VIDEO: Jon Bath on further DH applications


Jon Bath – Day of Digital Humanities 2015.

Jon Bath is the Director of the Humanities and Fine Arts Digital Research Centre at the University of Saskatchewan. He also co-leads the Modelling & Prototyping team of Implementing New Knowledge Environments. Jon has generously recorded and posted this video for the ETCL and for everyone tuned in to the Day of DH blogs around the world. He explains how he has used DH techniques in order to improve his administrator skills. Jon wanted to plan a better, more effective curriculum — watch the video to hear about his techniques and findings.

We welcome responses / further commentary either through comments or on Twitter!

4 thoughts on “VIDEO: Jon Bath on further DH applications”

  1. Thanks so much for this enlightening talk Jon! You have used visualization techniques to capture something fundamental about humanities classes, which is that they are applicable to students in a wide variety of degrees. I’d be interested in exploring this kind of visualization further. For example, what non-humanities degrees incorporate the largest number of humanities classes? Also, does taking humanities classes correlate to academic success in other disciplines? Thanks again for this wonderful talk!

  2. Thanks Dan. I think you’ve hit the nail on the head — I’m very interested in both using these methods to help prove the validity of the humanities. Along those lines, I don’t think it was coincidental that it was people in the humanities who thought of applying these “quantitative” techniques to the university’s data — we have been trained to think differently, and that’s a good thing!

  3. Hey Jon,

    Thanks so much for this talk! I especially appreciate one of the outcomes of your project: to revise the narrative of the humanities in the Canadian university. Not to go on a the-humanities-is-in-crisis rant or anything, but I do feel like there are many statistics that try to devalue the humanities. There seems to be endless public diatribes about the “uselessness” of the discipline, many of which are based on economic metrics or models, and which, unfortunately, manifest as funding cuts.

    By using DH methods you’re able to recast that narrative. I really like that you use computational / analytical methods that are equally robust to those of the naysayers in order to reflect on the widespread uptake of the humanities, to ruminate on how it affects the undergraduate experience as a whole, and to consider how the diversity of the humanities underlies academic (infra)structure. I like to think of the humanities as a foundation for critical thought, and I repeatedly rely on the skills I learnt / am learning from the humanities to communicate effectively and to engage in sociopolitical contexts in meaningful ways.

    After my lengthy ramble, a simple question: what are your next steps for this experiment?

    All best,

  4. Thanks Alyssa. Of course one of the problems of our background is at the same time I’m making this tool I’m also constantly deconstructing it. For example, by just looking at the courses taken by people who actually graduate are we actually neglecting the experiences of those whose paths through academia are “more interesting,” and thus making our plans based on the status quo?

    What’s next? Well now that the data set is up over a million classes I am being forced to optimize my code and visualizations, and move it to a new server, as it’s becoming very clunky. I started this project partly as a way to learn how to handle big data and it’s definitely been a learning curve. I’m also constantly adding new ways to filter the data to the UI. In the video I just showed the outputs but the actual interface has many different ways to tailor the results. Most importantly though, I’ve got the tool in the hands of several different groups doing curriculum planning and am excited to see how this knowledge helps in that process.

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