Foundations Seminar Series

Foundations Seminars:

The DSSG organizes a year-round seminar series designed to provide training and instruction in digital methods for research and teaching. The seminar series is centered around introductions to digital approaches to research and teaching, which provides a framework for more advanced topics. By first providing a framework, we facilitate a more flexible approach to learning about the wide variety of tools and approaches used in digital scholarship today.

Our approach translates the general research process of the Social Sciences and the Humanities into a data-processing workflow, thus providing a solid intellectual framework to anchor the myriad methodologies, techniques, and tools that comprise digital scholarship. This helps participants build a sound foundation of immediately applicable skills, while also developing an overall understanding of the entire ecosystem to help them make decisions, seek further support, and acquire more advanced skills.

The ultimate goal is to offer a conceptual framework that can contextualize any digital skills, even if acquired in isolation, into a coherent whole, thus offering participants a sense of continuing progress and achievement, thus encouraging them to pursue further development.

Fundamentals of Digital Scholarship

This two-day seminar is designed to introduce participants to the core stages of digital scholarship’s research workflow: the acquisition, manipulation, analysis, and presentation of data. The seminar is intended to serve as a springboard for students, faculty, and staff who wish to explore the potential of digital scholarship. It provides a solid foundation from which participants can continue to develop these skills, whether on their own or through a series of advanced, subject-specific follow-up seminars currently in development.

The seminar is structured as a series of hands-on sessions that provide participants with the opportunity to work with real-world datasets that relate to the humanities and social sciences.

Digital Teaching Methods

This two-day seminar focuses on the use of digital tools and methods in teaching and learning. It provides a hands-on introduction to several approaches that have proven successful in the classroom, including online exhibitions, annotations, timelines, and mapping. In this seminar, we not only discuss the practical mechanics of employing these tools and approaches, but also the pedagogical needs that they serve. The focus is not on superfluous additions, but on using technology to enhance learning. In each case, the discussion is grounded in specific pedagogical examples and use cases.

Advanced Topics

The DSSG regularly organizes additional training events on advanced topics. These workshops typically focus on one of the three core areas that comprise the main aspects of a digital research workflow – the acquisition, analysis, or presentation of data. Examples include “Using Web APIs with Python,” “Tidying Data with Google Sheets, OpenRefine, and Pandas,” “Text Analysis in R with Quanteda,” “Mapping History,” “Digital Editing and the Medieval Manuscript,” “Images as Data with the Distant Viewing Toolkit,” “Scalar in the Classroom,” “Intermediate Tableau,” and more.

Instructional Support

From 2015 to spring 2020, the DSSG provided core support for the Digital Teaching Fellows program, which was designed to enable flexible, active learning approaches in courses across the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. As part of the DiTF program, we supported and trained over 50 courses and TFs across 13 departments in the divisions of Arts & Humanities and Social Sciences, as well as the Graduate School of Design and the General Education program. In fall 2020, the DiTF program merged with the Learning Lab Graduate Fellows program from the Bok Center for Teaching and Learning to form the Media & Design Fellows program. Media & Design Fellows (MDFs) support innovative course development within the FAS, partnering with faculty and staff to design a variety of digital tools, course materials, and assignments for undergraduate courses and departments.

The DSSG continues to support Digital Methods courses, as well as courses across the Faculty of Arts and Sciences that integrate digital methods and tools at various levels.