On January 23rd and 24th, Jason Mittell, faculty director of the DLA, went to an exciting meeting in Cambridge, MA, focused on peer review transparency. Sponsored by the Open Society Foundations, the meeting brought together scholars, publishers, editors, representatives of scholarly societies, and other interested parties to discuss how making the processes of peer review more transparent can help foster greater legitimacy for open access publishing and reassert the importance and validity of academic writing.
Jason was representing Lever Press, the open-access publisher that emerged out of a consortium of liberal arts colleges, and presented on “Many Flavors of Open Review,” highlighting the work that he and Chris Keathley have done to co-create and run the video essay journal [in]Transition via an innovative form of open peer review.
Come hear Professor Cathy Davidson, Distinguished Professor and Founding Director of the Futures Initiative at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, Wednesday, January 10th, 4:30pm, Dana Auditorium
In The New Education: How to Revolutionize the University to Prepare Students for a World in Flux, Professor Cathy N. Davidson argues that the American university is stuck in the past—and shows how we can revolutionize it to prepare students for our age of constant change. Our current system of higher education dates to the period from 1865 to 1925, when the nation’s new universities created grades and departments, majors and minors, graduate and professional schools in an attempt to prepare young people for a world transformed by the telegraph and the Model T. This approach to education worked for most of the 20th century, says Davidson, but is unsuited to the rapidly changing “gig economy.” From the Ivy League to community colleges, Davidson introduces us to innovators who are remaking college for our own time, by emphasizing student-centered learning that values creativity, dexterity, innovation, and social change. In this talk she shows how we can revolutionize our universities to help students be leaders of change, not simply subject to it.
Cathy N. Davidson, educational innovator and a distinguished scholar of the history of technology, is an outspoken proponent of active ways of learning that help students to understand and navigate the radically changed global world in which we now all live, work, and learn. The 2016 recipient of the Ernest J. Boyer Award for Significant Contributions to Higher Education, she champions new ideas and methods for learning and professional development–in school, in the workplace, and in everyday life.
Davidson was appointed to the National Council on the Humanities by President Obama (2011-2017) and serves on the Board of Directors of Mozilla. A frequent speaker and consultant on institutional change at universities, non-profits, corporations, and other organizations, Davidson writes for the Harvard Business Review, Wall Street Journal, Fast Company, The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Washington Post, Times Higher Ed, as well as many other academic and trade publications in the U.S. and abroad. She has published some twenty books on technology, the history of the book, literature, education, and cognitive neuroscience, including Revolution and the Word: The Rise of the Novel in America; Closing: The Life and Death of an American Factory, with documentary photographer Bill Bamberger; The Future of Thinking: Learning Institutions in a Digital Age, with David Theo Goldberg; and Now You See It: How the Brain Science of Attention Will Transform the Way We Live, Work, and Learn.
Her most recent book, The New Education: How to Revolutionize the University to Prepare Students for a World in Flux, was published in September of 2017 by Basic Books. The title recalls Harvard President Charles Eliot’s 1869 manifesto which laid the groundwork for reshaping the Puritan college into the modern university, designed to train and credential America’s new professional-managerial class. Instead, Davidson argues, we need a “new education” to transform the university we have inherited for the one we need now. Rather than resisting new technologies, she places them in the context of past technological changes and helps us to master them in order that they do not master us. “I would not now be a good analyst of the Internet as cultural, political, and technological force,” Davidson has said, “if I had not been trained as a historian of the book as a cultural, political, and technological force.”
Sponsored by the Office of the President, the Center for Teaching, Learning, and Research, the Library, and the Digital Liberal Arts Initiative
Faculty Director Jason Mittell sent a version of this note to the Middlebury community at the start of the Fall 2017 semester:
I am writing with an update on the Digital Liberal Arts Initiative. As many of you know, in 2014 we received a 3-year grant from the Mellon Foundation to launch the DLA, seeking to support faculty exploring new frontiers of digital scholarship in their research and teaching through a partnership between the CTLR and the Library. Over the past three years, we have had a substantial impact on campus: working with more than 50 faculty members, funding 80 projects and faculty/staff development opportunities, supporting 75 student collaborators, hosting regular events and workshops, and (most importantly) creating a vibrant culture of collaboration and experimentation around digital scholarship.
While the Mellon money has been spent, this does not mean that the DLA is finished. Inspired by the high degree of participation and engagement across campus, the academic administration has agreed to sustain the DLA going forward through a combination of the re-allocation of existing funds, gift funding, and grants. In short, the DLA will continue to offer a wide range of programming, services, and support to faculty projects to faculty in all disciplines.
Concerning grants, we are pleased to announce that this summer, Middlebury received a grant from the Davis Educational Foundation to support a collaboration between four academic programs (American Studies, Film & Media Culture, History, and Sociology) to develop a series of courses teaching digital scholarship and methods, including significant professional development for faculty in those programs and beyond. Our goal is to train and support students to undertake digital capstone projects as an alternative to the established forms of senior work offered within these departments. Michael Newbury and Kathy Morse are leading these efforts, and we hope that this project will have ripple effects across the curriculum.
Moving forward, I will remain Faculty Director for 2017-18, after which I will go on leave. This fall, we will be searching for a new colleague (supported by gift funds) to join the leadership team for the DLA – the position is posted at http://apply.interfolio.com/44755, so please spread the word to any appropriate candidates you may know. This colleague will take over many of the duties that our former post-docs (Alicia Peaker and Kristy Golubiewski-Davis) performed. (If you are wondering, Alicia and Kristy have both moved on to permanent positions at Bryn Mawr and U California – Santa Cruz, respectively.)
I also want to note that the Library just hired a new librarian with expertise in digital scholarship, Leanne Galletly, who will be starting at the end of September. Leanne will be working with our strong team of librarians and academic technologists to provide comprehensive support for digital scholarship projects in collaboration with the DLA and CTLR.
While this fall is a transitional period for the DLA, we are eager to engage faculty on your digital scholarship efforts. You can still subscribe to our newsletter to stay abreast of events and opportunities, email email@example.com to inquire about funding and project consultation, and apply to be a DLA Faculty Fellow during your academic leave. Let me know if you have any questions.
We are thrilled to announce that we will continue to host the Behind the Scenes series as a monthly luncheon in 2017-2018. We’re still arranging our lineup for this academic year, so watch this space or sign-up for the DLA newsletter (in the right-hand column) for updates. If you would like to be featured in a Behind the Scenes luncheon, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lunch will be provided, so please RSVP in the space below to ensure we have ordered enough food.
Behind the Scenes: “Paratexts in Arabic Literary Translation”, by Dima Ayoub, Department of Arabic
September 26, 2017
12:15 to 1:15
My project, “Paratexts in Arabic Literary Translation” collects data from paratexts in translations of Arabic literature into English – these include glossaries, footnotes, introductions, and translators’ forewords. The data collected will be crucial in answering questions about the role of paratexts in shaping the circulation and consumption of Arabic literature in English translation published between the 1960s until the present. This period became my sample because it is during this time that translations from Arabic to English proliferated – particularly in light of the political and cultural shifts that shape the relationship between Arabic as source language on the one hand, and English as target language on the other.
I began my research by assembling a corpus of texts that I digitized and classified in a database that I designed for this purpose. In my talk, I will describe the tools and methods that I employed in gathering and managing data from over 300 sources as well as the approach I intend to use in their analysis.
Sign-up sheet not found.
Behind the Scenes: Border Rites and Border Rights: Indigenous Nations Astride the US-Canada Border, by Guntram Herb, Department of Geography
October 17, 2017
12:15 to 1:15
The presentation engages with the process of creating a multi-media website that seeks to draw attention to the challenges of native nations living in the US-Canada borderlands. The site includes interactive maps, video, photography, art, poetry, stories, and pedagogical tools. I will outline my original goals for the project, trace the steps I took to try to realize them, discuss the challenges I encountered in the production of the digital platform, and consider possibilities for its future development.
Sign-up sheet not found.
Behind the Scenes: Digital Story-Telling about Trout and Ecology: Matt Dickerson, Department of Computer Science
Delayed until February
I worked with a student summer research assistant on digital storytelling. The student went with me on a month-long place-based research and writing trip to Wyoming. While I worked on my personal research and writing for a book project, I worked with the student to communicate that same material through short narrative and narrated videos. I was responsible for content, we collaborated and script and storyline, but the student had considerable creative flexibility in presenting the final videos.
Sign-up sheet not found.
“Behind the Scenes: Kirsten Hoving”
April 25, 2017
Join us on Tuesday, April 25th from 12:15-1:30pm for our next Behind the Scenes presentation in the CTLR lounge.
Kirsten Hoving, Professor of History of Art and Architecture will discuss her DLA project of creating a digital exhibition catalogue for the Middlebury College Museum of Art’s upcoming exhibition, “Land and Lens: Photographers Envision the Environment.” The catalogue will be available on iPads for museum visitors to consult while in the exhibition and includes text, videos, and student-composed music.
Lunch will be provided. Please RSVP so that we can order enough food.
Sign-up sheet not found.
“Behind the Scenes: Marcia Collaer and Anthony Richardson”
March 23, 2017
Join us on Thursday, March 23rd from 12:30-1:30 for our next Behind the Scenes presentation. Professors of Psychology Marcia Collaer (Middlebury College) and Anthony Richardson (Saint Michael’s College) will present their work exploring the development of body ownership as assessed in the virtual world. Their work extends investigations of the rubber hand illusion into digital space. The traditional rubber hand illusion explores sensory and perceptual factors that give rise to a sense of ‘body ownership’ that can develop for an inanimate object (e.g., a rubber hand/arm). Extending these questions to virtual reality via a head mounted display allows them to investigate additional factors that may influence the degree of body ownership that develops. Specifically, they are investigating how agency, in the form of voluntary motion, and ‘naturalness’, the degree to which the object looks similar to or different from a hand influences how easily a person can feel like the object belongs to their own body. Marcia and Tony will be talking about the collaborative aspects of the project, the benefits of using VR for their research, and the process of using digital tools (many developed by Mayra Alvarez, a St. Michael’s student) to build their experiment.
“Behind the Scenes – Desperate measures: Visulalizing the effects of abortion clinic closures in Texas”
February 21, 2017
Join us on Tuesday, February 21st from 12:15-1:30 for our next Behind the Scenes presentation. Tara Martin from Middlebury Union High school will join us to talk about her experience using the Collinwood project in her high school classroom. Middlebury Union High School Juniors investigated the events of the Collinwood Fire using digital media resources. In doing so, they found that history often leads to more questions. Join to hear how a collaboration between college professors and a high school history teacher has evolved into a learning opportunity for all.
Tara Martin has been teaching social studies at Middlebury Union High School for twelve years. She teaches a variety of courses including World History I, World History II, and America in the World, a humanities course she team teaches. She recently collaborated with Middlebury Professor Michael Newbury and Daniel Houghton on a teaching section for their digital media site, Collinwood, 1908.
January 25, 2017
Join us on Wednesday, January 25th from 12:15-1:30 for our next Behind the scenes presentation. Caitlin will present new work visualizing the effects of Texas HB-2, a law that caused more than half of Texas’ abortion clinics to close their doors in late 2013. Working with Middlebury students Anna Cerf and Birgitta Cheng, Caitlin has tracked and visualized the closures of abortion clinics across Texas. She combines this information with data on health outcomes to estimate how decreasing access to abortion services has impacted women’s health.
“Digital History as Team Sport: Applying Design Thinking to the Study of the Past”
December 12, 2016
Tom Scheinfeldt, Associate Professor of Digital Media and Design, Associate Professor of History, and Director of Digital Humanities in the Digital Media Center at University of Connecticut, will be visiting Monday, December 12th, 12:15-1:30 for a lunch time lecture.
Applying digital methods to the study of history requires re-thinking roles, responsibilities, and process. We’ll look at how lessons from the world of design thinking are being applied to digital scholarship, see examples of the sort of work made possible through this new way of working, and explore the questions and insights that can be gleaned by this approach.
Lunch will be provided. Please RSVP to ensure we have ordered enough food.
“Behind the Scenes: Mike Dash”
November 29, 2016
A successful introductory statistics course should help students develop an intuitive understanding of how statistics are used to make conclusions despite the inherent uncertainty of inferential tests. In this lunchtime talk, Mike Dash will discuss his development of web-based, interactive tutorials that enable students to explore the relationships between chance and common statistical tests. Lunch will be provided. Please RSVP below.
“Behind the Scenes: Mahri Poetry Archive”
October 12, 2016
Sam Liebhaber has been working on converting his existing Mahri Poetry Archive from a WordPress site to Scalar, which provides a platform for non-linear content exploration. The project is under contract to be published by Stanford University Press. The October 25th,12:15-1:30 Behind the Scenes will feature Sam and his Summer Research Assistant, Jeff Holland ’19, discussing the work done to create the project.
“Behind the Scenes: Kintamani”
October 12, 2016
Legends of Kintamani is an original cello concerto composed by Professor of Music Su Lian Tan to be performed live by cellist Darrett Adkins and the Burlington Chamber Orchestra with guest conductor Evan Bennett. During the composition process, Tan collaborated with Arts Technology Specialist Daniel Houghton and students Hosain Ghassemi and Coumba Winfield, under the auspices of our new Middlebury College Animation Studio, to create five large animated digital murals of mythical Bali that will be projected during the performance.
Join us after the performance on Wednesday, October 12th from 12:15-1:30 for a special Behind the Scenes with Daniel Houghton and his animation team to discuss the technical aspects of the project. Come see how computer generated artwork is built through a process of iteration, collaboration and perseverance. We will present the creative process and then discuss possible ways that computer graphics and animation could play a role in your research projects. Lunch will be provided.
“Bronze Swords, 3D scanning, and Networks of Knowledge”
September 27, 2016
Our first Behind the Scenes Lunch will feature our new Postdoc, Kristy Golubiewski-Davis, as she demonstrates the 3D scanning tools and techniques she used in her doctoral research. This project is a case study using 3D scans of Late Bronze Age swords (~1200-800BC) to recreate community networks of knowledge. The aim of the work is to link the decisions of specialized craft workers to morphological data. Those data were in turn used to represent links in a social network. In this way, networks of specialized knowledge could be visually represented across space. Come learn about 3D scanning, statistics, and network analysis. The talk will include a brief demonstration of the David Scanner. Lunch will be provided. Please RSVP below.
“Using GitHub to Encourage Open Learning and Feedback”
May 3, 2016
Inspired by a humanist colleague’s approach to grading papers and discussions taking place in statistics pedagogy circles, I present my use of the GitHub web-based repository hosting service in my Introduction to Data Science course to encourage open and collaborative development of students’ coding skills and to facilitate the delivery of feedback from instructor to student. This short presentation will be followed by discussion of using digital tools for feedback in the classroom, so come with your questions. Lunch will be served, so please RSVP at go/DLAscenes.
Albert Y. Kim is originally from Montreal Quebec. After completing his PhD in statistics at the University of Washington in Seattle, he worked at Google as a Data Scientist for two years, followed by a two-year visiting stint at Reed College. He joined the Middlebury faculty in August 2015.
“The Collinwood Fire, 1908”
April 26, 2016
DLA Faculty Fellow Michael Newbury (American Studies), Arts Technology Specialist Daniel Houghton, and their student research assistants will talk about the process of collaborating on The Collinwood Fire, 1908, an online project uniting digital animation and historical research. The project tells the story of an elementary school fire in Collinwood, Ohio that killed 172 children. In an animated film and written materials, the project offers paths into thinking about the horror of the event and the historical moment that surrounded it.
“Digital Surrealism as Research Strategy”
April 5, 2016
Most digital humanities approaches pursue traditional forms of scholarship by extracting a single variable from cultural texts that is already legible to scholars. Instead, this talk advocates a mostly-ignored “digital-surrealism” that uses computer-based methods to transform film texts in radical ways not previously possible. Kevin Ferguson (Queens College, CUNY) scientific image analysis software to compare for corpora of different genres of film: (1) the animated features produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios, (2) a representative selection of the western genre (including American and Italian “spaghetti” westerns), (3) a group of gialli (stylish horror films originating from Italy that influenced American slasher films), and (4) the series of popular Japanese Zatoichi films, following the adventures of the titular blind masseuse and swordsman living in 1830s Japan.
“The Real Work”
March 1st, 2016
DLA Faculty Fellow Jamie McCallum (SOAN) will screen his short film “The Real Work,” produced during his DLA fellowship. He will then discuss the challenges of conveying sociological ideas through film and the tension between creating a documentary and constructing a scripted narrative through which those sociological ideas emerge.
December 15th, 2015
Join Tom Van Order (Italian) and Mikaela Taylor ‘15.5 (co-author, Post Graduate Fellow for Special Collections and Archives) as they discuss Midd Italiano, a new online text for introductory Italian courses. Beginning this fall, the Italian dept. has moved to its own online text and lab/workbook. Tom and Mikaela will discuss the challenges of putting the program together, as well as the many advantages that Midd Italiano offers to students and faculty.
“Body and Earth: Seven Web-Based Somatic Excursions”
November 3rd, 2015
Join professor Andrea Olsen, dance & digital media artist Scotty Hardwig, DLA staff members Daniel Houghton and Matt Lennon, and performer Miguel Castillo ‘17 for a short screening and discussion of the process of creating a web-based learning series for courses linking the environment with the deep intelligence of the body. Discuss the challenges and invitations of shaping an educational and artistic experiential film in international locations. See body-earth.org to preview the films.
“Fifty Years of Green: A Digital Exhibition”
October 20th, 2015
Professor Kathy Morse (History) and Postdoc Alicia Peaker (DLA) will discuss the goals, process, successes and stumbles in having students build a series of collaborative, digital exhibits to mark 50 years of environmental studies at Middlebury. Fifty Years of Green, built using Omeka & Neatline, showcases the work of students in a Spring 2015 Environmental History course (HIST 222). During their talk, Kathy and Alicia will reflect on collaborative digital work; modifying an existing course with an experimental project; and student reactions to learning new software and skills.
“What is Videographic Criticism?”
September 22nd, 2015
Join Film & Media Culture professors Christian Keathley and Jason Mittell as they provide a behind-the-scenes glimpse of their NEH-funded summer workshop on creating video essays as a form of academic criticism. See the workshop’s website for more information and resources.