Phase three started with handling the CUNY DHI publicity, and responding to my fellow Instructional Technology Fellow about constructing a WordPress site that is readable by JAWS for a visually impaired professor. I directed the question to two of my friends in composition/rhetoric who focus on disability studies – Dale Katherine Ireland and Andrew Lucchesi. I think this is a great example of how many of us work in the digital humanities – we may not have all the answers, but we know who or where to go to find them.
After emailing back and forth with my collaborator Ben Miller, we decided (after many attempts by Ben to fix the problem) that we should go ahead with the WST tutorials despite existing glitches. If you have worked with Drupal, you know how difficult a seemingly simple fix can be – especially after a version update.
Then I spent the next 3 hours using Camtasia to record and edit a virtual walk through of the site. Thanks to Andrew’s recommendation, I was using this software for the second time, and felt this was a good opportunity to review it here. I must say, it is very simple to use, and pretty satisfying. However, you should watch the tutorial before getting started (especially if you don’t have a friend who has used it and a shared office to experiment in). I had some difficulty getting started, since I tend to be verbose and provide too much information in a short time. About five or six takes in I finally had my intro streamlined and the rest seemed to flow. The most frustrating part of this activity was that running Camtasia caused the WST to load very slowly – and it already takes a long time for the full network to render. This meant figuring out how to pause and restart the recording process effectively, and then editing out any gaps.
I sent the video to my collaborators (Jill Belli, Ben Miller, and Sondra Perl) for review, and will post them to the site tomorrow after my Instructional Technology Fellows meeting. All I can say, is that I am happy I am not a video editor full-time. It is certainly not my calling, but I am glad I know how to do it with a relative amount of proficiency. And to keep things in prospective, when I shared my frustration with my husband (via GChat) he said:
Robert: imagine doing it before digital editing. Stop. Record. Play. Stop. Eject. Insert tape 4. Record. Play.
Truth. I am lucky to have a husband who gets it.
It is apparently Rex Manning Day. Awesome. I leave you to contemplate Empire Records. Happy DHing.
After my Google Hangout troubleshooting session, I made a plan of attack for my video tutorials in a shared Google Doc called “WST to-do list” which my team has been updating since 2011/12. The Writing Studies Tree is a project founded by a class of graduate students and run primarily by two doctoral students (Ben Miller and myself) and a new assistant professor (Jill Belli, who was a grad student when she started the project). Since this is not either of our dissertation projects, and we do not get paid in any way for our work on the WST, things move slowly. We are constantly writing grants, applying for conferences, and squeezing in meetings to ensure the project stays alive. This is why I am making these screen casts today when it has been on our to-do list for almost a year.
However hard it is to maintain, this project has taught me more about DH than all of my other work combined. I have designed an orals list around DH, taken coursework that focused on DH or included work on new media and/or digital pedagogy, I work on a open access journal, and co-organize CUNY DHI...but building and managing the Writing Studies Tree puts everything I have learned into action and demands I constantly learn new skills.
I must take this opportunity to thank Jen Gulliano for their project management course at (what was then called) DHWI. And a special thank you to Steve Brier for supporting my work on the WST through my Interactive Technology and Pedagogy Certificate independent study.
Working out is very important in my life. It keeps me focused and happy. This month I am working Garden State Yoga’s 20 in 30 challenge into my routine. Today was my 7th Power Yoga class since April 1st. And for this challenge, stickers are our sparkleponies :o)
I love to cook, and I love Pinterest. Mexican slaw recipe for those who share these obsessions.
So for today’s exercise in social media, I will be writing up my Day of DH activities in the style of a web log – or daily journal. I am aiming for transparency, and am thinking about the style of ProfHacker and other academic sites that offer not just advice about disciplinary work and professionalization, but also ways to manage your everyday life. Please forgive the insignificant details, but FWIW this really is how I spend my days.
Today’s morning consisted of coffee, Kashi Go-Lean Crunch with a pear, and lots of water. As always, I immediately check my email (I have all of my accounts forwarded to gmail, and sorted) and answer those that are pressing first. This grey day I awoke to find Micki Kaufman confirming our meeting to discuss strategies to clean up my dissertation data on Thursday, and a reminder from Eventbrite that our CUNY DHI event featuring Lauren Klein (an alumni of my program) is coming up. This reminder prompts me to add emailing and posting reminders to my to-do list.
Next, I set up for a virtual meeting with a graduate student, Sundus from the University of South Florida. Sundus has a few questions about my collaborative project the Writing Studies Tree. She is attempting to add in all of the students who have worked under her adviser Joe Moxley from a list he provided. We set up a Google Hangout yesterday (invited through GCal), and I GChat her telling her I am ready, but a very loud car alarm is going off outside my window (#fail). Once the noise stops, we join the call and use the screen share function to go through her process step-by-step. The result is that the “this took place at” function of the site is broken. I investigate from my end to make sure it isn’t a browser issue, but decide this won’t be an easy fix and proceed to give Sundas a simple alternative. You can add locations for any node in the tree by creating a “studied at” or “worked at” relationship. This solves her problem, and Joe shows up in the background to say hello. I thank him for including our project in UnCommon News. Since he posted, we have had about 50 new visitors to the site!
Now, I will take notes on this meeting and email my team to troubleshoot this issue. Plus, this walk though was conveniently a good test run for my next project: creating video tutorials for the WST.