Call to Join the Blog Parade: Teaching History in the Digital Age – Who, What, How? #dhiha8
June 17 and 18, 2019 will see the eighth colloquium in the “Digital Humanities at DHIP” series, organised by the German Historical Institute Paris in collaboration with the Luxembourg Center for Contemporary and Digital History: Teaching History in the Digital Age – International Perspectives #dhiha8.
In preparation for the symposium Teaching Digital History to Historians – International Perspectives, which will take place on 17 and 18 June 2019 at the German Historical Institute, in cooperation with the Luxembourg Centre for Contemporary and Digital History, we are organising a blog parade on “Digital History in Higher Education”. The texts can be published on the author’s blog, or on the German Historical Institute’s conference blog until 10 June 2019, in German, English or French. Their titles will contain the hashtag of the symposium, #dhiha8. The blog posts will be summarised and integrated into the afternoon workshop discussion. In particular, we would like to attract personal accounts of initiatives, examples from teaching practice or reflections on the following topics:
In recent years, the Digital Humanities community has advocated innovative methods, including the development of many digital tools that are not adapted to the specific field of history. Rather, these approaches have developed in the much more general field of humanities and computer science. Since many applications of the Digital Humanities are not yet subject to any disciplinary canon or standard, familiarisation with these methods and tools requires an intensive interdisciplinary effort of understanding that must generally be carried out individually. Within the Digital Humanities in recent years, there has been an in-depth reflection on the development of curricula and study programmes that are often dominated by computer content. In the field of history, this reflection is still in its infancy: few Master’s programmes offer a degree in digital history. In traditional curricula – whether at the bachelor’s or master’s level – the digital content of teaching and the number of modules around digital issues often depend on the commitment of each teacher. This raises again the question of the current university education of historians: is it still relevant today?
Which digital methodologies should we be teaching?
It is important for historians to understand the most common digital methodologies. Beyond hermeneutics, what are the fundamental approaches, what are the digital methods that should be taught and how can we address their limitations? While in the Digital Humanities indexing, annotation, editing, measuring and visualisation are seen as important dimensions of education, criticism of digital sources and especially the analysis of texts and data remain challenging tasks for historians. There are now many commercial and/or open source software products available that can be used to apply a wide variety of qualitative and/or quantitative data analysis methods. However, recent changes in degree structures in several European countries have severely limited the time available for students of history. Many students leave universities for the labour market after a bachelor’s degree. Therefore, the share of historical professional skills and digital methodological knowledge in the training of young students must be weighted internally. What does this mean for bachelor’s and master’s programs?
How can and should we train the trainers?
Development of tools and methods is rapid, but the time devoted to professional teacher training in Higher Education is very limited. Although there are summer schools or occasional workshops for teaching digital methods, they often offer targeted introductions to specific tools and techniques. These types of professional training do not provide an overview of digital methods. A more systematic knowledge of these methods is rarely offered for history teaching. Incentive structures for more in-depth digital training are lacking. Digital technology becomes a burden rather than an opportunity, especially when sophisticated didactic concepts and ideas form the basis of continuing education offers. Creative ideas are needed here to encourage teachers and students to invest in existing digital infrastructures on a daily basis.
Sharing ideas – Creating a Network
In order to encourage (digital) teaching of digital history, exchanges should not be limited to this workshop, but should lead to the establishment of a permanent network. In France, the first steps have already been taken with the creation of the e-numhist blog. In Germany, the blog of the AG Digitale Geschichtswissenschaft du VHD (Verband der Historiker und Historikerinnen Deutschlands e.V.) is available as a rallying point. First steps might include collecting syllabi containing concrete suggestions for digital education. A regular exchange of experience between academics teaching history is desirable and we will seek ways to organise it.
The blog parade
Blog posts are expected by June 10, 2019 and can be written in German, French, or English. Please use the hashtag #dhiha8 in the title and post it as a comment on this blog post and email it to Franziska Heimburger (franziska.heimburger (at) sorbonne-universite.fr)
The blogs of the German Historical Institute are at your disposal for the publication of blog posts. Please contact Mareike König (mkoenig (at) dhi-paris.fr.
The call in German https://dhdhi.hypotheses.org/5937
The call in French