Prior to my first year in university I remember various high school teachers cautioning me about laptop use in the classroom. “You’re in the Arts, you don’t need that computer for much” they said, installing in me a belief that Arts students should only use their computers for research, essays and nothing more. Flash forward to fourth year where I learned that the digital world can benefit Arts students as they use online platforms to share ideas and work together on projects. Although this will be a gradual process presenting certain challenges, students who engage online with one another (for educational purposes) expand their understanding of what it means to be in academia.
My university experience largely consists of various one-way exchanges with professors in which I research, outline an argument and then hand in an essay for a mark. When I read about academics using open source notebooks to share their research it came as a startling revelation. It turns out that my research process and essay crafting has the possibility for a much more dynamic life. In articles discussing the academic use of Github and Twitter, the imaginary wall existing between the online community and university students shattered. Through talking with classmates on Slack and ‘following’ scholars on Twitter I realized that there is a community out there (potentially) interested in my academic pursuits. Or, at the very least, this community can point out inconsistencies and errors along the way.
It will take a while before others scholars share the view that students should interact with academics on Twitter and collaborate on projects through online platforms. Unless a course focuses explicitly on digital humanities or the professor is an avid spokesperson for online platforms, Arts students will not discover their place in the digital world. There is still too strong of a belief that Arts programs should not go anywhere near platforms used by computer science majors. Until students consistently use online platforms for academic purposes, the barrier between the Arts and the digital world will remain stronger than ever.
For students to benefit from online academic engagement they must first be able to access these resources. If we want to encourage students to use online programs is the onus on educational facilities to provide laptops or tablets for everyone? If universities decide to provide these resources will it increase tuition? I can say that students should use their laptops to work together along but I speak from the privileged assumption that everyone has to access a computer.
Using online platforms to share ideas and research as well as social media to observe interactions between academics expands my understanding of how one can learn. A history degree does not necessarily exclude me from learning about Markdown or Github, instead I can develop my research through these (initially) computer-science based programs. For all those high school teachers warning Arts students about computers in the classroom rather than contributing to this barrier they should consider the positive side to embracing technology and the digital world.
Hello! My name is Lynsay O’Hara and I am currently in my fourth year at Carleton University, and I am majoring in History with a minor in Archaeology. I am from the Ottawa area, however I lived in Rome, Italy for three years due to my parents being in the Canadian Armed Forces. It was living in Rome where my love of history began; first with ancient history and then I began to discover Medieval history, which I can now safely say is my favourite (though any history will pique my interest). Though Medieval history has stolen my heart, ancient Egypt will always hold a special place as it is what first grabbed my attention into the wonderful world of history. The beautiful images on tombs and towering statues of Rameses II are originally what grabbed my attention, and then books (fiction and non-fiction) continued my interest in ancient Egypt, which led to Cleopatra and then to ancient Rome, which inveterately led to the Renaissance. Once I started researching the Renaissance, I wanted to know how these people lived before their ‘rebirth’, and so began my thirst for knowledge on all things Medieval.
My interests (other than studying history) include mostly reading about, you guessed it, history. I mostly enjoy historical fiction, however I dabble in fiction and YA (Young Adult). My favourite novels are the Outlander novels by Diana Gabaldon- I highly recommend these books, however if you do not enjoy reading books that contain 900+ pages then they are not for you. My absolute favourite novel however, is Nefertiti by Michelle Moran. I also like to write in my spare time- mostly fiction at this point, however it is a dream of mine to publish a book one day, whether it be a fiction one or an academic novel discussing the lives of Medieval women (Merovingian queens, to be more exact). On this note, I am also hoping to begin my Masters’ next year, which ideally will focus on Medieval Studies.
I absolutely cannot wait to begin diving into the digital history world! This will be my first class in digital history, so it definitely will be interesting. The manuscript I have chosen is stunning and I am very much looking forward to studying it further and revealing its Medieval secrets! My progress on this can be found/followed on my twitter account (or if you just want to enjoy some Medieval memes that’s cool too).
Hi, I’m Liv, short for Olivia, either is fine 🙂
I’m in my fourth year at Carleton in history. This year, I am (slowly) learning digital history skills by working with my classmates on digitizing Late Medieval folio pages and learning the mystical and incomprehensible(!!) arts involved in digital codicology. We will be digitizing and cataloguing medieval folio pages, and finding out as much as we can. You can follow our progress on our Twitter Page. My other academic interests usually include medieval women (monastic! aristocratic! noble! regular!), medieval Christianity and monasticism, disability studies, and sexuality and gender. This year I am working on an Honours research project, which will be a year long endeavour into late medieval convents, considering what images they were exposed to and how the cloister impacted the lives of the nuns living there.
I like really like living in Ottawa and the History Department at Carleton. I moved from Kitchener three years ago and sometimes miss my family + pet, but I love my new frie-amily, roommates, and my step-cat, Kip. I watch a lot of tv shows, but like to watch the same 50 movies over and over again (my favourite is the Princess Bride).
Kip is our house cat and protector against mice and spiders (the bIG kind)
This week we are looking at Github and the implications of creating an Open Notebook on the World Wide Web! Here are some questions/ideas to consider when looking at this week’s readings.
1) What barriers are there to an open source notebook? Consider a collogue or academic that does not want their work to be shared? What implications does this have? Consider Ian Milligan’s article and this idea of, “it’s our data, we collected it, and if somebody else wants the data, they should collect it themselves.”. What about the articles from WIRED and how do they relate to the creation of barriers?
2) In a world such as ours with the explosion of social media and online presence, how must we consider moving forward with online collaboration? Much like the idea that we cannot live without Facebook, Twitter or Instagram will we eventually not be able to live in an academic world without online collaboration?
3) Is this view by Caleb McDaniel too optimistic, “The truth is that we often don’t realize the value of what we have until someone else sees it. By inviting others to see our work in progress, we also open new avenues of interpretation, uncover new linkages between things we would otherwise have persisted in seeing as unconnected, and create new opportunities for collaboration with fellow travelers. These things might still happen through the sharing of our notebooks after publication, but imagine how our publications might be enriched and improved if we lifted our gems to the sunlight before we decided which ones to set and which ones to discard?” Do you think that others (in the academic sphere) have similar views? If not, why do you think this is?
4) These articles ask us to imagine Github used in a wide spread context amongst the world of Education. Considering the challenges that we have faced in class (and during our own time), do you think that Github will become wide spread? What are some tools that could assist the push of Digitizing History?
Final Food for Thought!
Digitizing history can add many values to our work as historians but consider the previous power outage. What will happen to our work if something happens to the internet? Further more, what will happen to our pre-existing institutions, if we move towards total internet collaboration and hosting (i.e the library and archives)?
I moved to Ottawa from Aylmer, Ontario four years ago to pursue a History B.A. Honours at Carleton University. My areas of interest are quite wide-ranging as my previous courses include discussions on the fall of the Western Roman Empire, the Vikings’ arrival in Britain, France after 1871 and a thorough history of Russia. I prefer to engage with various areas, periods and approaches to history because this helps to broaden my view on the world. I found it fascinating to take two courses on late nineteenth/early twentieth century Ireland at the same time as I learned about similar events from a male-centred narrative alongside a neglected, less traditional female viewpoint.
I centred my fourth year on two seminars entitled American Madness and Digitizing Medieval Manuscripts. Though these classes sound incredibly different from each other their relationship to the present (along with my interest) links them together. Given mental illness’ awareness in our society I want to investigate exactly how people treated and understood mental illness in the past. The course’s specific focus in America feels suitable, as U.S. history—from the Civil War to the Civil Rights Movement—has been a reoccurring subject throughout my undergraduate degree.
Digitizing Medieval Manuscripts stood out due to the rising growth in digital history and my own personal aspirations for a graduate degree in Library Sciences. Through this course I hope to explore a new technological world and develop important skills to carry on after graduation. Additionally, my interest in the medieval significantly increased during my year in the United Kingdom where I investigated popular accounts of ‘ghost stories’ and religious vs. societal ideas around sanctity.
Finally, as an avid reader I love uncovering the ‘story’ within historical documents, events and people. I hope to one-day work in an environment (whether that is a library, a museum or an archive) in which I can surround myself daily with documents and artefacts that make history come alive.