Category Archives: CTE

Teaching Toolbox 2018

FacebookTwitterShare

Do you have students work with timelines in class? Do you teach surveys, or long texts that have substantial narrative components unfolding over time? Have you used Northwestern University’s Knight Lab’s Timeline JS?

I am developing an assignment that uses Timeline JS to recreate a novel with enriched digital resources.

TimelineJS is an open-source tool that enables anyone to build visually rich, interactive timelines. Beginners can create a timeline using nothing more than a Google spreadsheet [and experts] can use their JSON skills to create custom installations, while keeping TimelineJS’s core functionality.

Here is a sample timeline using Timeline JS to explore the history of Women and Computing.

It uses Google Sheets to organize the information and an open-source javascript code that renders that information in an easy-to-use timeline. Timeline JS can incorporate media from many sources to help you develop rich timelines for a variety of purposes–teaching or learning content, studying for exams, learning about research and writing, and much more.

TimelineJS can pull in media from a variety of sources. Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, Vimeo, Vine, Dailymotion, Google Maps, Wikipedia, SoundCloud, Document Cloud and more!

I am testing what this might look like in an assignment focused both on understanding a novel–Frances Burney’s Evelina--and learning how to research using quality, reliable, freely-available materials online. My task is complicated by the fact that Evelina is an epistolary novel, which means it is told entirely in letters, and the dates are not always confirmed.

My ideal use of this tool would be in EN340: Major Women Writers, which is LT-2 and WI, but I could also imagine incorporating it in a history or a survey course.  By sharing the google sheet on which the timeline is based via Canvas, students could be assigned letters or chapters to add to the timeline.

Some things I’ve discovered so far are that you can add entries in the timeline to groups, useful for visualizing the epistolary network of who writes to whom, and you can also use simple numbers instead of dates in the year category–by doing that, coupled with providing a “display date” that can be a text string, one can create a non-date-specific timeline, useful for a novel. Here is a link to the working timeline, which is embedded below.

Things to consider when developing the assignment:

  • How and when to paraphrase or excerpt a representative quote from the letter? This might teach identifying importance, a notoriously difficult skill for students to learn.
  • How to identify what makes a relevant media resource linked explicitly to the letter? This is useful for teaching research and information literacy.
  • How to cite and caption that media resource? This helps with citation and “filling in the gaps,” which is important for clarity.
  • How might the assignment divide the work, if students work in groups?
  • How best to use the date/display date tools, given the nature of the text you’re working with? Evelina is sometimes dated (often not), and is organized by letter number.
  • Add a title slide to your timeline by giving it the type feature “title”. “Era” types need a start and an end date. One could usefully define large chunks of the narrative by using “era”–for instance, Volume 1 of Evelina, or the time Evelina spends in London with the Branghtons.

Here is my working sample; the link above will take you to a full-screen version:

Demo Timeline: Evelina

Have you used Timeline JS to recreate a novel with enriched digital resources? I am testing what this might look like in an epistolary context, using Frances Burney’s EvelinaBy sharing the google sheet on which the timeline is based, students could be assigned letters or chapters to add–some things I’ve discovered so far are that you can add entries in the timeline to groups, useful for visualizing the epistolary network, and you can also use simple numbers instead of dates in the year category–by doing that, coupled with providing a “display date” that can be a text string, one can create a non-date-specific timeline, useful for a novel.

Things to consider: how and when to paraphrase or excerpt a representative quote from the letter, identifying what makes a relevant media resource, how to cite and caption it, using groups (how many can be used?), how best to use the date/display date tools, what is the “type” feature.

Teaching with technology materials

Materials for my two sessions are available in a google drive folder here. If you want easier access to the google doc on using google drive (very meta, I know!), I’ve made it public to anyone in the world to view; here’s a link to it, and it’s also embedded below. Now that I’ve put this link here, you should be able to search the web for it!

Here’s the google doc on using images in the classroom; I’ve also published and embedded it below.

Innovations 2012

Ever wonder how web-based tools and text-based analysis intersect? Come find out how to analyze literature (and text more broadly understood) using a variety of online tools that have minimal learning curves.  I will introduce you to a manageable number of such tools–Voyant, Mandala browser, ManyEyes, and others–and then we will experiment with  them as a group and independently. This demonstration and workshop will be useful for pedagogical and scholarly purposes.

I encourage you to bring a sample text or corpora you want to work with during the session; it should be in either .TXT format, a .ZIP collection of texts, .XML, or, in some cases, a URL that points to a text you want to work with. I will also bring a selection of texts for us to draw on. Online materials will be located at http://cerosia.org–search for keyword “innovations.” This session derives from material covered in the 2012 University of Victoria Digital Humanities Summer Institute.

Coursepack: Online tools for literary analysis

Plaintext and ZIPped corpora

Links to electronic text collections:

Bamboo DiRT (Digital Research Tools)

Bamboo DiRT is a tool, service, and collection registry of digital research tools for scholarly use. Developed by Project Bamboo, Bamboo DiRT is an evolution of Lisa Spiro’s DiRT wiki and makes it easy for digital humanists and others conducting digital research to find and compare resources ranging from content management systems to music OCR, statistical analysis packages to mindmapping software.

TAPoR (Text Analysis Portal) [TAPoR2 Test Environment–try this link if the first doesn’t work]

TAPoR is a gateway to the tools used in sophisticated text analysis and retrieval. Browse tools by type or tag, search and use tools, read and create tool reviews, contribute and advertise your own tools.

Voyant Tools

Voyant is a web-based text analysis environment. It is designed to be user-friendly, flexible and powerful. Voyant is part of the Hermeneuti.ca, a collaborative project to develop and theorize text analysis tools and text analysis rhetoric. This section of the Hermeneuti.ca web site provides information and documentation for users and developers of Voyeur. Note: The original name of the environment was “Voyeur,” which was recently changed given the connotations of “voyeur.” You might see these names used interchangeably. You can also get to Voyant Tools via TAPoR.

IBM ManyEyes

View, discuss, and create data sets and visualizations of data sets using a variety of filters including pie charts, scatterplots, bubble charts, treemaps, word clouds, phrase nets, and more.

Google n-Gram viewer

Read more about the Google n-Gram viewer here. See some sample uses of the n-Gram viewer here. Try it yourself!

Zotero timelines

Make a timeline from your Zotero collections to visualize your research.

Juxta (Collation Software for Scholars): http://juxtacommons.org

Sample visualizations, :

Relative word frequencies of five gothic novels (Voyant)


 

 

Innovations in Teaching and Scholarship (2011)

This year’s Innovations conference is nigh upon us, and I’ll be presenting in the 10:30 1:00-2:30 workshop slot before after lunch to my faculty colleagues. The topic? Google Takes Over, But WordPress is Waiting: Sites, Blogs, and Calendars. Please swing by if you have questions, want to play around with Google Sites and WordPress, or learn how to use your Google calendar more effectively!

Are you hearing things about Google calendar, but don’t quite know how to use it or what it can do? Did you know that students can use Google sites to create and maintain portfolios and other webpages—would you like to know more? What about our University-wide WordPress blogging platform installation? Don’t be afraid—come play with us!

I’ll be going over how to use Google Sites and MUblog, and then answering any questions folks have about Google Calendar, Starfish’s interface with Google, and so on.

Update: Please note that when you’re using MUblog, and creating a new site, your site name must have no spaces or punctuation. However, your title may be as descriptive as you like it! This information is not in the handout, linked above. Thanks everyone for coming!