Reflections on DHSI 2017

Chelcie Juliet Rowell (@ararebit) is the Digital Scholarship Librarian & History Liaison at Boston College. She attended DHSI with support from a DLF+DHSI Cross-Pollinator Tuition Fellowship.




Earlier this summer I attended the Digital Humanities Summer Institute in beautiful British Columbia with the support of a DLF + DHSI Cross-Pollinator Tuition Award and travel funding from Boston College Libraries.

My fellow learners in the ‘Digital Humanities Pedagogy: Integration in the Curriculum’ course taught by Diane Jakacki included disciplinary faculty, graduate students, librarians, and instructional designers. The focus of the course touched upon tools for doing DH in the classroom, of course, such as Omeka, Voyant, TimelineJS, and ArcGIS. More importantly, however, our discussion and lab time anchored the use of these tools within humanities research methods, as well as instructional design principles. What do we hope students will know or do as a result of creating a story map using ArcGIS? How do we appropriately scaffold such an assignment? (Hint: Double your time estimate.) How do we assess student work? For more insight into our curious, critical, reflective, unabashedly goofy conversations throughout the week in the digital humanities pedagogy course, browse the #dhped hashtag on Twitter.


Finding your DH identity at DHSI.

As other cross-pollinators Rebecca Chung and John Edward Martin already wrote, the DHSI experience extends beyond classroom walls. There are short workshops, social events, a colloquium, an unconference—too much to do it all! This year Paige Morgan and Yvonne Lam, stalwart founders of the DHSI unconference, passed the torch to me and Julia Polyck-O’Neill during Week 2 of DHSI.


The DHSI unconference creates space for still more participant-driven learning during lunch sessions. The 2016 unconference included overviews of network analysis, regular expressions, and web scraping. Not deep methodological dives, these overviews answer questions such as “Why would I use this method?” and “Where can I learn more?” Other sessions were critical discussions about revising the DHSI inclusivity statement or ideation sessions to design a DHSI workshop on anti-, de-, and post-colonial DH. Keep an eye out for that workshop, which I am told will be offered at DHSI 2018! The DHSI unconference is not to be confused with DLFxDHSI taking place next year, which includes an unconference component, as well as a keynote speaker, poster and digital demo session, and a reception.

I came to DHSI with a keen interest in DH and teaching, an interest that has been honed through my participation in DLF’s Digital Library Pedagogy group. And while I’ve worked closely with faculty and students to incorporate digital methods and tools into courses, I sometimes felt like I was making it up as I go along, without a grounding in teaching. Being a part of the DH pedagogy course at DHSI affirmed the expertise I already bring to digitally inflected teaching and learning, while at the same time empowering me to become a continually searching, continually reflecting teacher.

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