Higher Education Programs in Digital Humanities: Challenges and Perspectives

Date: 
Tuesday, March 14, 2017 -
09:00 to 12:00

Preconference workshop on higher education programmes in digital humanities at the Second Digital Humanities in the Nordic Countries conference in April 14, 2017 in Gothenburg, Sweden.

Introduction

Different aspects related to higher education programs in Digital Humanities (DH), whether, what and how they should be organized, are currently discussed at many higher education institutions in Nordic countries and beyond. In recent years the establishment of new educational programs under the title of Digital Humanities, for example in the USA, UK and Germany, are an indication of a perceived need for developing such specific curricula. DARIAH-EU has a dedicated research and education centre under the title of Virtual Competency Centre (VCC) Research and Education Liaison (http://www.dariah.eu/activities/research-and-education.html). DARIAH-EU also runs a registry of Digital Humanities education in Europe (http://dh-registry.de.dariah.eu) which, as of 10 January 2017, lists currently active 17 Bachelor degrees, 38 Master degrees, and 8 individual courses. The University of Stuttgart and the University of Trier are just two examples that run programs under the actual title of Digital Humanities. Similarly, EADH (European Association for Digital Humanities) provides a list of education programs, courses and seminars in Europe (http://eadh.org/education) and names: 7 undergraduate programs and courses, all with terms like Digital Humanities, Humanities Computing and related in the title; 20 postgraduate ones with a more mixed array of titles; and, 4 PhD programs, all with the title of Digital Humanities or very similar (University College London, King’s College London, a cluster of 4 Irish universities, and University of Passau).

In the Nordic countries similar efforts are underway at the University of Gothenburg (http://lir.gu.se/english/education/masters-second-cycle/master-s-program... humanities), which is launching a Master in Digital Humanities in autumn 2017. The University of Helsinki (https://www.helsinki.fi/en/researchgroups/helsinki-digital-humanities) is also offering a set of courses in Digital Humanities. Linnaeus University (https://lnu.se/digihum/) aims towards developing an international distance Master program in Digital Humanities, with a pilot program starting in the autumn of 2017. At the same time, at other universities, courses in digital methods and topics have been integrated as a part of existing and new programs as specific compulsory and elective modules, or by including Digital Humanities related topics and perspectives as a part of other courses.

However, what a dedicated course, module or program in the field of Digital Humanities should cover is not always clear. There is a considerable variation between different offerings including diverse content and approaches. The vast range of disciplines, fields, areas and topics relevant to Digital Humanities present a challenge as to what to include in a dedicated program, how to address the different challenges related to bringing together different disciplinary traditions and methods, and how to accommodate professional, infrastructural and academic requirements for such initiatives. Moreover, there are several challenges associated with what is expected from the outcomes of these new educational programs and efforts. Which job positions and tasks could a graduate Digital Humanist take on after completion of a Digital Humanities program? Is there a need for Digital Humanists as such or should education in all humanities subjects be more inclusive of digital technology-related, cross-disciplinary and cross-sectorial topics? If the latter is the case, do we need entire programs or could the alternative of focusing on dedicated modules or individual courses address existing and emerging needs of both the academic and the non-academic spheres? Furthermore, if both approaches were deemed to have their merits, how do they differ, overlap and complement each other in the context of educating future researchers and professionals for different sectors of the society?

The aim of this proposed workshop at DHN 2017 is to bring together scholars, educators and others interested in different aspects of Digital Humanities education to explore the current potential and challenges and opportunities related to the teaching and learning of Digital Humanities. The workshop will provide an opportunity to share experiences, discuss existing programs, modules and courses in Digital Humanities, research and development activities, evaluation approaches, lessons learned, and findings. A further objective is to systematically engage in discussions in common areas of interest with selected related communities and to investigate potential co-operation and concrete collaborative activities.

The workshop will allow major established programs and initiatives to report results, newcomers to interact with established people in the field in order to allow the entire community to critically discuss topical issues. The DHN venue encourages participation by Digital Humanities teachers, researchers and developers from different perspectives (reflecting the different conference threads). As the first workshop on education at DHN, it may set the path for future workshops at the annual DHN conferences in order to establish and provide a regular forum for discussions on education in Digital Humanities in Nordic countries and beyond.

Workshop themes

The proposed workshop will have three themes as the main focus, together with topical presentations arising from the workshop CfP. The main themes are enumerated below:

  1. Existing programs, modules or individual courses in Digital Humanities: design, target student groups, content, job market, evaluation, experiences and lessons learned.
  2. Currently developed programs, modules or individual courses in Digital Humanities: approaches to the design, target student groups and related issues.
  3. Cross-disciplinary and cross-sectorial collaboration in Digital Humanities education.

Workshop structure

Indicative agenda structure, covering approximately 4 hours:

  • Session 1: Welcome, introduction, mutual presentations (30 min duration)
  • Session 2: Presentations on the main themes (90 min duration)
  • Session 3: Directed discussion emerging from the main session 30 min duration)
  • Session 4: Presentation and discussion of submitted papers on timely and related topics according to the CfP (60 min duration)
  • Session 5: Concluding discussion, including options for co-operation (30 min duration).

Audience

The intended audience includes: teachers and managers at existing and developing Digital Humanities programs; researchers working with topics in Digital Humanities education; professionals who are interested in taking a Digital Humanities program, modules, or courses.

Number of participants: 20

Organizers

Jenny Bergenmar
Department of Literature, History of Ideas and Religion, University of Gothenburg, Sweden
jenny.bergenmar@lir.gu.se

Koraljka Golub (primary contact)
Department of Cultural Sciences, Linnaeus University, Sweden
koraljka.golub@lnu.se

Isto Huvila
Department of Archival Science, Library & Information Science and Museum & Heritage Studies, Uppsala University, Sweden
isto.huvila@abm.uu.se

Marcelo Milrad
Department of Media Technology, Linnaeus University, Sweden
marcelo.milrad@lnu.se

Mikko Tolonen
Helsinki Collegium of Advanced Studies University of Helsinki
mikko.tolonen@helsinki.fi

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