THATCamp stands for The Humanities and Technology Camp. This ‘unconference’ is a more collaborative and informal version of the traditional conference. There are no presentations, and instead of being guided by a schedule planned months in advance, the participants create the agenda as the unconference goes. Its a small group of individuals from a wide range of disciplines, and the traditional academic hierarchy and formal setting is absent. For a full description, check out the THATCamp About page. This past weekend, some of the GradHackers attended the THATCamp at the Center for History and New Media (CHNM) at George Mason University.

The Great Lakes THATCamp is where GradHacker first began looking for contributors, and when we first discussed our idea for an online collaborative grad community to the world. We wanted to continue the tradition of GradHacker getting inspiration from THATCamp. During this conference, I led a sessions focused on how to ‘hack’ grad school, specifically looking at how grad students can further benefit from the GradHacker online commmunity. Here are some of the highlights from the session that will be shaping the future of GradHacker.

1. GradHacker is going to start featuring posts from a variety of different academic blogs in order to allow for a variety of perspectives on issues. The goal is to have complementary posts on our site and others such as ProfHacker and Hack Lib School being posted on the same day regarding the same issues, but from different viewpoints.

2. We discussed the potential of having quick 2 minute videos of hacks for grads, such as how to start using Zotero or quick run throughs of how to use Twitter for networking. This is a feature we will be implementing in the future.

3. Boot camps is how GradHacker began, and we want to make sure that it continues to be an important part of our site. In order to do this, we are going to start looking for grad students from any university who want to host a boot camp (either run by a couple of us or run by you with help from us either through skype or through supplying materials). We will post up a call for hosting boot camps once we have this package ready.

4. Most importantly, we want to break down departmental silos. We want grad students from different disciplines to voice their opinion on topics, share different experiences, and speak out whether it be through comments or by writing a guest post (or becoming a contributing author). This is about building a community that spans disciplines!

THATCamp has been an extremely important place for the growth of GradHacker, and our own individual careers. If you are a grad student, espcially one in the humanities, and have the opportunity to attend a THATCamp, you should. It is invaluable towards learning about the role of digital in the discipline. It doesn’t matter if you have years of tech experience or none at all, the role of technology in academia is increasing and it’s in your interest to embrace it. Not only is it a great chance to network and learn new skills, but its a lot of fun!

If you have any interest in attending a THATCamp, check out their website: www.thatcamp.org or follow them @thatcamp

Also, if you have any ideas of what you want to see happen on GradHacker, thoughts about topics we should address, or if you are interested in having us come run a bootcamp- comment!

 

[Image by Flickr user G H Brett of the GradHacker team, used under Creative Commons license]

 

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4 Responses to THATCamp CHNM

  1. Alex Galarza says:

    Two things to harp on: THATCamp is fun! The networking and socializing is a blast and there is no cliquishness from those who have been around in the DH world for a while.

    Also, the perspectives and ideas you glean from others at the conference is invaluable in terms of professional development. I got a ton out of the #alt-ac, journalism/DH, and peer review sessions.

  2. [...] “THATCamp CHNM,” by Katy Meyers (of GradHacker.org) THATCamp has been an extremely important place for the growth of GradHacker, and our own individual careers. If you are a grad student, espcially one in the humanities, and have the opportunity to attend a THATCamp, you should. It is invaluable towards learning about the role of digital in the discipline. [...]

  3. Aden Nichols says:

    THATCamp is an amazing experience, and I strongly urge everyone with an interest in the role technology will play in the humanities in the days, weeks–years–to come to attend one SOON!

    As an “independent scholar,” I also wanted to point out that THATCamp is not limited to academia. It is a techno-caravanserai where we can all contribute to “moving the ball forward.” As a freelance writer, copyeditor, and historian, I am a passionate advocate for the role DH will play in fields that lie beyond the pale of the academy. The tools and projects currently being pioneered in university DH labs will necessarily affect the nature of scholarship, broadly defined. Therefore, I’m an enthusiastic evangelist of the “Big Tent” approach to DH.

    I’m looking forward to following your progress with GradHacker!

  4. [...] The Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media at GMU then secured funding in late 2009 to launch a platform for growing the thatcamp movement worldwide. The grant established Amanda French as coordinator, provided fellowships for grad students to attend the conference, and provided hosting and IT support for THATCamp websites. Since then, there have been over ninety regional and thematic THATCamps. The Chronicle of Higher Education blog Profhacker was born at a THATCamp and Gradhacker launched nearly a year ago at THATcamp Prime. [...]

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