The primary focus of the third and final day of the June 2013 Summer Institute was digital maps and images. First, Jason Menard (IT) gave us an introduction to the field of Geographic Information Systems, or GIS, and its applications in digital humanities and the academic realm. He also spoke briefly about a project that Mary Titus (English) has been working on, as she maps the novel Ragged Dick by Horatio Alger. Then, after the brief introduction, we got to try out some GIS software ourselves as Jason led everyone through an exercise in ArcMap, a component of the ArcGIS suite of geospatial processing software. We first tackled the basics of ArcMap using a map of the world’s continents, rivers and lakes, and then moved on to a more analytical exercise focused on suitability data for New York’s Manhattan island.
In the afternoon, Alexis Logsdon (Libraries) gave a brief presentation on copyright, fair use and image licensing. This led us into an exploration of image databases and open source images, aided by the library staff. Though there is lots of room for fair use in academics, it is not entirely predictable; and as we learned in this session, Creative Commons licensed materials and Public Domain materials give us the predictability that is so lacking with fair use.
Day 3 ended with what is affectionately known as the “Cake Workshop.” Participants and facilitators enjoyed cake, refreshments and (this year) a special musical performance from Phinehas Bynum and his iPad peripherals. Before ending the day, we had a brief wrap-up and discussion time in which all of those who participated were able to share their perspectives on the Institute and give suggestions for future sessions.
Day 2 of the June Summer Institute kicked off with a presentation from Gary Muir, head of CILA. Gary gave us a brief history of MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses), which are a relatively new development in the field of distance learning. A MOOC is a course that is typically free, credit-less, and allows open enrollment, often on a large scale (anywhere from 100-50,000). MOOCs have been on the rise in recent years, and institutions such as Harvard and Yale have even begun offering them.
Following a discussion of the benefits and pitfalls of the MOOC, Nancy Aarsvold introduced an alternative type of online course known as a SPOC (small private online course). Professors Tina Garrett of St. Olaf and Chad Topaz of Macalester have used this term to describe their Online Course in Applied Calculus, which is being offered this summer and is limited to 20 students.
Next, Perrin Bishop-Wright (IT) led a workshop on screencasting using Apple’s Quicktime Player. We explored the Quicktime interface and the flexibility it allows for recording lectures, presentations and tutorials. After lunch, we continued our exploration of digital audio and video as library staff members Beth Christensen, Kasia Gonnerman, Alexis Logsdon and Ken Johnson gave us a tour of the wide variety of streaming audio and video databases available through the library’s website.
The afternoon iPad Workshop began with a tutorial from Nancy Aarsvold on how to create slideshows and recorded presentations with ease using Keynote or Explain Everything – both popular apps for creating and playing presentations on the iPad. Next, Erin Chambers(WLC/IT) walked us through iMovie for the iPad, which allows users to record video clips with their iPad and then easily edit and combine those clips to create movies with titles, transitions, voice overs and more. Finally, Phinehas Bynum (IT) gave us a demonstration of GarageBand for the iPad, which is a mobile version of Apple’s popular recording and editing program. GarageBand supports external microphones and instruments while also offering Touch Instruments to provide users with a full-featured recording studio right on their iPad.
The first Summer Institute of 2013 kicked off on Monday, June 10th with a welcome and introduction from Nancy Aarsvold (IT) and Kasia Gonnerman (Libraries). Our mission during these three days, as with all of our Summer Institute sessions at St. Olaf, is to explore current digital technologies and collections and consider the ways they can transform our teaching and research. In our morning session, Kasia Gonnerman led us in an exploration of how we define digital scholarship or digital humanities, and then presented us with examples of digital research projects being used across a wide array of disciplines, from collecting the works of writer Willa Cather into a searchable, analyzable site to mapping legal records, newspapers and other publishings on Harlem in the early 1900’s.
For the second morning session, Jerad Maplethorpe (IT) led a hands-on workshop on WordPress, the web publishing platform that is now being used for the St. Olaf website. Student workers from the MDC offered help and training as we each looked at our own personal St. Olaf “pages” and explored the possibilities for a personal website of that kind. Meanwhile, Nancy Aarsvold and other MDC student workers led a workshop on the new 2013-2014 Moodle server for those interested.
In the afternoon, the library staff led us on exploration of Bridge2, which allows users to search not only the library catalogs at Carleton and St. Olaf, but also a vast array of articles, journals, ebooks, newpapers, audio recordings, video recordings, and more. Then, after a short break, we began our first iPad Workshop of the week. Phinehas Bynum (IT) guided us through the basic gestures and functions for navigating the device and its wide variety of apps and services. He also shared tips for improving usability and privacy by changing some things in the iPad’s global settings. We then looked at a number of useful iPad apps, from note-taking apps such as Evernote (which allows you to keep all your notes in one place, and access them on all of your devices) to e-Reader apps such as Kindle, iBooks and ebrary.