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The IRIS Center and a Digital Humanities & Social Sciences Minor

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  1. The IRIS Center and a Digital Humanities & Social Sciences Minor Interdisciplinary Research and Informatics Scholarship Center SIUE Faculty Development Committee Symposium August 18, 2011

  2. What is Informatics Scholarshipin the Humanities and Social Sciences? • An innovative methodology for analyzing and presenting research • Peer-reviewed scholarship for the web or other digital media/outputs • Involves the creation of dynamic scholarly archives or the development of new digital tools for analyzing languages, literature, images, spaces, and/or periods • Projects are on-going and evolve as editors add additional primary source materials or new tools • Far beyond just a ‘web-page’, Informatics Scholarship re-invents the humanities & social sciences through digital media

  3. Archival Projects

  4. Data Visualization

  5. Data Preservation & Archive

  6. Extensive Collaborations

  7. The Necessity of Collaborative Effort in Digital Production

  8. Why Do Instructors and Students Need Informatics? • A need for scholarly, open-source resources • Entrance into conversations about web sustainability and the world’s library • The crisis in academic publishing • The rise of interdisciplinary collaboration

  9. Digital Research andthe Institution • Digital research centers are now a mainstay at most Research I institutions, offering technical support, interdisciplinary networking, and grant guidance to faculty • Programs at the University of Illinois, the University of Maryland, and the University of Nebraska grant post-graduate certificates and/or Ph.D.s in digital research • However, comparatively little has been done to foster undergraduate participation in these projects and outputs, which according to Jerome McGann is a necessary step for ensuring their future sustainability

  10. The IRIS Center at SIUE • Our new facility is located in Peck 0226 • We offer small group conferencing and research assistant work-space • We also offer state-of-the-art & regularly evolving computing facilities • We have the capabilities to host specialized software and hardware needs • We also can procure and host equipment for born-digital video, audio and imaging needs

  11. IRIS Center Services We offer programming & equipment maintenance & training expertise We also offer customizable faculty & student training opportunities We will provide grant application & management support (particularly for projects with digital applications/approaches) We also will provide opportunities for faculty networking & collaboration on grant applications & management in digital dimensions

  12. Current Student-Faculty Collaborative Projects at SIUE • Jessica DeSpain (English Language & Literature) • Kristine Hildebrandt & Larry LaFond (ELL: Linguistics) • Cory Willmott (Anthropology)

  13. An Interdisciplinary Minor in Humanities & Social Sciences at SIUE One well-promoted characteristic of SIUE is its quality education offered to undergraduates

  14. Undergraduate Education in the 21st Century • Most students we currently encounter at SIUE are working towards a degree to apply in non-academic professional contexts • According to Cathy Davidson (head of HASTAC, Duke University), it is increasingly important for such students to have opportunities to take generalist concepts & apply them in collaborative, technologically-assisted environments that let them move from idea to implementation • However, nobody can actually ‘teach’ this; it is applied, it is student-centered

  15. A Strange Irony • Collaboration is strongly promoted in early childhood education, but in higher education, particularly in the Humanities & Social Sciences (HSS), methods emphasizing the individual are overwhelmingly the focus of instruction and assessment • At the same time, a new education model is now emerging: The Apprenticeship Model • This model is inherently applied, and at its very foundation involves active student engagement in project conceptualization, design, publication/release and evaluation

  16. Ideally A well-rounded undergraduate education involves an interactive & reciprocal relationship across disciplines traditional “bio-sciences” analytical skills elemental interactions lab management traditional “humanities” historical analysis close text readings traditional “social sciences” ethnographic methods quantitative analysis • Additionally, it grounds these interdisciplinary skills in contemporary digital advancements • As such, application, active engagement, and innovation are part of the degree programs themselves • We see this minor as embracing these goals and practices

  17. IRIS and an Interdisciplinary Minor at SIUE • Created to foster the meaningful involvement of faculty & undergraduate students in: • Digital-research project management & design • Collaborative project conceptualization, work & discovery • Collaborative output evaluation • Collective objectives which also allow for individual achievement • Reciprocal skills training

  18. A Working Model:The Humanities Digital Workshop This collaborative faculty-student relationship is already proving to be successful at Washington University in St. Louis A key characteristic: many projects are staffed by students

  19. What Roles Can Students Play at IRIS and in This Minor? • Researcher Roles • the senior assignment, particularly in cross-disciplinary applications • Staffing Roles • research assistants, software research & development, fresh thinking in pre- and mid-granting phases • Data Management • TEI, relational databasing, audio-visual manipulation, transformation & archiving • Software Development • project-born software, existing software applications in new dimensions • Peer Apprenticeship Roles • student-student training opportunities

  20. What Can Students Learn Through Such a Minor? • TEI & metadata techniques for archiving & web programming • Image digitization for different formats & outputs • A-V capture, editing & digitization for different formats & outputs • Cross-disciplinary applications (through collaboration with LASA & IUS, for example) • Web 2.0 incorporation into degree specializations (facebook, twitter, texting, etc.) • Critical thinking about the theoretical & philosophical implications of technology • Best practices for web research and presentation • Writing for the web

  21. What Might Such a Minor Look Like at SIUE? We are in the initial phase of interacting with individual programs & their chairs to assess existing course relevance to IRIS initiatives e.g. GEOG 402 Cultural Landscapes (Professor G. Acheson) We are also working with faculty across disciplines to create new courses that embed IRIS methods & initiatives into degree-specific topics and objectives

  22. What Might Such a Minor Look Like at SIUE? We will create new IS and NFS courses in Applied Informatics (planned launch date of 2013) to attract newer undergraduate populations to the minor, or to consider these applications in their planned majors We will create a culminating (‘mini-capstone experience’) internship for minors, where they may partner SIUE-internally or with an approved community or corporate resource (e.g. Watershed Nature Center in Edwardsville, local public libraries, Missouri Historical Museum, etc.) towards digital innovations

  23. How Do Faculty Benefit From Such A Model and this Minor? • IRIS is a ‘third space’ where digital projects can be planned & developed via collaborative faculty-student interaction • This promotes the teaching of degree specializations using innovative approaches & materials--they are procured, housed, supported & maintained by knowledgeable staff • Students move from being passive ‘end users’ of innovative technology towards becoming active, informed agents in their creation & evolution • IRIS is a solution to the ‘(digital) silo’ problem found in many mid-sized state funded universities • IRIS is also an ideal space for the conceptualization & implementation of innovative and exciting senior projects

  24. Current Issues and Plans • Convincing faculty of the benefits of “the undergraduate student as R.A.” • Our ongoing staffing need in IRIS (and creative solutions to this) • Development of an interdisciplinary senior assignment program in conjunction with CAS departments • The development of a post-bachelors certificate in Applied Informatics • General outreach to faculty and departments--IRIS is a valuable resource searching for users!