Accelerating DH Education

workshop / tutorial
  1. 1. Elli Bleeker

    Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW)

  2. 2. Johanna de Groot


  3. 3. Aodhán Kelly

    Open University

  4. 4. Martine Schophuizen

    Open University

  5. 5. Sally Wyatt

    Maastricht University

Work text
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This workshop will allow DH practitioners to exchange experiences in DH education, and to voice and explore ideas and hopes for the near future. The topic of education is explored, firstly, from the perspective of the pedagogies for DH practices and, secondly, regarding the ways in which DH resources facilitate learning via digital means across broader society. The workshop seeks to create a forum that brings together DH practitioners with specialists in educational sciences and digital innovation. The workshop is open to anyone who is involved or interested in the creation of educational resources in DH. The organisers have made a special effort to include specialists from outside the DH community with expertise in educational sciences and digital innovation. The outcome of this workshop is primarily one of community building, whereby DH practitioners interested in pedagogy can discuss ways to move forward in the near future and to potentially consider the idea of composing a shared strategic agenda on this topic.

Well over half a century since the beginning of computational approaches to the humanities, digital methods have become more and more embedded in the academic establishment. The primary outputs of much DH work are of course the digital editions, archives, libraries, databases and various tools that, among other purposes, can act as educational resources for the humanities. Additionally, Digital Humanities provides pedagogical resources for its practitioners in an abundant multitude of forms. A clear example of this extreme diversity is the
Digital Humanities Course Registry maintained by DARIAH and CLARIN (2014). This list is one example of attempts currently underway to bring this complex web of educational resources into some sort of manageable form, further examples include the online learning platform
dariahTeach (DARIAH, 2017) and the MLA's
Digital Pedagogy in the Humanities (Davis et al, 2015).

It comes as no surprise that such a vast array of educational resources have been developed in DH. The community is characterised by its high level of interdisciplinarity, its commitment to digital innovation and experimentation, and a strong DIY mentality. However, it might also be fair to say that the approach to pedagogy in the creation of such digital tools has been largely ad-hoc. The valuable efforts after-the-fact to map the complex web of educational materials mentioned above opens up the question of what DH would look like with more shared and planned pedagogical strategies.
Over the last two years a conglomeration of all research universities and universities of applied sciences in the Netherlands drew up and agreed upon what was called the
Acceleration Plan for Educational Innovation with ICT (VSNU et al, 2018). This four-year plan identifies eight areas in which Dutch universities could benefit from a shared approach to educational innovation on a national level. These include transitioning to digital open teaching aids and materials; and evidence-based educational innovation with ICT. Sessions in this workshop will focus on both the question of ‘openness’ in DH educational resources and the extent to which pedagogical approaches can be seen as evidence-based. Using this strategic plan as a focal point and inspiration for DH, the workshop asks the question: If we innovate together strategically, using open and evidence-based approaches, can we achieve more as a community in DH education?

Topics of the workshop include (but are not limited to) the following:

DH pedagogy in practice
We intend to take stock of existing types of DH educational resources, course materials and pedagogical approaches, focusing largely on the question of how DH practitioners develop their skill sets and on the resources that are available to them. On what grounds can a selection of necessary skills be made, working towards establishing foundational DH skills? At the same time, can we successfully deal with the persistent view that one needs to know ‘everything’, from traditional humanities to computer science skills? Furthermore, we consider the pedagogical strategies that are being implemented to teach DH skills to students. This includes identifying the strengths and weaknesses of the current status quo, and looking at the possibility to evaluate the effectiveness of teaching through an evidence-based discussion. Topics may include (but are not limited to):

DH methodologies
Coding and text encoding
Programming languages
Tools and tool evaluation/criticism
Data modelling
Interdisciplinary collaborations; collaborative grant writing

Open Education
This topic explores the question of openness in DH educational resources both from an educational sciences perspective and from the experience of developing and running open DH education in practice.

What does ‘open’ mean in the context of Digital Humanities education?
The term ‘open’ has been applied to a wide variety of contexts, including government, science, data and education. The increased use of the term ‘open’ has made its meaning become increasingly ambiguous, which could also lead to misinterpretation and unrealistic expectations in terms of outcomes (Kalz, 2014). In other words, ‘open’ often means different things to different social actors, confirming an early statement of Hyland (1979) who described the field as ‘eclectic’. In this part of the session we will address the term in its multiple formulations, zoom in on the aspects that could be of relevance to Digital Humanities education and discuss some of the implications.

There are increasing numbers of MOOCs being developed by the DH community. Recent examples include those available by the
dariahTeach platform, which provides courses on introducing DH, TEI encoding, digital scholarly editions, digitisation and multimodal literacies. Many of the MOOCs from the DH community are developed with a certain consideration and awareness of good pedagogical practices, to the extent that there even exists a meta-MOOC or a MOOC on MOOCs (Stommel, 2012). This part of the session will include guest speaker(s) that have been recently involved in the development and implementation of a MOOC in DH to discuss their experience about this format and engage in debate around the theories of open educational resources.

Agenda for innovation
The focus of this topic is to identify potential shared strategies for the future of DH Education. The aforementioned Dutch Acceleration Plan for Innovation in Education with ICT will form one of the focal points and will be discussed in more detail both on a conceptual and content level as an exercise in strategic thinking. By doing this, the aim is to explore if this kind of method could be applied to DH and what that might look like, in other words, how to practically formulate a shared strategy for DH education.
It will raise a number of questions for debate, such as:

Can we assemble a shared set of key desiderata for innovation in DH education?
How can we move towards evidence-based innovation in education?
Can we promote a structured rather than ad-hoc approach to developing learning resources, do we need to keep it disruptive, or can some sort of balance be found, and how?

This workshop will take place over a half-day on the morning of Monday 8 July and will include three sessions. Each session will begin with presentations followed by discussions. The final session will be a summative discussion with a focus on future strategies. Participants are welcome to submit in advance a 5 to 10 minute lightning talk relating to one of the three sessions in an area in which they have experience or expertise (deadline 6th May).

The outcome of this workshop is primarily one of community building, whereby DH practitioners interested in pedagogy can discuss ways to move forward in the near future and to potentially consider the idea of composing a shared strategic agenda on this topic.

Contributors (alphabetical)

Elli Bleeker

Elli Bleeker is a postdoctoral researcher in the Research and Development Team at the Humanities Cluster, part of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. She specializes in digital scholarly editing and computational philology, with a focus on modern manuscripts and genetic criticism. Elli completed her PhD at the Centre for Manuscript Genetics (2017) on the role of the scholarly editor in the digital environment. As a Research Fellow in the Marie Sklodowska-Curie funded network DiXiT (2013–2017), she received advanced training in manuscript studies, text modelling, and XML technologies.

Johanna de Groot

Johanna de Groot is programme manager of the Acceleration Plan for Educational Innovation with ICT that was initiated by the Association of Universities in the Netherlands, the Association of Universities of Applied Sciences and SURF. Johanna’s main expertise is in project management and educational policy. After working for eight years as a project manager at VU University, she moved to the Hague to work as a policy adviser on education at the Association of Universities. Currently Johanna works at SURF: the collaborative ICT organisation for Dutch education and research.

Aodhán Kelly

Aodhán Kelly is a postdoctoral researcher at the Welten Institute in the Open University of The Netherlands and visiting researcher at the Centre for Education and Learning at Leiden-Delft-Erasmus. Aodhán completed a PhD in 2017 at the Centre for Manuscript Genetics at the University of Antwerp on ‘Disseminating digital scholarly editions of textual cultural heritage’. His doctoral funding and training was provided by DiXiT (2013-2017), an EU funded Marie Sklodowska-Curie network. Aodhán is currently engaged as a researcher investigating the digitalization of learning and education within the ‘Digital Society’ national initiative of the Association of Universities in the Netherlands (VSNU).

Martine Schophuizen

Martine’s background lies in Psychology and Learning Sciences, she obtained her bachelor and masters degree at Maastricht University. She is now working as a PhD candidate at the Welten Institute of the Dutch Open University in Heerlen. Her research is centered around the question to what extent Open Online Education is embedded in higher learning institutions. She will mainly focus on the organisational (pre)conditions that lead to success, the effect of Open Online Education on the organisation, and the contribution it has towards the quality of education and educational innovation.

Sally Wyatt

Sally Wyatt is Professor of Digital Cultures at Maastricht University. She originally studied economics (at McGill University in Canada and the University of Sussex in England). Her main intellectual affinity is with Science and Technology Studies (STS). For many years, her research has focused on digital technologies, both how they are used by people wishing to inform themselves about health-related issues, and how scholars themselves use digital technologies in the creation of knowledge. She is one of the three coordinators of the ‘Digital Society’ initiative of the VSNU.

DARIAH. (2017). DH teaching material open-source, high quality, multilingual teaching materials for the digital arts and humanities.
(accessed 10 January 2019).

DARIAH and CLARIN. (2014). Digital Humanities Course Registry.
(accessed 10 January 2019).

Davis, R. F., Gold, M. K., Harris, K. D. and Sayers, J
. (2015). Digital Pedagogy in the Humanities: Concepts, Models, and Experiments.
(accessed 10 January 2019).

Hyland, J. T. (1979). Open education: a slogan examined.
Educational Studies, 5(1), 35-41.

doi: 10.1080/0305569790050105
Kalz, M. (2014). Lifelong learning and its support with new technologies. In J. D. Wright
International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences, 14 (2), 93–99.

Stommel, J. (2012). MOOC MOOC.
(accessed 10 January 2019).

VSNU, VH, SURF. (2018). Acceleration plan for educational innovation with ICT.
(accessed 10 January 2019).

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Conference Info

In review

ADHO - 2019

Hosted at Utrecht University

Utrecht, Netherlands

July 9, 2019 - July 12, 2019

436 works by 1162 authors indexed

Series: ADHO (14)

Organizers: ADHO