[Humanist] 27.443 computing literacy

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Sat Oct 19 07:48:20 CEST 2013


                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 27, No. 443.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                       www.digitalhumanities.org/humanist
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

  [1]   From:    Stanislav Roudavski <srou at unimelb.edu.au>                 (24)
        Subject: RE:  27.442 computing literacy

  [2]   From:    Paul Fishwick <metaphorz at gmail.com>                      (161)
        Subject: Re:  27.442 computing literacy


--[1]------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Date: Fri, 18 Oct 2013 09:56:33 +0000
        From: Stanislav Roudavski <srou at unimelb.edu.au>
        Subject: RE:  27.442 computing literacy
        In-Reply-To: <20131018083509.1EE233C0F at digitalhumanities.org>


> I'd like any references that you may have on DH's need to raise the
> level of what we may call "computing literacy". I believe I have seen
> blog posts to this effect, but if any of you have journal articles or books, I'd like to know of them.

My work is in architecture (broadly understood) but I hope some of the arguments/considerations are of relevance elsewhere. I have been trying to introduce computing into architectural education using various pedagogical models and they all come with hard-to-anticipate particular advantages and disadvantages. Using moderately technical introduction in parallel with reverse-engineering of picturesque examples proved fairly popular (http://www.exlab.org/2013/03/studio-air/).

Here some papers:

On introducing some relevant thinking early:

http://www.academia.edu/1159351/Selective_Jamming_Digital_Architectural_Design_in_Foundation_Courses

This one is on a particular effect but the context for this is a particular course. I also include the link to the student journal that shows a pastiche of techniques they had to encounter as well as a video:

http://www.academia.edu/2368574/Emergent_Materiality_though_an_Embedded_Multi-Agent_System
http://issuu.com/ertf345345/docs/pas_2011_journal
https://vimeo.com/31549326

Finally, this is about my attempt to contextualize it all somehow culturally:

http://www.academia.edu/1528577/Estranged-Gaze_Pedagogy_Probing_Architectural_Computing_through_Multiple_Ways_of_Seeing

Hope this is of use,

---
Dr Stanislav Roudavsk
The University of Melbourne
Senior Lecturer in Digital Architectural Design
Elseware Collective; ExLab
Founding Partner

personal: stanislavroudavski.net http://stanislavroudavski.net/
collaborative: elsewarecollective.com http://elsewarecollective.com/ , exlab.org http://www.exlab.org/
publications: unimelb.academia.edu/StanislavRoudavski/Papers<http://unimelb.academia.edu/StanislavRoudavski/Papers>
tutorials: vimeo.com/exlab<https://vimeo.com/exlab>



--[2]------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Date: Fri, 18 Oct 2013 08:41:16 -0500
        From: Paul Fishwick <metaphorz at gmail.com>
        Subject: Re:  27.442 computing literacy
        In-Reply-To: <20131018083509.1EE233C0F at digitalhumanities.org>


Alexander and Willard

 One of the problems we have in Computer Science (CS) is that the notion of 
computing is taken to be equivalent to learning to program. This is not
just an issue with perception outside of CS, but perpetuated unfortunately
within CS in many instances, but not all. 

Instead, I believe that we need to return to some basics (such as set theory,
logic, automata, etc) but also become more relevant to the humanities. Examples
include showing students where system models can be found in nature, art,
and story structure. The other is to creatively explore representations of formal
structure. In beginning drawing, the student may be asked to sit in front of an
object and provide an interpretation on paper. This same procedure can be
performed where the object is a formula, decision tree, or data flow program.
 Hopefully, this will be a new beginning. I would not say to do away with coding,
but rather to bury it beneath modeling, which is a superior method that shows
clearer relevance to other disciplines.

-paul

On Oct 18, 2013, at 3:35 AM, Humanist Discussion Group <willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk> wrote:

>  
> --[1]------------------------------------------------------------------------
>        Date: Thu, 17 Oct 2013 09:23:31 +0100
>        From: Alexander Hay <a.hay at soton.ac.uk>
>        Subject: Re:  27.437 raising the level of computing literacy in digital humanities?
>        In-Reply-To: <20131017052601.687273A65 at digitalhumanities.org>
> 
> 
> Dear Paul,
> 
> I'm from a humanities background but presently work in promoting greater 
> use of software across all the disciplines. Based on my research into 
> the various schools of thought on this matter, there seems to be a broad 
> range of opinions, from those who think only programmers should 
> programme to those who think everyone should start coding immediately 
> and kickstart The Singularity (or something). My own view on the matter 
> is that scientists and engineers all certainly need to know how to code, 
> but what they need to know and to what degree varies from case to case.
> 
> The flip-side of this is that many of the computing/hard science people 
> I work with are shocked at just how adept academics in the humanities 
> are in regards to IT and programming. They thought they were the only 
> ones having these debates, so it is quite a surprise for them to realise 
> how advanced the discussions are in our own fields. (This is profoundly 
> amusing for an English graduate like myself.)
> 
> Kind regards,
> 
> - Alexander
> 
> On 17/10/2013 06:26, Humanist Discussion Group wrote:
>>                  Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 27, No. 437.
>>             Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
>>                        www.digitalhumanities.org/humanist
>>                 Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org
>> 
>> 
>> 
>>         Date: Wed, 16 Oct 2013 21:32:52 -0500
>>         From: Paul Fishwick <metaphorz at gmail.com>
>>         Subject: Re:  27.432 disciplinary contradictions & radical demythologization
>>         In-Reply-To: <20131016053103.F2CD63C0F at digitalhumanities.org>
>> 
>> 
>> I'd like any references that you may have on DH's need to raise the level of
>> what we may call "computing literacy". I believe I have seen blog posts to this
>> effect, but if any of you have journal articles or books, I'd like to know of them.
>> 
>> The goal of "computing literacy" is one of my personal missions in bridging arts and humanities
>> with computing/engineering, and I see it as a worthy goal. I wonder if part of that goal
>> is the perceived need to treat the "tool" as subject matter for the humanist? I believe
>> that Willard may have opined previously on the desire to see "into the black box."
>> 
>> There are two approaches I am using at UT Dallas:
>> 
>> (1) Relevance: teaching computing principles to artists, designers, and humanists is
>> achieved through cultural contexts. I have a project where students learn computing
>> and systems modeling by building several model-based interpretations of Al Jazari's
>> 13th century castle clock (a water clock). Current models are centered in theory of
>> computing (automata) as well as systems (block model). However, there is an abstract
>> design interpretation, and if I had a history student in the class, there would be a
>> historical piece as a model. Students routinely raise questions answerable through
>> knowledge of history, computing, culture, and physics.
>> 
>> (2) Representation: students are encouraged to creatively represent dynamic models--using
>> something other than flat diagrams with circles and arrows, however, keeping the underlying
>> metaphors alive. This is a another gateway to the humanities.
>> 
>> "Relevance" makes reference to traditional notations. "Representation" goes beyond community
>> norms for computing formalism, opening up the creative process so central to arts and
>> humanities. Some of this philosophy is found in aesthetic computing literature.
>> 
>> p
> 
> -- 
> 
> Alexander Hay PhD
> Policy & Communications Consultant
> Electronics & Computer Science
> Faculty of Physical & Applied Sciences
> Building 32 Room 4067
> University of Southampton
> 
> 
> 
> --[2]------------------------------------------------------------------------
>        Date: Fri, 18 Oct 2013 09:28:55 +0100
>        From: Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk>
>        Subject: like Latin
>        In-Reply-To: <20131017052601.687273A65 at digitalhumanities.org>
> 
> 
> In response to Paul Fishwick's note on computing literacy, I couldn't 
> agree more that some level of instruction in programming is close to 
> essential for training in digital humanities. 
> 
> It seems to me that the question of which language (Python, perl etc) is 
> relatively unimportant. What's more important, because it's more of an 
> impediment to people from a non-technical background, is the sort of 
> example problems from which elementary exercises are drawn.
> 
> Many years ago, teaching MA students with no such background whatever, 
> I'd pose a simple problem almost everyone faces when doing research in 
> the humanities and writing: how to reformat in Word a document with hard 
> returns in the wrong places without losing the double hard returns 
> between paragraphs -- or, somewhat more complicated, how to deal with 
> such a document in which paragraphs are distinguished by tabbed 
> indenting. This forces the student to think procedurally, to reason out 
> the consequences of each action applied mechanically to the document. 
> Many found this *very* much of a shock -- but they had no problem 
> understanding the relevance of the problem.
> 
> I'd also give them Edsger Dijkstra's "A parable" for light but 
> instructive relief. See the E. W. Dijkstra Archive, ms 0594, 
> http://www.cs.utexas.edu/users/EWD/.
> 
> Perhaps someone has thought of this before: a collaboratively 
> constructed collection of sample problems that seem immediate sensible 
> to humanities students. Problems they can imagine themselves wanting to 
> solve. Problems that motivate. I took up a study of Latin because I knew 
> it was sine qua non for what I wanted to do. Then I fell in love with 
> the language.
> 
> Comments?
> 
> Yours,
> WM
> 
> -- 
> Willard McCarty (www.mccarty.org.uk/), Professor, Department of Digital
> Humanities, King's College London, and Research Group in Digital
> Humanities, University of Western Sydney


Paul Fishwick, PhD
Chair, ACM SIGSIM
Distinguished Chair of Arts & Technology 
   and Professor of Computer Science
Director, Creative Automata Laboratory
The University of Texas at Dallas
Arts & Technology
800 West Campbell Road, AT10
Richardson, TX 75080-3021
Home: utdallas.edu/atec/fishwick
Blog: creative-automata.com





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