I recently co-taught a module on Digital Skills for Research Postgraduates in the Humanities and Social Sciences (PG6011/DH6014) with my colleague Paul O’Shea in University College Cork. We designed and delivered this one day intensive workshop aimed at introducing research postgraduates (MA MPhil, PhD) to a range of digital tools and skills that they can use to enhance and disseminate their research. Paul and I also co-taught Editing Skills for Research Postgraduates in the Humanities and Social Sciences (PG6010/DH6014) in the first semester. These modules are co-ordinated by Orla Murphy.
— Orla Murphy (@omurphy16) November 14, 2014
When I began my PhD I took this module and it transformed the way I viewed and approached my research. A few years later, it was a pleasure to oversee the module alongside Paul. We designed a schedule that balanced conceptual discussions with practical activities. The challenge was to produce a curriculum that would be palatable for those who needed a complete introduction as well as challenging for those who already used digital skills and tools for their research. To this end we decided to use a crowdsourcing project as part of the practical element. Using Letters of 1916, students were asked to transcribe several letters in class and as part of their assessment (many thanks to Karolina Badzmierowska for joining us via Skype to introduce the project). Students who already had knowledge of XML would see it in use in an interesting way, and be able to consider the challenges of encoding letters written in various formats. Students with no prior knowledge of XML would be presented with a gentle but challenging introduction.
Paul and I decided to live tweet the class using #TeachTEI as our main hashtag, as well as #TeachingInPublic and #Letters1916. Given the collaborative nature of our approach, and our feeling that digital humanities represents a democratic turn in research practices and dissemination, we see #TeachingInPublic as part of that transparency. In the Prezi he made for the workshop Paul calls this “breaking out of the box.”
Additionally, live tweeting allows us to take the conversation outside of the classroom. To this end, I created the following Storify which gives more details of the workshop contents.