Collaborating Digitally: Engaging Students in Faculty Research

Allegra Swift

Notes from Bucknell University’s conference on

Collaborating Digitally: Engaging Students in Faculty Research,

14-16 November 2014

Note: There were concurrent papers sessions, so please check the program schedule to read about the topics of the talks I was not able to attend.

Reoccurring themes: DH and disconnect to Tenure & Promotion, importance and benefits of exploratory scholarship and its support, the student experience, and discussion in and about public scholarship.
Twitter #BUDSC14


Chris Long gave an inspiring keynote. Long is the Associate Dean for Graduate and Undergraduate Education in the College of the Liberal Arts and Professor of Philosophy and Classics at Penn State. Long live tweets (@cplong) during his presentations, so you can pick up on the slides and the sound bites from his keynote and paper presentation.

Long spoke about open peer review, affecting tenure and promotion with new processes, the undergraduate experience, performing collaborative scholarship and committing to open access.

The Public Philosophy Journal: Performing public philosophy as the mode of publication. @PubPhilJ

  • Scholarship that extends beyond campus. Engagement of the public. Reaching the wider public. Spirit of public engagement. Ability to blur the boundaries on the hill/academy with the wider world.
  • Performative publication. The mode of publication and the ideas for which publication advocates. Amplifying information can be a gift economy
  • Cooperative scholarship, the academy and wider public become more porous and should be reciprocal and asymmetrical.

Paper Session (#s1): Multi-modal Narratives and Cultural Engagement

  • “Building Communities of Collaborators at Our Marathon: The Boston Bombing Digital Archive” Alicia Peaker (Middlebury College) and Joanne DeCaro (Northeastern University)


  • “Archiving Hindu Gaya: Temples, Shrines and Images of a sacred center in India” Abhishek Amar and Lauren Scutt (Hamilton College)


Paper Session (#s4): Digital Space, Place, and the Public Humanities

Lunch keynote:

“Researching Out Loud: Public Scholarship as a Process of Publishing Before and After Publishing” @zeynep #BUDSC14 #kn2

Zeynep Tufekci (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill)

Online presence, Twitter username gives credibility, the public can check you out and know that “I live in this world too, will not just disappear.”

Zeynep’s work on TechnoSociology was fascinating as she reflected on how her work studying the intersection of technology, and in particular social media, and social movements, transformed her thinking about the role of public writing and scholarship. As an untenured professor, it was revealing to hear her talk about how she wrestles with how to balance her time between her tweeting and blogging and her ‘traditional’ scholarship.” Mike Roy (Middlebury College), Notes from the Bucknell Digital Scholarship Conference on Digital Incunabula.

New publics and academia

“The Google scholarship page is what pays my rent.”

Coding for everybody? Not so much. Somewhat advanced digital literacies, like algorithmic literacy should be for everyone. How to deal with trolls and harassment is the new digital competency. This is the video that tries to show how her students handled the troll in PHIL200.

Silicon Valley does not have it together as everyone would suppose, everybody is in over their head. When Google bought YouTube, they never thought they’d have to make decisions about beheading videos.

Roundtable (#s5): Institutional Models for Digital Scholarship and Collaboration

“This session was useful as we embark on building up our own capacity to do this work, as it provided insights and connections with individuals, individual schools, and consortial efforts to develop DS programs that are sustainable, and provide meaningful experiences for undergraduates. It also points to the real challenges in developing sufficient technical and methodological expertise on any one campus.” Mike Roy (Middlebury College), Notes from the Bucknell Digital Scholarship Conference on Digital Incunabula.

  • “Collaboration, Not Chaos: Managing Collaborative Project Work” Mike Zarafonetis and Laurie Allen (Haverford College)
    • Mike Zarafonetis is the digital scholarship librarian
    • Laurie Allen is the digital scholarship coordinator
    • Focused on preventing chaos
    • Used GIT for version control and web
    • Used Asana
    • Employes student workers for support
    • Clear about separating the database from the interface
    • Stressed importance of giving students clear directions and discrete project
    • Librarians are seen as a partners rather than service providers
    • Digital scholarship at Haverford is about bringing digital methods into classrooms

The program: Students commit to 15 mos., undergrads apply in their first year, go through DH immersion series, they own a piece of the research, the skills they’ve demonstrated and work that they’ve done are then matched for career placement after graduation, many students are accepted into graduate schools and have won Fulbrights.

Hamilton CLASS initiative – DH immersion

  • Survey of DH projects
  • Evaluate and provide IL instruction
  • Metadata and info architecture instruction
  • Diversity across disciplines and tech skill bases

Greg Lord is the HDi lead designer & software engineer

  • Teaches 3D modeling & virtual environment design workflow
  • Uses: Blender – fully free/open source 3D creation pipeline > Unity– a game development ecosystem: a powerful rendering engine fully integrated with a complete set of intuitive tools and rapid workflows to create interactive 3D and 2D content.
  • DH Immersion
    • It took a semester for students to learn each tool
    • Immersion:
      • terms were defined
      • work frequencies highlighted
      • storyboards sketched
      • students are taught html5 and CSS, video editing and lit theory
  • Student project example : This project traces the depth of Emily Dickinson’s influence in Shahid’s poem, “A Nostalgist’s Map of America,” by placing his poem side-by-side with Dickinson’s “A Route of Evanescence” in four stages of analysis, each increasing in depth of explication.

Trico Digital Initiatives

Supported by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Tri-Co Digital Humanities initiative (Tri-Co DH) is a research and teaching collaboration of Bryn Mawr, Haverford, and Swarthmore Colleges. We study the uses of new media and computing technologies in humanities-based scholarship and teaching, across the liberal arts. We seek to understand the expertise students, faculty and staff need as citizens and professionals in a networked world.

The consortium serves as a clearinghouse for new initiatives, funding:

  •        faculty research (including college-university collaborations)
  •        training in new research tools and practices
  •        curriculum development (including college-university collaborations)
  •        undergraduate internships and research fellowships

Pyramid/ tiered support of digital scholarship at the enterprise level, referenced “Supporting Digital Scholarship in research Libraries: Scalabilities and Sustainability.”

Projects have to include an undergraduate in the research, must have a curricular component, and have to write grants.

There is funding for summer research projects, but they have learned that some of these projects cannot’ be concluded in the summer.

Question during discussion: How do we collectively negotiate the bang for buck re: tools?

Answer: Leverage each other (skills and capacity, focusing it back into the classroom.

Embed faculty with experience in digital projects on T&P committees.

The process is devalued, we need to point out that the process can lead to learning, research and scholarly communication outputs. “Brilliant things do not plop out of nowhere.”

Paper Session (#s8): Public Digital Scholarship: Engaging Faculty in Student Research

  • “The Digital Lives and Afterlives of Collaborative Classroom Knowledge” Adam Haley (Pennsylvania State University)
  • “Online Hub as Individual and Public Springboard” Benjamin Rowles (Pennsylvania State University)
  • Integrating Public Scholarship into the Undergraduate Curriculum” Chris Long (Pennsylvania State University) @cplong #BUDSC14 #s8
    • Raised money for fellow, there is support for students who perform/make the grade and then have to meet additional qualifications of the Schreyer Honors College.
    • Liberal Arts Voices – internship abroad : blog when they went abroad and videotape an interview. Student respond that the blog and tape interviews caused them to, “slow down and unpack those reflections” and the that experience was “unique and life changing.”
    • Long and company are deliberating general education reform through the first year experience: They are seeking to combine writing and speaking general education courses, engaging the public, multimodal literacy in a digital age.
    • Assignments are often TedTalks, This I Believe or Mutimedia e-portfolios format.
    • Long advocates performing what you are advocating.

Public Digital Scholarship: Engaging Faculty in Student Research Benjamin Rowles, Adam Haley and Chris Long (Penn State)

Adam Haley @noendofneon spoke about the digital lives and afterlives of collaborative classroom knowledge, the digital ghosts of an analog or digital lifespan.

  • What happens when a class ends?
  • Utilized the Ketterling model of curricula building and built a curriculum prototype that benefited more often than not from digital scholarship and showed the liberal arts hass its own inherent value.
  • The class explored communicative practices in different forms of mediums. Digital scholarship can produce students comfortable communicating in all spaces: online & in-person

Trolls (internet) study – undergraduate study

Discovery grant looking at other forms of undergraduate scholarship than the usual research paper.

The Troll Bridge

  • A hub format was decided on
  • A historical interactive timeline (timeline.js) was built
  • Incorporated images, video, links to examples
  • Intended to be a public resource on trolling
  • Incorporated academic publications
  • Is a blog, an encyclopedia, an online forum
  • Produced sample syllabi, policy briefs etc
  • Fostered mentors and networking : dr.troll
  • Providing scholarship before a wider audience seems to force great focus and attention
  • Collecting, organizing and analyzing done in an existing hub makes the lives of those studying trolling a little easier.
  • Described as a research level contribution



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