Starting a war….

This term I did a little experiment with some readings on contemporary networked warfare and learning in my HI2007, War, State and Society option. I staged the discussion in the first week to see if different sequences of readings might produce different discussions. It didn’t, but it was an interesting week. Continue reading “Starting a war….”

Communities of Practice: Walking the Walk 2012

Communities of Practice in Digital Scholarship (DH6001) is a core module in the Master in Digital Arts & Humanities here in UCC, and I feel the group are more than ready to  break cover from the institutional VLE and “walk the walk” in public, even if no one much is watching! For next Monday’s seminar, rather than circulating readings among the group and having discussion in the room, we are going to do something different – we’ll still be in the room together playing with some technology but a lot of the substance of the discussion will be public. Continue reading “Communities of Practice: Walking the Walk 2012”

Harvard “Exam” “Cheating” Scandal rumbles on

The Great Harvard Cheating Scandal of 2012 rumbles on, with more details emerging which make it seem to me that it was neither “cheating” nor was it an “examination”.  Regardless of what the official course syllabus stipulates, contradictory guidance from a professor and 4 teaching assistants, along with accepted practice and failures to catch this sooner, lead me to believe that Harvard will have to drop the allegations. I doubt if we will ever know the full detail of this specific case, but it touches on general issues of course design which I want to comment on. Continue reading “Harvard “Exam” “Cheating” Scandal rumbles on”

Building an open essay writing process

Assessment in the Humanities in university still depends heavily on “the essay”, either as a paper or in an examination. Any survey of syllabii in the humanities and liberal arts will bear this out – the bulk of our marks go for the abilty to write essays of varying length, from 1,500 words up 6,000-8,000 words in later years of the degree. In my own dept, out of 43 courses in the book of modules this coming year, 19 are assessed by essays, and 19 by short essay and essay examination, leaving 5 different courses. This is not uncommon in Ireland and England, although assessments in US universities tend to be more varied. Continue reading “Building an open essay writing process”

A Broader Digital Humanities?

I chanced across an discussion last night on twitter which aligns with a problem I have been considering – how can the digital humanities include social sciences and science, if at all?  This relates to the question of creating an undergraduate curriculum of some sort in Digital Humanities which would be truly interdisciplinary, that would work for scientists and social scientists as well as humanists Continue reading “A Broader Digital Humanities?”


Neil Ferguson‘s mis-adventures in gaming are highlighted on Richard Mehlinger’s blog on HASTAC in a a post which reinforces the dangers of non-gamers getting swept up by the gee-whiz of digital games. I’ve always been wary of digital games for teaching, which is why I’ve always used old fashion non-digital game play and design in my history courses. Continue reading “Theory=Model=Game”

Gaming Reality History

Teaching contemporary International Relations with in-class simulations is sometimes challenging when the simulation scenario may be radically changed by what is happening in the real world, but that is the challenge my HI3112 International Organisations students are dealing with this week in this terms conference game on the Horn Of Africa/Arab Spring. “Upstairs” literally as well as figuratively, the MA class are dealing with the problems of designing a game which bridges the gap between IR theory and contemporary crises for their assignment. Continue reading “Gaming Reality History”

B. Radical

For a couple of years now, the question of fixing our creaking Arts degree has been floating round, and there is to be another round of “review” this year.  Based on previous experience of reforms and new programmes, I think it is an impossible task, and we are better off starting with a clean sheet and designing a new degree from scratch, and rolling it out in parallel to the old BA degree.  I think the old BA will continue to draw students for quite a few years, but I would love the chance to teach in a radically new kind of degree, with an interdisciplinary core, full credit accumulation and no lectures. If I had a blank sheet, here are some of the things I would have in a 21st Century degree:

Reworking Courses 2011

The best time to plan next years courses is right after this year’s end and I am already sketching out some revisions to my options for the coming year. Some old assessments are going, some new stuff is in and one course is going in reverse. Continue reading “Reworking Courses 2011”

Another Semester, Another Simulation

My International Organisations course, which is heavily simulation based, has reached the end of another run, and the end of course discussion, I shared a few thoughts on it with my students, and some of their ideas are flowing back from that.While my reflections are fresh (and for the benefit of the snowbound who missed the review class) I thought I would post my thoughts on secret email diplomacy, hypothetical v real world scenarios,  integration of learning across the course and a few other things here. Continue reading “Another Semester, Another Simulation”