The international workshop WEDHIA is part of the 4-year Talent Cultivation Project for Digital Humanities (TCDH) sponsored by R.O.C.’s Ministry of Education. The project and the workshop are engaged in the idea of consilience between science and the humanities. While various efforts have been tried before TCDH, the gulf between science and the humanities remain palpable (Slingerland and Collard, 2011). The current ICT and digital revolution can either deepen the gap or, if properly channeled, facilitate consilience. It is the latter the essential goal of TCDH. To reach the goal, TCDH runs a large-scale pedagogical experiment by encouraging novel course designs that integrate digital technology into the education of the broadly defined humanities. In the meanwhile, WEDHIA is organized as a platform to connect the international communities of scholars, pragmatists, and policymakers with similar pursuits.
Over the last five semesters (from Spring, 2017, to Spring, 2019), the TCDH project has granted 124 courses. These courses have been archived online and free to the public. These courses in part reveal the “experimental outcomes” of the TCDH project. Among these outcomes, what concerns us most is what this digital age means for the humanities and how these implications can be reified through pedagogical innovation. Alternatively put, how the pedagogy of the humanities and social sciences, as conventionally recognized, can be reshaped or renovated in the era filled with digital promises and, simultaneously, fraught with digital perils.
From the 124 courses, one may be able to gain some insights and to broach the issues above. In fact, many of them illustrate how digital promises can be incorporated into the curriculum design to transform a conventional course through an ontological and/or methodological reorientation. The resultant pedagogical innovation also enables students to grapple with various challenges from the current digital revolution. Even so, the road toward advanced transformation, from Ver. 1.0 to Ver. 2.0, is filled with turns and twists. By and large, the challenges have four dimensions: organizing an interdisciplinary team, choosing proper tools, guiding students from scratching to getting immersed, and, finally, enhancing the former three with the support from industry and/or professional people. Success or failure in each dimension will eventually determine whether the course can be profoundly elevated to Ver. 2 or remain where it was.
We invite submissions of abstracts relating (but not limited) to the following aspects of the theme of this year:
• From A to Z, where to see the changing face of the humanities and social sciences
• How to organize an Interdisciplinary Team and Co-teaching
• Digital Promises and Perils: Tools and Data
• Student Sessions (by invitations only)
We particularly encourage the organization of special sessions or panels.
Each of the four topics of interest is briefly described as below.
From A to Z, where to see the changing face of the humanities and social sciences
We encourage instructors to share the stories and experiences of designing a novel curriculum by incorporating digital promises. We also welcome the submissions from the pedagogical viewpoint to address innovative course designs that transform an old-fashioned course into a modern one by not only using new methods but also exploring or experiencing alternative ontologies. We solicit instructors from literature, history, applied linguistics, foreign languages, museum studies, local history, placemaking, tourism, long-term care, music, art, theater, designs, sports, political science, governance, public administration, law, legal studies, economics, psychology, management, business, finance, investment, communication, social medium, cultural studies, etc. In these sessions, each presenter is expected to briefly review how the course was taught conventionally, and how it has been transformed in a novel way. The following questions are also expected to be addressed: In this novel design what is the contribution of digital tools and/or big data and/or industrial collaboration? What are the tools/data? What is the significance of this novel design, including its implications for knowledge domain and industrial applications? How is the new curricular received by the community? What is the students’ response? What is the advice for prospective instructors?
Organizing an Interdisciplinary Team and Co-teaching
Almost all courses under TCDH are interdisciplinary. Interdisciplinarity makes a single instructor difficult to handle even a single class but heavily rely on the support of colleagues with the different expertise, which in turn forges a unique co-teaching culture of TCDH. However, there has been little opportunities for those interdisciplinary teaching teams to share their experiences. In the sessions associated with this subject, we solicit submissions to narrate and share the stories and experiences on the entire co-teaching process, starting from the team organization to the division-of-labor issue in course planning and curriculum design, specifically on the balance between the use of technology and the learning and discovery of knowledge as well as on the dynamics of the teaching teamwork, i.e., the conversations and collaboration among instructors with different disciplinary backgrounds, from science (engineering) to the humanities, in the ethos of the “Two Cultures” (Snow, 1959, 1963).
Digital Promises and Perils: Data and Tools
In addition to portraying the changing face in a panoramic manner, it is also important to give a fine look at the pedagogical environment characterized by (big) data and tools. Sessions associated with this subject will address digital promises and perils to the pedagogy of the humanities and social sciences from the perspective of tools and data per se. The categories of the tools include, but not limited to:
• Programming Language
• Statistical Software
• Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Natural Language Processing
• Textual Information Extraction
• Spatial Information Processing
• Robots, Chatbots, Apps
• VR, AR, and MR
• Business Analytics
Along this long array, take “Spatial Information Processing” as an example. From TCDH, we observed that spatial thinking has increasingly been the attention of humanistic scholars, yet it remains rather less noticed by social scientists. For the former group, tools like QGIS, ArcGIS, Google Maps, Story Maps, and even UAV and drones become common. On the other hand, it is generally expected that we can do more with those tools in social sciences. In this regard, we welcome submissions to introduce the application of spatial thinking to social sciences and the pedagogical strategies to advance the use of the spatial tools in courses of humanities and social sciences.
As another example, one of the significant pursuits of TCDH is to guide each student to become a designer or a maker, which is popularly known as the maker movement. Many tools used by our instructors are actually designed to facilitate the democratization of science, games, designs, and software development, such as Scratch, Unity, APP Inventor 2, Arduino, and even 3D printers. We welcome submissions to share these experiences. Along this line, we also encourage submissions on the industrial implications in the direction of the maker culture, maker movement, hackathon, open-source economy, peer production, co-creation, fabrication lab, placemaking, glocalization, and community design.
As to big data, many courses have already exposed students to social medium data and collaboration with big data enterprises. Although big data brings in revolutions for both the humanities and the social sciences, it is not easy for students or sometimes even instructors to harness the essence of big data, from its scientific use to the ethical concern. While a new kind of humanities and social sciences have been built upon the increasing availability of big data, it is time to pause for a moment to reflect upon the revolutionary changes before we decide which direction to proceed further. In this topic, we welcome submissions to address all issues related to the use of big data in the course designs, not just promises and progresses, but also challenges and perils.
Student sessions will be a distinguishing feature of WEDHIA 2020. These sessions are, however, by invitation only. The invitees are first recommended by their respective instructors based on their term projects and further selected by a committee organized by the TCDH project office. In addition, past TCDH Big Data Tournament winners are invited to present their work and ideas. These sessions allow us to have a sample flavor on how TCDH may impact students’ learning and creativity.
Brynjolfsson, E., & McAfee, A. (2014). The second machine age: Work, progress, and prosperity in a time of brilliant technologies. WW Norton & Company.
Slingerland, E., & Collard, M. (Eds.). (2011). Creating consilience: Integrating the sciences and the humanities. Oxford University Press.
Snow, C. P. (1959). The two cultures and the scientific revolution. Cambridge University Press.
Snow, C. P. (1963). The two cultures and a second look: An expanded version of `The two cultures and the scientific revolution'. Mentor Book. New English Library.
To focus on discussion about the panel subject, instead of paper presentation, please submit a panel proposal of up to 800 words. A panel session is about 75-100 minutes long, consisting of one moderator and 3-5 panelists.
An organized session should have a minimum of 3 papers focusing on the theme of the session. Each session is about 75-100 minutes long, containing 3-4 papers. An organized session with more than 4 papers may be scheduled to span multiple session periods or some papers will be assigned to other sessions. Please submit a special session proposal of up to 800 words as well as the abstracts of the papers to be presented in the session. Paper presenters do not need to make submissions individually.
Abstract (up to 500 words): Nov 1, 2020
Acceptance Notification: Nov 15, 2020
Registration: Nov. 30, 2020
(All participants must register although registration is free.)