Ten years ago, we knew as historians that we couldn’t assess fully the social, cultural, economic, and political implications of the devastating hurricanes in the summer of 2005. We did know that previous natural disasters had profound consequences. The 1927 Mississippi River Flood, for example, further fueled African American migration to northern industrial cities, and paved the way for federal intervention in southern states during the New Deal. Documenting the reactions and memories of individuals affected by Katrina, and then Rita, along the Gulf Coast, took on an urgency soon after the storms hit.
Michael Mizell-Nelson, the late-public historian from the University of New Orleans, reached out to CHNM’s late-director Roy Rosenzweig to discuss the possibilities of creating a community-sourced digital project to document the aftermath and recovery of Hurricane Katrina. With so many residents relocating, collecting online gave anyone who had been displaced an opportunity to share their reflections and document their stories. This became even more important following Hurricane Rita three weeks later, when some Gulf Coast residents evacuated a second time, some never returning home.
Or perhaps a little of all three! To help you figure it out, the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media (RRCHNM) is offering Introduction to Digital Humanities, a new online course taught by RRCHNM Director Dr. Stephen Robertson.
The course provides an introduction to the field of digital humanities, and to digital tools for text analysis, mapping, network graphing, and presenting material online. Explore blogs, wikis, and social media and how these platforms have been used for publication, communication and collaboration. The course emphasizes hands-on work, including creating an individual digital project.
This fully online course includes synchronous online meetings and asynchronous modules. A great opportunity for those in museums, libraries, archives, public history, and education to explore new approaches and learn new skills.
For two weeks in July, RRCHNM hosted an enthusiastic group of 20 art history graduate students for an intensive digital humanities training institute funded by the Getty Foundation. Students were selected for Building a Digital Portfolio from a competitive pool of international applicants. The cohort of participants represented many sub-fields and were each working at different stages of their academic careers in universities in the United States, Canada, Germany, and the UK.
Small groups work together on a day learning about models and modeling.
Co-Directors, Sheila Brennan and Sharon Leon, structured the institute to introduce participants to the digital humanities and digital art history communities and the most current digital scholarship, methodologies, and projects. Assigned readings informed each day’s discussions, and tutorials led to hands-on experience with different tools and techniques and opportunities for students to apply these to their own research. Topics covered included metadata basics, collection building, modeling, mapping, data visualization, network graphing, community-sourcing, and digital publishing.
The institute team included faculty, staff, and graduate student mentors from RRCHNM and Mason’s History and Art History Department.
Mentors Gretchen Burgess, Jannelle Legg, and Spencer Roberts shared the responsibility (more…)
Beginning in London and ending in Amsterdam, the group visited six ABMC WWII cemeteries in England, France, Belgium, and the Netherlands. In preparation, each teacher researched the life of an individual buried in one of the ABMC cemeteries. At each site, teachers presented short eulogies to share with their fellow teachers and cemetery visitors. The research led teachers to military records, local newspapers, and sometimes even to contact with family members who shared letters, photographs, and diaries. During the trip, several teachers also met with the Dutch citizens who had “adopted” the grave of their fallen service member.
To provide further context, the group visited museums and historic sites related to military history. For a British perspective on the war, the teachers visited the Imperial War Museum in London, as well as the Churchill War Rooms. (more…)
The National Endowment for the Humanities has awarded two grants to the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media to fund professional development opportunities next summer.
With this generous support, Sharon Leon and Sheila Brennan will organize and host, “Doing Digital History 2016,” an Institute for Advanced Topics in the Digital Humanities. Designed for novices, the team will invite applications from mid-career American historians who have limited or no training in using digital methods and tools, and who lack a supportive digital community at their home institutions. After an intensive two-week institute in summer 2016, the 25 participating scholars will leave with the confidence, skills, and abilities to develop digital history scholarship, to evaluate digital projects, and to instruct students in digital methods. This institute is part of a larger effort at RRCHNM to grow the field of practicing digital history and digital art history scholars.
The second award is a Landmarks in American History grant for “Graffiti Houses: The Civil War from the Perspective of Individual Soldiers.” This project, led by Stephen Robertson and Jennifer Rosenfeld, will develop two week-long summer teacher institutes that focus on the Civil War through the lives of soldiers who left their mark in (more…)
The Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media is pleased to announce that applications are open for the 2015-2016 Understanding Sacrifice WWII Teacher Institute held in partnership with National History Day (NHD) and the American Battle Monument Commission (ABMC). Teachers from all disciplines who teach middle and high school are welcome to apply. The application period closes on September 4, 2015.
The focus of the 2015-2016 institute is WWII in the Mediterranean. Participating teachers will engage in a year-long study through webinars, readings, and discussion groups. They will research an individual service member buried in one of the ABMC cemeteries and create an interdisciplinary lesson inspired by topics drawn from ABMC resources and materials. In July 2016, teachers will follow the path of the U.S. armed forces in Italy and Southern France through a two-week field study. The resulting research and lesson plans will be made available at abmceducation.org.
The Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media at George Mason University (RRCHNM) is pleased to announce the development of Omeka for Art Historians, supported by a grant from the Getty Foundation as part of its Digital Art History initiative.
Drawing heavily upon the needs articulated by art historians at last summer’s Rebuilding the Portfolio summer institute held at RRCHNM, also funded by the Getty, we identified some key shortcomings of existing Omeka themes and plugins to serve the needs of this audience.
To address these needs, we want to offer art historians a new way to challenge their students and to engage online audiences with art collections by designing Omeka themes and plugins, and writing workflow case studies. To prioritize these needs, RRCHNM will convene a working group of art historians to shape theme development, paying particular attention to building templates that enable analysis and comparison of objects, contextualization of objects alongside historical materials.
Project Director Sheila Brennan will work closely with Kimon Keramidas of New York University, Michele Greet of Mason, and the Getty Foundation staff to select a working group that will convene at the College Art Association Conference in 2016.
This one-year, 15-credit certificate program includes 3 online courses:
Introduction to Digital Humanities (Fall 2015; 3 credits)
Digital Public History (Spring 2016; 3 credits)
Teaching Humanities in the Digital Age (Spring 2016; 3 credits)
Courses will introduce students interested in public history, museums, libraries, archives, education, and communications to ways in which they can incorporate digital public humanities skills and tools into their current or future practice. Students will learn research and presentation skills, including text mining, topic modeling, data visualization, and mapping. They will explore innovative ways to advance teaching and learning through digital tools while developing skills in digital curation, writing, and content strategy.
The program includes a 6-credit “virtual” summer internship with the Smithsonian Institution. The internship can be completed remotely.
The Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media (RRCHNM) is proud to announce the launch of Understanding Sacrifice (abmceducation.org/understandingsacrifice).
Sponsored by the American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC), this website is part of an 18-month professional development program for middle- and high-school teachers. Working with National History Day and RRCHNM, 18 teachers are developing interdisciplinary lessons about WWII in Northern Europe. They are also researching the life of a service member buried or memorialized at an ABMC cemetery. The resulting profiles will be incorporated into the lessons.
The goal is to bring ABMC resources into classrooms to help students better understand the service, experience, and sacrifice of American service members who served and died during World War II.
In online courses, as with face-to-face courses, assessing learning is a central issue. In a recently published book chapter, CHNM staff contributed to this discussion based on their experiences developing and teaching online courses for practicing teachers.
In “How We Learned to Drop the Quiz: Writing in Online Asynchronous Courses,” graduate research assistants Celeste Tường Vy Sharpe and Nate Sleeter and education division director Kelly Schrum, talk about eliminating multiple-choice quizzes from online courses, an experience that enabled both instructors and participants to focus on providing meaningful feedback. Without the quiz, instructors were better able to emphasize iterative writing and its relationship to historical thinking.
As the authors write, “The opportunities for course participants to revisit and revise their interpretations over the span of a module and the course as a whole allowed for a stronger focus on the process of historical thinking over rote memorization.”
Online humanities education represents an opportunity to reach new students. In order to best serve students, especially given the rapid growth of online courses, the scholarship teaching and learning online is vitally important. Teaching and learning, the authors believe, must prioritize providing students with meaningful feedback. How to best to incorporate this feedback will remain a central focus going (more…)