Well, classes start tomorrow, and I meet my student workers for the first time on Tuesday, so the time to get organized is NOW.
Along with several more useful meetings with people who have information and training to share about current DH projects on campus, this week a few over-arching things fell into place. First, the computers that the students will use (and, oddly, the positions that the students fill on campus) were officially blessed as “ongoing.” This means that the ancient computer will get replaced sometime in the next few weeks, and the newer computer will be automatically up for replacement when it reaches 5 years of age. What a relief! As anyone can tell you, the state of the digital humanities and of technology in general could be entirely different in 5 years, but whatever happens, I’m absolutely sure that faculty will still be performing scholarship, and student assistants will still need technology of some sort to help support that. So for now, that piece of academia’s future on our campus is a little less shaky. Whew.
A second big falling-into-place was that the college’s post-doc in Digital Humanities, Austin Mason, and I sketched out a kind of syllabus for our student workers. Their work is so very academic that this approach made natural sense to Austin and me. They have to get some basic training, but even more than that they have to learn to think like digital humanists. So they’ll each have the their own projects, but our weekly team meetings will also give them a chance to brainstorm with each other, explore topics in the field, and present their work. We’re also going to explore more conscious and consistent participation in the DH community by putting our thoughts and updates out there in the DH blogosphere rather than locking it down in a Moodle site. The DHA program already has a blog that needs some work, so one of our group projects is going to be to clean up the current structure, About Page, Bios, etc, and develop a coherent structure and look for our future work. Mundane or private things can be published privately, but we’re going to use the site pretty heavily for both internal and external communication.
Along with that, I’ve spent a few hours today setting up a workspace in Asana for us and linking it up to a Google Docs folder structure. There’s a Gdocs folder and an Asana project for every DH project we’ll be supporting, and I’ve built in regular recurring tasks to ask for documentation and project management, along with prompts about when to check in with me.
Of course, I still haven’t managed to secure a table to put in the room where we’ll meet and work. Tables are, apparently, worth their weight in gold on our campus.