Digital Pedagogy Institute
Digital Pedagogy Institute 2015
These notes are raw and written either live or in the intersections when I have time. For that reason they will often misrepresent what was said. Email me corrections if it matters to you.
The Institute was sponsored by University of Toronto Scarborough Library, Brock University, and Ryerson University, and the SSHRC Connections Grant. I should thank Paulina Rousseau and the others worked hard on this conference.
Day 1: Wednesday, August 19th
Nora Young: Forget the Streams, Here Come the Waterfalls: Education and the Coming Data Revolution
Young is the journalist behind CBC, Spark. She talked about three waves of the digital. The first wave was the personal computer and web, the second was the web 2.0 and collaborative content, and the third wave is ubiquitous and mobile. There is an explosion of automatically gathered information that we are gathering about ourselves and sharing. There is a missing human dimension - most data is coming from you and me. People want to have a relationship to their data - where are the tools. She talked about the apple research kit that may let people
She talked about privacy and anonymity and mentioned Gigapixel - a Microsoft technology that lets organizations put together hundreds of images into one large zoomable image. This can then be set up to identify people or let them tag themselves. One can imagine how this can be used to get people to identify others. She showed a composite image from the Vancouver riot. See http://www.gigapixel.com/image/gigatag-canucks-g7.html
She called on us academics to teach about data and analytics. She called for us to imagine what can be done.
Instructional, informative, interactive, and integrative: Digital tools in establishing experiential excellence
Some architecture students at Ryerson talked about the neat teaching tools they have developed that included a neat augmented reality app that was used to let students explore issues around buildings. I wish I could have seen more about how that worked.
William Ju: The Shift from Teaching to Learning
Ju gave a great talk about online assignments, assessments, and capstone projects. He confronted the problem of how to use technology in ways that doesn't just distance the professor and build expensive video. How can we create transparent and collaborative learning experiences. He had clearly tried a number of experiments.
He mentioned that students (at least in neuroscience) don't like collaboration, but that it is still something they need to learn.
Some of the experiments include:
Elzbieta Grodek and Jonathan Royce:
Grodek and Royce talked about teaching Derrida. It is very hard to teach Derrida's very abstract and deliberatively deconstructive ideas. They have collaborated with animation classes at Sheridan to experiment with animations that show some of the ideas. They showed some neat storyboards.
They also talked about using tools like Digress.It to encourage annotation and questions around texts.
Lee Skallerup Bessette: Digital Pedagogy and Teaching Centers
Bessette (@readywriting) gave her talk online. Her slides were done in Sway and are at https://sway.com/gtkOYCWQLYoFMDQi . A lot of digital pedagogy evolved outside the structures - there can be clashes with university structures.
Bessette did a neat thing of asking questions and having us post answers to Twitter - I was surprised how lively her online presentation was. She raised great questions about:
She argued that there are Five Ages of Faculty Development
Jodine Perkins: Engagement with community organizations in digital projects: Working with community organizations
Perkins talked about weaving oral history projects into library school courses. Her classes She talked about some of the challenges around dealing with certain projects where the people to be interviewed are far away or not motivated. You need to make sure the community organization that students work with are invested in the project. Her best experiences have been with community organizations where there is a graduate of the library school at the organization.
The key takeaway was that you need to make sure that the stakeholders in the community organization are invested in the project.
Geoffrey Rockwell: Teaching Analytics After Snowden
I gave the final keynote of the day and (obviously) didn't take notes. Here are some of the links:
Day 2: Thursday, August 20th
Diane Jakacki: Stepping Away From the Podium: Lessons to be Learned in Teaching and Doing DH
Jakacki started by quoting Claire Warwick to the effect that the digital humanities needs to pay more attention to pedagogy. This is a good thing - we should be thinking about how to weave teaching and research together.
She changed "digital pedagogy" to "digital humanities pedagogy." Some of the questions she is asking:
She talked about a course HUMN 100: Digging into the Digital that she co-taught. They encode a text, do text analysis, visualization and ask questions about the documents. They use all sorts of cool tools like Voyant 2.0, Sentistrength, oXygen, Juxta and so on.
The students felt they owned the content in a special way working so closely with it. They were treated as junior scholars and colleagues rather than vessels to be filled with lectures.
They had a variety of students from different fields - this connected the humanities through the digital to STEM students.
Jakacki talked about how our students are not digital natives. They are often just passive consumers of tech, not informed users.
One thing we often avoid is the issue of access. The sort of course she teaches depends on all sorts of access. Students need to have laptops, licenses to all sorts of software and so on. Jakacki talked about the arrogance of those who have access talking about teaching to those who don't. She also talked about accessibility to those with disabilities.
She talked about a student who was under some sort of protection and couldn't be identified. We assume that all students want to share what they do. We need to be careful about forcing students to identify themselves in public on the web.
She talked about how there is an explosion of people trying to weave DH into courses and they need help. There are infrastructure needs and advice. They need help creating meaningful assignments and delivering them. Often administrators don't recognize the extra costs and challenges. Further the model of one instructor may need to change as we need teams with the mix of skills. These teams are not always just faculty - they include all sorts of specialists. What happens with the helpful librarian is not available to co-teach? Further, we need to think of how students will engage
We had an interesting talk about how to keep the big tent in DH. How do keep the people not in tenure-track positions from dominating? How do we avoid language that makes it sound that DH is innovative and everything else is old hat and therefore necessarily wrong?
Robert Jay Glickman: Online and Blended Courses: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
First, I should mention that Glickman is one of the pioneers of text analysis. He developed PRORA which was reviewed in the first issue of Computers and the Humanities in 1966! The Manual for Printing Literary Concordances by Computer was one of the first books published (again in 1966 by the University of Toronto Press.)
He started his talk by talking criticisms about online education. It is a big business. It is expensive to create a first-rate online course. How do we create courses that are sticky? What do we lose?
He talked about the introduction of a new technology in Argentina in 1857 .... the railroad. He coined a phrase "invention is the mother of necessity." The first railroad went off the rails - things were poorly planned. Pedagogy and technology must work in concert. If one invests in online courses you should make sure that you do the pedagogical planning. To prevent your online course from going under (like the Titanic) don't accept any untested assumptions.
Many institutions have been caught unprepared for the changes being forced upon them. We need research into education and deployment. When faculty are required to go online it sends shivers through a department. It causes dissension among those who don't believe in online technology. There are all sorts of infrastructure and intellectual property issues.
One worry is that instructors will have to do lots of online marking. We are told not to worry:
One wonders if we will see a global instruction/marking marking where first world lecturers are teamed with cheap teaching assistants from India who do the marking.
We need to be In the 15th century the invention of the printing press put lots of monks out of work. Computers have dramatically changed all sorts of professions.
A big issue is who will get the money if things work well. Look at the Coursera fine print.
Blended courses are an alternative. One can mix the online and face to face. In blended courses we can combine the familiar and new.
The rush of novelty has a way of panicking us into learning the latests when it may not be viable. Future hype is an issue. While students live in this fast world, too much speed can also alienate them. Flawed pacing can be an issue as much as flawed functionality. We want to create barrier-free digital architecture.
Grades are important to students. This is similar to real life where forms of assessment make a difference. In an online world marking is still important. Peer assessment can be problematic:
Collaboration has become important. It can be a cover for reducing the amount of marking and an alternative to peer assessment. Educational theorists love it. Collaboration online is difficult - there are lots of technologies to try, but they can lack the liveliness and simplicity of face-to-face.
Sharing is also popular among theorists, but it isn't clear if it is helpful. Sharing can force students into uncomfortable situations.
Utilization of effective teaching methods is an essential first step. Pedagogy should supplimented replaced by androgogy - the teaching of adults. Students have of the child and adult in them - we need address both.
He then reviewed some of the lessons he has learned:
Things to watch out for:
We will hopefully soon get to the point where it is not about what we can do, but what we will do?
It is important to check more than just that something innovative is happening - you want continuous quality - everything working smoothly.
He talked about how much work doing it right is.
Maria Glass and Liz Romero: A Practical Method to Create Engaging Online Courses
They work within a LMS (Blackboard) but their ideas can work on other platforms. They provided a checklist
Their method to developing a course includes:
They showed an example timeline where the students are first told to take on a role as a character (eg. they are journalists) and then given a series of tasks (which is the plot.) This leads to a final outcome (an interview of a local community member.)
They then showed an example course - English for Professional Purposes.
Emily Murphy: Shaping the Undergraduate Scholar-Citizen Through Critical DH Pedagogy
The term "digital humanities" doesn't make sense to undergraduates. Murphy disagrees. She thinks the discipline that influences things should be transparent and be explicitly recognized.
She then talked about the DH field school at the castle that Queens has in England. The field school http://dhbisc.queensu.ac.uk is two 6 week intensive courses. Once they have completed the field school they can apply for an assistantship with the Library where they work on projects. Their metaphor is the Scholar-Citizen. She questioned the discourse of "digital native". Digital native has all sorts of problematic metaphoric meanings - it suggests space, exclusion and so on. The digital apprentice is also problematic - it suggests that the person doesn't know digital and they have to spend time in it. The power relationship of the apprentice model is different from native model. The apprentice is someone who is mentored or inducted into a profession that has a hierarchical structure. The native/immigrant metaphor suggests that one can never be native.
At the heart of the metaphors are issues of inclusion and hierarchy.
The scholar-citizen model suggests:
Student assistantships follow the field school and provide funding for two students. Murphy gave examples. One student, Tiffany Chan, has worked on "How Did They Make That? For Undergraduate Projects".
What are the limits of the Scholar-Citizen? What are the limits of citizenship? How hard is it to become a citizen? Do we distort things by trying to be so inclusive? Does being a scholar-citizen mean you don't need to learn to belong?
I am also reminded of Heidegger's essay on "The Age of the World Picture" where he talks about how the scholar is being replaced by the researcher characterized by business and projects.
Mona Elayyan: Visual Eyes?: Introduction
I took an introduction to VisualEyes from the University of Virginia. Hard to take notes while doing a workshop.
Sam Popowich: Coding and Humanism
Popowich talked about how technological literacy has come to the forefront. From the public library perspective digital literacy takes the form of maker labs. From the staff side digital literacy is about programming, but programming culture has all sorts of problems. Promoting programming can privilege some. Can one adopt coding as a skill without closing our eyes to the inequalities in programming.
Agency and social class in the structures of information work. We live in the age of hyper-taylorism. Geek culture would seem to be a way out of the morass.
He talked about the tensions between formalists and interpreters. He drew on Anthony Grafton to distinguish:
Formalism: Over-engineered medieval forms of reading - books wrapped in formal interpretation Interpretative: Humanist new forms of books and reading - light books made to be mobile
Is Popovich fair to engineering culture?
He talked about Ruby and the agile informal approaches of the Ruby community. He sees programming languages as ways of seeing the world. Can we find ways to open a space for informal approaches. He talked about the principles of agile software development and how development can be thought of as a social activity.
We need new methods for thinkings about programming - think of it as software carpentry or weaving. Agile methods are grounded in a hermeneutic humanist philosophy. I can't help thinking that agile philosophies are grounded in ideas about independence and freedom - very liberal ideas.
He asked about professionalism and amateurism. Librarianship has a fraught relationship with professionalism. Librarianship can insist on certification and not be flexible. He wants to avoid over-engineering librarian programming.
Popovich then talked about openness and the open source initiative. He talked about how learning to code can be valuable. It helps people understand software and computational thinking. Coding allows us to play with data - to think through data. Building software undoes the alienation that comes from feeling manipulated by code.
He talked about how we should deconstruct the assumptions about programming and who can do it. He talked about collectives like http://exercism.io/
Learning to code can't happen in isolation. We need to think about alternative ways to structure code cultures.
There was an interesting question about whether the things we value in agile programming may not, in certain situations, prove difficult. Informal situations can be difficult for women who may not treated with respect. Hierarchies can provide pathways.
Day 3, Friday
Miriam Posner: Honoring Student's Labor: Why We Wrote a Student Collaborators' Bill of Rights
Posner talked about collaborating with students. At UCLA they are creating ad-hoc teams that have become a cap-stone project for their digital humanities minor. The teams work on a project of a senior scholars choosing with grad students and others.
This work raised a bunch of thorny issues about rights. This led to the A Student Collaborator's Bill of Rights. There is good evidence that unpaid internships are neither the path to job that students think they are and that they are exploitative. That said internships can be the place for learning certain skills.
She then talked about specific issues:
A number of interesting issues came up:
My understanding of Canadian copyright is that:
Note: I am not a lawyer - this is my flawed understanding.
Flipping the Classroom
We then had a panel on flipping the classroom. What is a flipped class? A flipped class typically has a different relationship between in and out of class activities:
Paul Chafe then talked about Flipping Into Something More Comfortable? He teaches an interdisciplinary writing course. They look at research and writing. Few students want to be in the course. Few like group work. He tried to keep the tech down and not appeal to multitask. He wants them to slow down. He wants them to do one thing and do one thing well.
He uses a laptop, Powerpoint, Camtasia Studio, a Wacom tablet, and the Ryerson server infrastructure. He showed a video of him talking through reading and marking up the text live. He models how students might think through the research. He also finds he has to nag students.
Then Val Lem and Kelly Dermody gave us the library perspective. They use Cahoot software to gamify certain activities.
They typically have 500 students in about 20 sections for an intro to the Library workshop. They have the problem of convincing students that research, libraries, citation, and so on are important. They try to raise issues about authority and narrative.
The structure of the
By the end they should have found 2 scholarly articles and were able explain why these were important to their research.
There was a great question about how flipping works if people don't do the pre-class work. Lectures at least allow the pretence that students had done the readings. Readings and discussion is a flipped classroom - the technology can only add surveillance. Paul answered that students who don't do anything find they can't participate which then encourages them to do the work (though some don't anyway.) This raises difficult issues of shaming.
At lunch we had a bunch of short talks.
Nancy Walton: eLearning Today
Walton is an ethicist and also the Director of E-Learning for Ryerson. eLearning at Ryerson goes from fully online courses to blended learning to fun stuff.
A lot of Ontario universities are looking to online degrees to make up for dropping enrolments. This raises all sorts of challenges. Most faculty want to do blended integration of digital.
She talked about the challenges:
Nancy's Twitter handle is @researchethics
Eric Kam and Michelle Schwartz: Learning and Teaching Office
Kam is the Director of the Learning and Teaching Office. He talked about how "our students age"; we do. There is a growing divide between us. First year students were born in 1997 - they haven't experienced what we take for granted. He uses technology to bond with youth.
Schwartz then talked about training that the Office offers. It is hard to be all things to all people. Faculty are anxious about the work of introducing digital. There have been lots of questions about privacy of data. They have developed resources on privacy and integrating outside resources into courses.
See their site at http://www.ryerson.ca/lt/ - they have a nice list of resources at http://www.ryerson.ca/lt/elearning/tech_tools.html
Lorraine Janzen Kooistra: Why I use digital assignments in my English classes
Kooistra is one of the Co-Directors of the Centre for Digital Humanities. She talked about using online publishing methods in the classroom and why she does so. She talked about the Children's Literature Archive at http://childrenslipt.library.ryerson.ca/ . Students helped develop the catalogue for the Archive. Students have been asked to curate exhibits from the collection.
Her philosophy of education includes the idea that students are producers, not merely consumers, of scholarly knowledge. Humanities courses have an obligation to prepare students to be thoughtful contributing citizens by teaching digital literacy in all its forms.
She talked about an example course where students looked at children's books and war and then submitted papers for publication on a blog. The project copyrighted the work to the students and published the work using a Creative Commons license (with the student's permission.) Students could opt out of publishing.
Madeleine Lefebvre: About the Library
Lefebvre, the Chief Librarian, talked about the tour we were going to get of the library and Student Learning Centre and Digital Media Experience Lab. the new library just opened. They have a new plan to move to a collaboratory model - a model of a space without books that will inspire people to collaborate.
Tour Student Learning Centre
We got a tour of the Student Learning Centre - a brand new and very cool building. They building had a number of interesting ideas about configuring space for student learning including:
Much of the design of the SLC came from students and it seemed as if it were evolving into a totally student driven idea of learning.
Mona Elayyan: Voyant Tools
Elayyan gave a Voyant workshop at the end. She was kind enough to let me attend and I learned watching someone else present.
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