POST: Lessons Learned from “Bridging the Gap: Women, Code, and the Digital Humanities”

Celeste Sharpe and Jeri Wieringa (George Mason University) have written a post on the Association for Computers and the Humanities blog about their experience with DH Bridge, “an open curriculum and workshop framework for teaching computational thinking in the context of the humanities.”

Taking a cue from Rails Bridge and Rails Girls, the project:

set out to adapt the model of a distributed pedagogy to the needs of humanities scholars who, while not looking to become programmers per se, want to develop the skills and patterns of thinking necessary to apply computational methods to their scholarship.

The course explored the Digital Public Library of America’s collections using Python and the Natural Language Toolkit. Pedagogically speaking, Sharpe and Wieringa chose to lead participants from concrete problems and data to more abstract concepts, which is the opposite approach of many coding tutorials, because they found that that the former had a better balance between the conceptual and technical.

The organizers also argued that their training model fills a need in the DH training landscape for local and regional events that are informal and offer intensive learning opportunities yet are not resource intensive to organize or attend (i.e. no registration costs, only one or two days, and minimal travel requirements).

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This post was produced through a cooperation between Megan Browndorf, Nickoal Eichmann, Jen Hunter, Paula S. Kiser, Bobby Smiley, and Ayla Stein (Editors-at-Large for the week), Zach Coble (Editor for the week), Sarah Potvin (Site Editor), and Caitlin Christian-Lamb, Caro Pinto, Roxanne Shirazi, and Patrick Williams (dh+lib Review Editors).