13.0083 curricula? disappearance?

Humanist Discussion Group (humanist@kcl.ac.uk)
Thu, 1 Jul 1999 17:16:03 +0100 (BST)

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 13, No. 83.
Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London

[1] From: Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty@kcl.ac.uk> (41)
Subject: ways of teaching humanities computing

[2] From: Jim Marchand <marchand@ux1.cso.uiuc.edu> (14)
Subject: obsolescence, evanescence

Date: Wed, 30 Jun 1999 10:15:10 -0400
From: Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty@kcl.ac.uk>
Subject: ways of teaching humanities computing

Dear colleagues,

As our subject becomes more popular, numbers of students will increase --
as they already have begun to do where I ply my trade. At some point, it
becomes difficult to accommodate all those who want to take a practically
orientated humanities computing course in a single lab. What does one do
then -- without simply hiring another full-time lecturer?

There are other pressures too. As single intro courses develop into
programmes, interested departments may want more choices. Unlike most if
not all departments we serve, humanities computing necessarily has a
prominent service component. Requests from other departments must be
welcomed and dealt with. (This does not mean that h.c. is necessarily in a
passive role or must be content with a lesser status, only that *collegial*
service is a very important part of what it does.)

Thus the need for alternative models for teaching the subject, even at
institutions where courses or programmes are in place and working
successfully. Where should we look for those models?

Because teaching our subject involves equipment (except perhaps under
rather special circumstances), it seems to me that we should look to the
laboratory sciences, e.g. chemistry, physics, biology. The model I know
from having taken courses in those fields specifies the large lecture
section followed by practical tutorials with relatively small numbers of
students per tutorial/lab. In other words, the explicitly conceptual part
of the subject is separated from the explicitly practical. Because our
field is interdisciplinary, this might allow us to have tutorials/labs with
different emphases, though managing such a scenario might be impossibly

What do the sciences do, I wonder, with the need to process the "poets" --
i.e. students in the humanities who need to take a science course, or those
who simply (and laudably!) want to know what a particular science is like?
In particular, how do the sciences handle a student who has taken an "X for
poets" course then wants to switch into the mainstream of that subject? Is
the time spent in the poets' course necessarily wasted?

Because our field is a neophyte, we can hardly afford to take the robust
approach, as one might call it -- do it our way or get lost.

Ideas, comments?


Dr W.L. McCarty / Centre for Computing in the Humanities
King's College London / Strand / London WC2R 2LS U.K.
+44 (0)171 848 2784 / http://ilex.cc.kcl.ac.uk/wlm/
maui gratia

Date: Wed, 30 Jun 99 10:17:33 CST
From: Jim Marchand <marchand@ux1.cso.uiuc.edu>
Subject: obsolescence, evanescence

From: "Jim Marchand" <marchand@ux1.cso.uiuc.edu>

We have talked before about obsolescence and what one does with things such
as old Control Data tapes, even 5 1/4 " diskettes. I just had a friend
write about what to do with old fonts from Linguist's Software. These are,
of course, in bitmap format. I have the same problem with FancyFont fonts.
Often one has a window of opportunity to convert, but fails to do so, but it
is often just a technology, and often a good one, which passes by the
boards. Specific question: Does anyone know how to deal with old bitmap

Things disappear from the. During my late lamented move, I was offline for
a while, and an entire set of Marchandises (Latin Word Formation, Latin
Roots, Old Norse + translation, Muspilli, etc. etc.) disappeared. We have
been able to resurrect them, but this is not always true. What happens when
a site disappears?
Jim Marchand.

Humanist Discussion Group
Information at <http://www.kcl.ac.uk/humanities/cch/humanist/>