Each week, we will begin Monday at 9 to allow for childcare arrangements. You are welcome to arrive at 8.30 as per the official schedule, but I will not begin until 9. Consequently, I will also not be stopping for the remainder of the scheduled time. Feel free to bring croissants, coffee, toast, etc. Scrambled eggs are to be avoided as they are messy.
Each week, a designated person will take us through their engagement with a particular Programming Historian tutorial, as indicated below. There will be readings to support this engagement; I will discuss these individually with you once we divy up the work. Some will highlight uses of the approach, or perhaps issues with the approach, or could've usefully been improved by the approach... or... or... or. I will expect you to also clearly articulate connections in other research you've done, read, or courses you're taking/have taken (this alone is an important habit to cultivate.) You can also bring digital history projects in the wild into the discussion.
(nb Even if it's not your week to present, it will be a richer experience if you've given the tutorial a shot as well.)
The remaining time will run along the lines of a mini ThatCamp. That is, I expect you to have a sense before class of things you want to work on/discuss/collaborate on. As Thatcamp.org says:
at an unconference, the program isn’t set beforehand: it’s created on the first day with the help of all the participants rather than beforehand by a program committee. Second, at an unconference, there are no presentations — all participants in an unconference are expected to talk and work with fellow participants in every session. An unconference is to a conference what a seminar is to a lecture; going to an unconference is like being a member of an improv troupe whereas going to a conference is (mostly) like being a member of an audience.
I've had far too many seminars that felt like dreadful dreadful conferences. So, let's give this a try. One thing that I think I would like you to discuss every session: how does this particular tutorial move us closer to the final project goal? What could we do with this? How can we open this thing up even mmore?
These sessions will be opportunities for the more techy to help the less, for the more theoretically inclined to help the more methodologically inclined. I will say this though:
doing embodies theories of knowing and how you do things reveals what you know. So know what you're doing.
The sequence of lessons we will go through mirrors the progression of a digital history research project - setting up your environment/project/workflow; data capture; data munging; analysis; visualizations; public consumption.
Because of an MA examination in which I am participating and cannot reschedule, this session will be led by Mr. Rob Blades and Mr. Shawn Anctil. Rob will help you set up your online notebooks, which are required in this class, as well as your github accounts. Rob and Shawn have worked on many digital projects, some with me, and they can give you an honest accounting of what I am like to work with, and how I tend to work. I would ask also that you take the opportunity to discuss as a class the course website and syllabus materials; Shawn A (actually, Rob) will moderate this discussion. As a class, I would like you to collaboratively come up with a list of
- the things you like concerning the course plan, - the things that concern you, - and the things where you feel you need more information. - a general sense of where the class is, technologically - a census of operating systems & experience. - no names need be attached. Rob will give me this list and I can address them at the subsequent meeting.
I appreciate that starting the course without me present might feel a bit odd, but I feel that without me the conversation you would have about those issues will be more genuine and useful. I thank you in advance for your flexibility on this matter. As one of the few people around who can examine digital MA work, I am sometimes not able to schedule things as I would like.
Discussion of the concerns voiced in the previous meeting. Confirmation that everyone's open notebook is set up and that we understand what is required, and how things will roll out. Earlier in the year, I set up a project for a class of high school history students in Ottawa. In the context of the resources I listed under the final project page we will play these games and discuss what the students have done well, and what 'could have been even better if...'.
We will attempt to define for ourselves the hallmarks of good history through this particular medium, as evidenced by these games (and others you may know). I hope to have Sean Tudor from the Canada Science and Technology Museum visit with us to discuss that earlier moment in video game history, when games were text based but transgressed media. These lessons we will apply to our final project.
(For contrast, and I'm not assigning this but do give it a look, my own lesson on the Canadiana.ca API)
Playing the games of digital history
Feedback on your games of digital history
It is my hope that we can perhaps publish your final projects with The Programming Historian or other suitable venue. As you will discover, text-based tutorials only go so far... and the process of translating how we do digital history into a medium of representation for history should be illuminating...