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Todd Suomela

We Have Been Here Before | Easily Distracted - 0 views

    A useful review of the past 60 years of controversy over college speakers.
    For those interested in following the political correctness debate from an historical perspective.
Todd Suomela

Of Caves and Conferences | Confessions of a Community College Dean - 0 views

    For planning our upcoming jaunt to the DLF forum. What content should we focus on as a group?
Todd Suomela

Build a Better Monster: Morality, Machine Learning, and Mass Surveillance - 0 views

  • Unfortunately, the enemy is complacency. Tech workers trust their founders, find labor organizing distasteful, and are happy to leave larger ethical questions to management. A workplace free of 'politics' is just one of the many perks the tech industry offers its pampered employees. So our one chance to enact meaningful change is slipping away.

    Unless something happens to mobilize the tech workforce, or unless the advertising bubble finally bursts, we can expect the weird, topsy-turvy status quo of 2017 to solidify into the new reality.

    But even though we're likely to fail, all we can do is try. Good intentions are not going to make these structural problems go away. Talking about them is not going to fix them.

    We have to do something.

  • Can we fix it?

    Institutions can be destroyed quickly; they take a long time to build.

    A lot of what we call ‘disruption’ in the tech industry has just been killing flawed but established institutions, and mining them for parts. When we do this, we make a dangerous assumption about our ability to undo our own bad decisions, or the time span required to build institutions that match the needs of new realities.

    Right now, a small caste of programmers is in charge of the surveillance economy, and has broad latitude to change it. But this situation will not last for long. The kinds of black-box machine learning that have been so successful in the age of mass surveillance are going to become commoditized and will no longer require skilled artisans to deploy.

    Moreover, powerful people have noted and benefited from the special power of social media in the political arena. They will not sit by and let programmers dismantle useful tools for influence and social control. It doesn’t matter that the tech industry considers itself apolitical and rationalist. Powerful people did not get to be that way by voluntarily ceding power.

    The window of time in which the tech industry can still act is brief: while tech workers retain relatively high influence in their companies, and before powerful political interests have put down roots in the tech industry.

Todd Suomela

Rescuing Student Participation Through Digital Platforms - DML Central - 0 views

  • One problem is that participation is largely taken for granted and under theorized in many classrooms. The way we make use of a term like participation is in need of rescuing: moving away from a limited view of participation as it is often linked to motivation, engagement, or hand-raising and toward the view that participation as a concept is more generative when connected to the idea of membership in communities of practice (Wenger, 1998). Our limited view of participation is evident by simply turning to the language included in most syllabi: often, syllabi list “participation points” as part of the grade of the course. I find this to be an odd way to think about participation. What we often mean is that we will give students some points for “talking in class” and “raising their hands.” But demonstrating engagement by hand-raising and talk are fairly limited views of participation, and in fact, these ways of being are more connected to performance — acting like a student — than participation. We certainly want students to participate more than 10 percent, or even half, of the time. Are they participating when they are listening and pondering the ideas of their peers? Of course they are, but how do they demonstrate that? In thinking about course design, we should consider how students become members of our classroom community and our disciplines. Social media sites can open up other avenues for participation, and further, connect students to communities of practice outside our classrooms that they hope to enter.

Does Digital Scholarship Have a Future? | EDUCAUSE - 1 views

  • Although the phrase sometimes refers to issues surrounding copyright and open access and sometimes to scholarship analyzing the online world, digital scholarship—emanating, perhaps, from digital humanities—most frequently describes discipline-based scholarship produced with digital tools and presented in digital form.
    • jatolbert
      A couple of points. First, there's no reason to assume that DS comes from DH. "Digital" was a term and concept before DH claimed it. Second, I would suggest that DS can be produced with digital tools OR presented digitally OR both. It isn't necessarily always both. I did digital scholarship that was both printed in a conventional journal and published online. Semantic difference, but still important.
  • Though the recent popularity of the phrase digital scholarship reflects impressive interdisciplinary ambition and coherence, two crucial elements remain in short supply in the emerging field. First, the number of scholars willing to commit themselves and their careers to digital scholarship has not kept pace with institutional opportunities. Second, today few scholars are trying, as they did earlier in the web's history, to reimagine the form as well as the substance of scholarship. In some ways, scholarly innovation has been domesticated, with the very ubiquity of the web bringing a lowered sense of excitement, possibility, and urgency. These two deficiencies form a reinforcing cycle: the diminished sense of possibility weakens the incentive for scholars to take risks, and the unwillingness to take risks limits the impact and excitement generated by boldly innovative projects.
    • jatolbert
      I'm not sure about any of this. There's plenty of innovation happening. Also, galloping towards innovation for its own sake, without considering the specific needs of scholars, seems like a mistake.
  • Digital scholarship, reimagined in bolder ways, is cost-effective, a smart return on investment. By radically extending the audience for a work of scholarship, by reaching students of many ages and backgrounds, by building the identity of the host institution, by attracting and keeping excellent faculty and students, by creating bonds between faculty and the library, and by advancing knowledge across many otherwise disparate disciplines, innovative digital scholarship makes sense.
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  • Yet, other aspects of the changing digital environment may not be encouraging digital scholarship. The large and highly visible investments being made in MOOCs, for example, lead some faculty to equate technology with the diminution of hard-won traditions of teaching and scholarship. Using new capacities in bandwidth, MOOCs extend well-established patterns of large lectures to audiences otherwise out of the hearing range of those lectures. Unlike digital scholarship, however, MOOCs make no claim to creating new disciplinary knowledge, to advancing the scholarly conversation, to unifying research and teaching.
    • jatolbert
      I don't see why any of this is necessarily a problem--unless you reject the notion of lectures as useful pedagogical forms entirely
  • In other words, digital scholarship may have greater impact if it takes fuller advantage of the digital medium and innovates more aggressively. Digital books and digital articles that mimic their print counterparts may be efficient, but they do not expand our imagination of what scholarship could be in an era of boundlessness, an era of ubiquity. They do not imagine other forms in which scholarship might live in a time when our audiences can be far more vast and varied than in previous generations. They do not challenge us to think about keeping alive the best traditions of the academy by adapting those traditions to the possibilities of our own time. They do not encourage new kinds of writing, of seeing, of explaining. And we need all those things.
    • jatolbert
      Somewhat melodramatic. What kind of innovation does he want, exactly? And what doesn't he like about the formats he mentions here? He lists things that scholars do, suggests they need to change, but makes no compelling case re: WHY they need to change.
  • Interpretation must be an integral and explicit part of the fundamental architecture of new efforts. Insisting that colleges and universities broaden their standards and definitions of scholarship to make room for digital scholarship is necessary, but it is only a partial answer. To be recognized and rewarded as scholarship in the traditional sense, digital scholarship must do the work we have long expected scholarship to do: contribute, in a meaningful and enduring way, to an identifiable collective and cumulative enterprise.
  • By way of example, the Digital Scholarship Lab at the University of Richmond is attempting to build one model of what this new scholarship might look like. The lab combines various elements of proven strategies while also breaking new ground. With the support of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the historians Robert K. Nelson and Scott Nesbit and their colleagues are creating a digital atlas of American history. The first instantiation of the atlas, Visualizing Emancipation, will soon be followed by an amplified, annotated, and animated digital edition of The Atlas of the Historical Geography of the United States, first published in 1932. Over the next three years, chapters of original and dynamic maps and interpretations will focus on key aspects of the American experience since the nation's founding. The digital atlas will allow scholars to see patterns we have never been able to envision before while at the same time it will make available to teachers of all levels visualizations of crucial processes in American history.
    • jatolbert
      This one example doesn't seem all that innovative--story maps, etc. have been around a long time. Also, what he's doing is still basically a repackaging of print scholarship. It could be useful, but it's not nearly as radical as he seems to think.
  • Does Digital Scholarship Have a Future?
    • jatolbert
      A problematic think piece about digital scholarship in general. Has some useful definitions. Unfortunately Ayers is doing a lot of hand-wringing over what he sees as the lack of meaningful innovation in digital scholarship. It's not at all clear, though, what he means by this. He argues that what innovation has happened isn't sufficient, then gives an example of a project--a digital atlas of American history--that he seems to think is radically different, but isn't in any way I can discern from his description.

The one word that doubles liberal arts grads' chances of getting hired | EAB Daily Brie... - 0 views

  • Burning Glass reports that when liberal arts job seekers add the word "digital" to their resumes—or otherwise demonstrate digital competencies—they double the number of job openings they qualify for.

Trends in Digital Scholarship Centers | EDUCAUSE - 2 views

  • Although sometimes confused with digital scholarship centers, digital humanities centers are often specialized research centers led by a group of faculty and serving only select disciplines rather than a broad campus community. Also, libraries often play only a peripheral role in digital humanities centers.1 In contrast, libraries or IT organizations have a key role in digital scholarship centers.
    • jatolbert
      This is important.
  • Digital scholarship centers can build institutional capacity to address emerging and future scholarship needs.
  • Considering options for presenting or publishing completed projects
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  • A key attribute that distinguishes digital scholarship centers from more traditional research institutes (such as digital humanities centers) is that they are service organizations, staffed by individuals with specialized skills, who support work in the digital environment.
  • Whether a digital scholarship center needs a dedicated facility or can be a distributed set of physical spaces and services — or even a virtual service — are open questions. A physical center that brings together specialized equipment and services in one convenient place has the advantage of visibility and provides a venue for an array of programming, including workshops, guest lectures, and displays of completed projects. In other cases, an office or set of offices might serve as the hub for center staff, while equipment and services are dispersed in physically separate media production areas, GIS facilities, data visualization labs, and makerspaces.
  • The case studies also illustrate the importance of tailoring a digital scholarship program to the needs of the institution; there is no "one size fits all."
  • The Sherman Centre has taken a "design-build" approach: Spaces were rendered with maximum flexibility in mind — with minimal enclosed spaces and with a strong focus on moveable furniture and adaptable technology. Design work has continued long after the center was officially opened: Key service and space components have been added as the needs of the campus community have become more clear.
  • Thus, the Sherman Centre was not serving an established collection of self-identified digital scholars — it was growing its own.
  • First, we have learned the critical importance of clearly defining the Sherman Centre's scope and purpose for the campus community.
  • We often find ourselves having to turn people away when their work is not advancing the digital scholarship agenda. Saying no is not easy, but it must be done to protect the center's integrity.
  • Digital scholarship centers represent a model of engagement for libraries and information technology units. They both support and encourage new directions in research, teaching, and learning and provide the infrastructure (technical and human) to encourage experimentation in new areas of scholarship.
  • Experiences gained from existing digital scholarship centers can help uninitiated institutions better launch their own efforts and thereby increase support for the research, teaching, and learning needs of their campus communities.
  • Digital scholarship centers focus on relationships, extending the ways in which librarians and academic computing professionals relate to and work with faculty (and often students) and their scholarly practices.
  • Here, we examine centers that go by a variety of names — including digital scholarship center, digital scholarship lab, and scholars' lab — but that nonetheless share common features. These centers are generally administered by a central unit, such as the library or IT organization; serve the entire campus community (including undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty); and address the needs of a range of academic departments and programs.

The Challenges of Digital Scholarship - ProfHacker - Blogs - The Chronicle of Higher Ed... - 0 views

  • Scholars with digital projects often need to explain both their work and to justify the field of the digital humanities itself.
    • jatolbert
      Conflates digital scholarship with digital humanities. Also suggests (wrongly, I think) that DH is a singular, unitary field.
  • Traditional humanities scholarship rewards the solitary endeavor (such as the single-authored monograph) and looks askance at collaboration (e.g. edited volumes), but many digital humanities projects are often collaborative in nature.
    • jatolbert
      Again conflates DH with all of digital scholarship
  • In short: we are on the brink of a tipping point in history, where blogging is going to become the norm for the initial exchange of ideas.
    • jatolbert
      Overstating the point
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  • These challenges are both important and productive. They encourage new, heated and serious debate as to what constitutes standards of excellence in the humanities.
    • jatolbert
      Again, constant waffling between DH and digital scholarship more generally. They simply are not coterminous.
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