrate on? Things we haven’t delved into?

We’ll also talk more about what you’ve learned at next week’s Team Meeting.

If you’re not a DHA and you’re reading this, feel free to leave comments! The more ideas the merrier!