Creating DHtrends: From crowdsourcing to collaboration
For the past two years, I’ve asked my DH graduate students to create a public, curated digest of tweets about digital humanities. We create these digests using Storify and post them weekly during fall and spring semesters. Many students find this tool useful (esp. for organizing and archiving conference tweets), and delving into Twitter discussions gives them an invaluable perspective on the field, given how much DHers like social media. More importantly, I like that we can turn this learning opportunity into a public resource from which others can benefit.
After several semesters, I learned that this online work needs to enter into our in-class discussions as well, so I started asking students to begin each class with a short presentation of their digest and a discussion of its contents. We get to hear why students chose the tweets they did, and the whole class can make links to current and former readings and projects they’ve seen. At times, I’m able to add more context to something that’s posted, and all of this helps students get a hands-on sense of how the DH community works.
Usually, each student signs up for one week, giving us coverage over the whole semester. This spring, I have a small section, so I presented several options on how we might pull things off. One of my students suggested that everyone pick one day each week to monitor Twitter (I agreed to take one as well) and that we publish the digest jointly as a class. I was thrilled at the collaborative aspect of this suggestion and added that we should begin each class with a half-hour project meeting where we review and discuss the tweets nominated over the course of the week and package up the digest for publication. There’s already been some side-chatter about this week’s digest on Twitter, and I think it’s a sign of good things to come.
You can follow @DHtrends or check out our first digest on Tuesday around 3:30pm EST at http://storify.com/DHtrends, and I’ll report back later in the semester on how our new collaborative model is going.
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