Archive for the ‘Graduate education’ Category

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THATcamp – the OA genre in conferencing

October 26, 2012

As mentioned in an earlier blog, I attended my first THATcamp at Brown University last weekend. It was productive, relaxed, entirely ego- and hierarchy-free (as far as I could tell), and a welcome new experience in how to exchange information. I also second Roger’s call for open access, as that was among the discussions pursued with a number of colleagues. Having served as the co-editor of an open access journal (Flusser Studies) since 2005, it is refreshing to realize how much support OAPublishing receives now. The session on OAJournals, in particular, pointed to a number of models, mostly produced on wordpress these days (including DH Quarterly; JHNA; or the entire directory), and The Public Knowledge Project. So time to upgrade, update, integrate, and think about how interactive an online journal can and should be. After all, social media may facilitate scholarly dialogue right on the site. If you need collaborators, look to DH Commons. If you seek a multi-media platform, check out SCALAR (for those in media and interarts studies, this one is fascinating). And check out this neat project on visualizing Jazz networks. For more information, go to the THATcamp summary. For next year’s THATcamp New England, join us on the UConn campus.

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Open access, for anyone who still doesn’t understand why the academic publishing industry needs reform.

October 26, 2012

Just, yes. I like that it’s colored blue, because I’ve been shouting this until I’m blue in the face.

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Dare to Remediate

February 10, 2012

I cannot say it any better than Alison Byerly, Provost at Middlebury College, who has this to offer to those who still think in “old” and “new” media terms:

“Digital humanities needs to be understood not as a separate field, but as a standard form of scholarly communication. […] Acknowledging that even ‘finished’ works are part of an ongoing dialogue is the first step towards appreciating the value of digital scholarship that may create opportunities and affordances rather than producing products. This in turn may help defuse the fetishization of productivity that increases the expectation of scholarly output while simultaneously decreasing our capacity to engage in dialogue about the works of others, creating what Mark Bauerlein recently described as a ‘supersaturation’ of humanities research. In this way, the need to recognize and validate digital work differently provides a paradigm that is useful and
extendable to the profession as whole.”

“Perhaps more than the specific modes of analysis it offers, the kind of openness and collaboration that has always been a fundamental value of the digital humanities community may be its greatest gift to the humanities. The humanities are, after all, the
original open source learning platform. The humanities once spoke to wide audiences about fundamental and important questions. Our current state of crisis comes from our readiness to limit our roles as educators to educating ourselves.”

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The monograph: if it was good enough for our forebears. . .

February 10, 2012

Here’s a model of not getting it, by Gary Olson, courtesy of the Chronicle.

While flexibility is certainly called for, a rush to jettison the monograph-style dissertation could have several negative implications. Some veteran faculty members worry that graduate students and young faculty members—all members of the fast-paced digital world—are losing their capacity to produce long, in-depth, sustained projects (such as monographs).

Could it be that long, in-depth, sustained projects aren’t as valuable as we were told they were?

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Games, MOOC’s and the Ph.D. today

February 4, 2012

Couldn’t agree more, Roger, about all those points below! Here’s the Chronicle chiming in, with a report on the New Media Horizon Project:

“One hundred experts from higher education, K-12, and museum education identified 28 “metatrends” that will influence education in the future. The 10 most important, according to a New Media Consortium announcement about the retreat, include global adoption of mobile devices, the rise of cloud computing, and transparency movements that call into question traditional notions of content ownership concerning digital materials. […] Of the top 10 trends the group flagged, Mr. Johnson said one of the most interesting conversations to emerge was about open data and open-educational resources. As the group discussed these issues, he said, the participants began to think about transparency “as a value” rather than a buzzword.”

Frankly, I see administrators and students (undergrad and grad) talk about the new media horizons, but the landscape remains the same: faculty is supposed to publish analog since review and PTR committees in the humanities still ogle digital publications and digital work in general with suspicion (except for bringing in money with MOOC’s). I don’t care. In my modernism and media seminar I ask grad students to produce analog AND digital work since I would otherwise a) completely ignore the trends above, b) set them up for failure in a world that simply stomps far ahead of academic parameters, and c) diminish their creative and scholarly potential: they form a transitional generation that should take advantage of all these possibilities and resources and educate their own students in entirely new ways.

We owe it to our students (grad and undergrad) to acknowledge these trends and integrate them into the university apparatus – in teaching, scholarship, and service. Essentially, I face the same questions as my grad students: do I spend time learning a new game (anything from the popular Angry Birds, a favorite of my son’s, to Minecraft, a real hit among kids with Asperger’s), do I compose a critical video article, engage in digital story telling or create a website – just a few possibilities among the many forms of presenting ideas in multi-media and multi-modal  forms (none of which are categorized on my PTR form)? Or do I write yet another analog article or book that will get me a promotion, following peer-review and a 2-year (at least) process of submission, revision, and finally holding the printed product in my hands? Why should the creation and dissemination of ideas and knowledge take so darn long? Why should it only be black and white? Why are we not all playing to learn? It’s a dilemma, at least for now, in higher ed. It shouldn’t be.

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The implications for our graduate programs of such things as forking

February 4, 2012

We need to start teaching our graduate students differently.

“Many of these students,” the authors wrote, “will not find tenure-track positions teaching history in colleges and universities”—and it’s time to stop pretending otherwise. The job market “is what it is.” We face no “transient ‘crisis,'” but rather “the situation that we have lived with for two generations.”

That’s the president and executive director of the American Historical Association, quoted in the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Digital media and digital culture didn’t create the problem, though one sometimes thinks that one’s colleagues think so, so disdainful are some of them of the engagement with the present that does in fact pose a mortal threat to the traditional, now-nearly-useless, humanities PhD. Rather, digital media presents one of the solutions: digital humanists will be trained in things like database management; in online-community development; dare I say, in sophisticated coding?

Personally, I have a hope that the PhD itself will either transform so as not to include the kind of dissertation that now provides its ultimate certification, or will decrease so far and so visibly in usefulness that the people we hire will rarely have one. But if the structure of the ancient degree is to remain essentially the same, the concerns voiced in the linked article can no longer be ignored.