Who Teaches When We Teach DH?

poster / demo / art installation
  1. 1. Diane Katherine Jakacki

    Bucknell University

  2. 2. Brian Croxall

    Brigham Young University

Work text
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As the digital humanities have rapidly gained prominence and attention over the last decade, learning has shifted from individual experiences at training environments such as THATCamps and Institutes to more formal institutional instruction. This means that the number of people
digital humanities (DH) has had to increase. Who are these teachers? Where do they teach? Who are they teaching? What support do they have from their institutions? These questions are some that we hope to answer through a survey of those teaching DH—in any capacity.

In this poster, we will present the work that we have done to develop a survey of those teaching digital humanities throughout the world. First, we will discuss the development of the survey, including the process of securing (cross-)institutional review board approval and eliciting feedback from the broader DH community. Second, we will outline the methodology we have employed in developing the survey in order to best ascertain how and who these teachers are. Among these will be reports we receive from external reviewers of our survey from colleagues at institutions throughout the world. Third, we will begin in real time the data collection at the conference. At our poster, we plan to provide individuals with devices with which they can take the survey, thereby making this poster presentation truly interactive. We will also have print materials with links to the survey that we will distribute at the poster session and throughout the conference. Insofar as our research team is comprised of individuals from one continent, we are especially excited about the opportunity to reach a global audience in Utrecht so that our data can be as representative as possible.
Some of what we hope to glean from the survey includes:

Basic demographics (age, gender, race/ethnicity) of those teaching DH
Information about the environments in which this teaching occurs; for example, whether individuals are teaching in conventional courses, one-off workshops, week-long training institutes
Information about teacher’s institutional homes (if any) and their employment status within those institutions
Information about teachers’ own training in DH and how that informs their approaches to teaching (see Jakacki [2016])

Information about the level of course being taught (introductory, methodological, survey, disciplinary or interdisciplinary, graduate/undergraduate) and its sophistication (how “DHy” must a course be in order for it to satisfy curricular requirements?)

Information about how instructors think about student participation in research-based learning (see Jenstad & Takeda [2017] and Keralis & Andrews [2018])

Even as we write a phrase such as “basic demographic information,” we must acknowledge that individuals’ demographics are
“basic.” But as the world has moved from seeing categories such as gender as non-binary, so too has the concept of teaching within the digital humanities expanded to include many different types of instructors. In particular, we see this as one of the first ‘tangible’ opportunities to engage in serious dialogue about the complexities of DH pedagogy in interdisciplinary,  interinstitutional, and international contexts. Our goal is to reveal the complexities of these teaching experiences and challenge our colleagues to develop best pedagogical practices.

Data collection, which will begin in Utrecht, will continue for 6 weeks after the conference, with notifications being sent out via Humanist, DHSI, Digital Library Federation, HASTAC, and other appropriate listservs, as well as social media, including Facebook and Twitter, and direct invitations to individuals the authors know teach digital humanities. The data will then be collected and analyzed prior to publication in a forthcoming volume on digital humanities pedagogy. This survey will certainly not be the first conducted in the field of digital humanities. As such, we will be building on the work of Nowviskie and Porter (2010), who surveyed those caring for “end of life” DH projects, similarly beginning at the 2010 DH Conference in London; Sula, Hackney, and Cunningham (2017), who examined the range of DH programs, including minors and majors; and Rasmussen, Croxall, and Otis (2017), who conducted oral interviews with those teaching DH in libraries and concluded that a broad survey of DH pedagogues was needed (p. 85).  


Jakacki, D. (2016). How We Teach? Digital Humanities Pedagogy in an Imperfect World. Canadian Society for Digital Humanities/Société canadienne des humanités numériques 2016. Calgary, Canada. Retrieved from


(26 November 2018).

Jenstad, J., & Takeda, J. (2017). Making the RA Matter: Pedagogy, Interface, and Practice. In J. Sayers (Ed.)
Making Things and Drawing Boundaries
. University of Minnesota Press.

Keralis, S. B., & Andrews, P. (2018). Labor. In R. Frost Davis, M. K. Gold, K. D. Harris, & J. Sayers (Eds.),
Digital Pedagogy in the Humanities: Concepts, Models, and Experiments
. Modern Language Association. Retrieved from


(26 November 2018).

Nowviskie, B., & Porter, D. (2010). The Graceful Degradation Survey: Managing Digital Humanities Projects Through Times of Transition and Decline.
Digital Humanities 2010: Conference Abstracts
. Retrieved from


(26 November 2018).

Rasmussen, H., Croxall, B., & Otis, J. (2017). Exploring How and Why Digital Humanities is Taught in Libraries. In J. R. Eyre, J. C. Malachlan, & C. Williford (Eds.),
A Splendid Torch: Learning and Teaching in Today’s Academic Libraries
, CLIR Report 174, pp. 69 - 88. Retrieved from


(26 November 2018).

Sula, C. A., Hackney, S. E., & Cunningham, P. (2017). A Survey of DH Programs. Innovations in Digital Humanities Pedagogy: Local, National, and International Training. Digital Humanities 2017. Montreal, Canada.

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