Skills 2001: an IT Odyssey

  1. 1. Grazyna Cooper

    Centre for Humanities Computing - Oxford University

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Introductory Summary
The Centre for Humanities Computing, one of the components of Humanities Computing Unit at Oxford University Computing Services was one of the earliest centres of its kind in the academic world and has grown organically in response to the needs of its users and relevant developments in Information Technology.
This paper describes the model developed by the Centre for Humanities Computing, for working with humanities scholars in applying Information Technology in their studies and research.

The Centre for Humanities Computing has had a long experience of teaching IT skills. In the past 8 years, the Centre for Humanities Computing has developed introductory all-day workshops for the Humanities scholars. However, the mushrooming of techniques and resources is continuously forcing the unit to evaluate, change and refine the methods of teaching Information Technology to humanities scholars. We are now creating subject-specific courses to enable scholars to understand fully what is available to them electronically in order to enhance their work.
Modules Taught
1.) Current Teaching Programme
Our teaching is structured as far as possible to reflect different abilities or amounts of knowledge in Information Technology. This is accomplished on two levels:

Through a questionnaire before the start of each course to ascertain the student's level of Information Technology competence
Through an evaluation form at the end of every course to find out how useful the courses have been and what the participants got out of it.
Both these forms enable us to fine tune the courses better and match them to the needs of the participants.

Our teaching programme is divided into the following modules:

Induction Talks to Humanities Faculties (Introductory level course aimed at postgraduates)
Undergraduate Training Afternoons (Introductory level)
Humanities Training Days (Full day workshops for postgraduates and academic staff: giving an overview of the process of research related to electronic and computer techniques available) Subject-Specific IT Training Afternoons (Aimed at postgraduates)
How Scholars Can Research on the Web: Scholarly On-line Resources and Search Engines
Techniques for Publishing on the Web: HotMetal and Good Web Design
CAUDIT: Creating, Analysing and Using Digital Text. (Aimed at postgraduates and staff)
TESS: Text Encoding Summer School (An international workshop aimed at scholars working on their own text encoding projects)
2.) Future Teaching Programmes in the planning stage

Bibliographies, Bibliographic Databases & Bibliographic Software (A one day workshop for postgraduates and academics)
Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Fonts But Were Afraid to Ask.(A one day workshop for postgraduates and academics)
Essential IT Skills for Lecturers
We will also consider briefly the two other major centres for Humanities Computing in the UK: Glasgow University and King's College, London. We will compare and contrast the way they structure their courses with what is being offered at the Centre for Humanities Computing at Humanities Computing Unit.

Strategies for Publicizing and Marketing our Services
We reach scholars through our workshops, the Humanities Computing in Oxford Newsletter, seminars with invited speakers, the Humanities Computing Unit web pages, and our face-to-face on-demand advisory services.
If we are to be of real benefit to humanities scholars, we have to keep upgrading our own skills. This is a pressing and permanent factor in our work. Every year more and more students come to us who are already knowledgeable about Information Technology. We have to keep up with the changes in the level of expertise we have to offer, from those who are already relatively computer literate to those who do not have the rudiments of using a keyboard.

Since the Dearing Report,[1] Information Technology training is increasingly seen as an indispensable part of graduate and indeed undergraduate training. Our Unit is well placed to monitor this field and keep its skills and training programmes up to date. A major aspect of our services and a major point in our mission is to offer humanities scholars continuity from year to year.

We are developing increasingly sophisticated courses at the Centre for Humanities Computing and we will explain the changes which we are currently making with an historical overview of the past situation. Courses for different faculties can have a common core, but we also need to customise courses for each faculty's needs. This is initially time-consuming but it is always challenging work. We have to consult with members of different faculties and their IT committees. Overall, we must be sympathetic to a wide range of disciplines and their requirements and work together with them in mutual support.

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Conference Info

In review


Hosted at University of Virginia

Charlottesville, Virginia, United States

June 9, 1999 - June 13, 1999

102 works by 157 authors indexed

Series: ACH/ICCH (19), ALLC/EADH (26), ACH/ALLC (11)

Organizers: ACH, ALLC

  • Keywords: None
  • Language: English
  • Topics: None