This past weekend, the UK campus housed the first ever THATCamp in Kentucky. Just like all the other THATCamp unconferences (offered internationally, see the THATCamp Map showing all past and upcoming THATCamps), it was open to anyone and everyone who is interested in the places where technology and the humanities intersect.
It was organized by Lee Skallerup Bessette (@readywriting), a writer for Inside Higher Ed (see her blog “College Ready Writing”) and adjunct professor at Morehead State University. UK’s Division of Undergraduate Education helped with reserving the space and technology for everyone to use. 25-30 attendees over the two days came together to organize the Camp, present their proposed sessions and participate in the requested sessions.
Not everyone had a formal background or experience in the Humanities, but they were all interested in the Humanities and technology. Those who were faculty, academic librarians, administrators and students came from the following institutions:
- Emory University
- Morehead State University
- Northern Kentucky University
- University of Cincinnati
- University of Kentucky
- University of Louisville
- University of Manitoba
Others came from various walks of life, including a participant from the wild world of Wikipedia’s Wikimedia Foundation Ombudsman Commission who led the concurrent session of WikiMeetUp Kentucky 2013 (also a first for Kentucky). And still more joined in from a distance via the Twitter chat hashtag #THATCampKY (see the Twitter archive here).
Sessions included demonstrations of good practices in digital humanities, data-mining and visualization techniques, online teaching, and the use of Wikipedia. Some examples of interesting tools described are:
- Voyant Tools: a web-based reading and analysis environment for digital texts
- CamScanner HD: turns any Smartphone into a scanner
- Xtranormal: turns your words into a 3D animated movie
- Omeka.net: a hosting site from GMU for digital projects
- Juxta Commons: a tool to compare and collate versions of peer editing of a text
- Voice Comment in Microsoft Office Word: adding personalized sound objects inside a typical comment balloon in Word docs
Discussions ranged from the use of specific software applications to general principles and theories in digital humanities. Participants spoke in depth and with great passion topics such as representations of gender and race in digital media; authentic learning experiences; teaching students about their online reputations as well as safety and privacy issues; and, the ethics in using social media in the classroom or digital data for research.
All agreed it was a valuable time together, and we hope to launch another THATCampKY next year!