[Humanist] 27.1009 Ivanhoe Game returns

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Wed Apr 30 07:58:20 CEST 2014

                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 27, No. 1009.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

        Date: Tue, 29 Apr 2014 23:29:12 -0400
        From: Stephanie Kingsley <sak2rh at virginia.edu>
        Subject: The Ivanhoe Game Launch Announcement

*Connect, Create, Inspire: the Ivanhoe Game returns!*

The Scholars’ Lab Praxis Fellows are thrilled to announce the beta release
of the Ivanhoe Game  http://ivanhoe.scholarslab.org/ !  Ivanhoe is a
collaborative role-playing game in which players make critical interventions
in a text, cultural object, or topic to help them learn. Ivanhoe is about
connecting ideas, crafting new interpretations, and inspiring creative

The Ivanhoe Game is now available as a WordPress Theme!  It is the practicum
project of this year’s Praxis Fellowship <http://praxis.scholarslab.org/>
, an intensive year-long program in the UVa Scholars’ Lab
<http://www.scholarslab.org/> that trains humanities and social-sciences
graduate students in digital-project management, design, development,
troubleshooting, and distribution.  Fellows work together to compose a
project charter <http://praxis.scholarslab.org/charter.html> , wire-frame
<http://praxis.scholarslab.org/topics/wireframes/>  ideas, give dynamic
conceptual pitches
and write code to build a digital humanities tool, all the while being
mentored by the brilliant and ever-patient Scholars’ Lab faculty.  

Fellows blog <http://praxis.scholarslab.org/>  throughout the year,
reflecting on their triumphs and learning experiences and sharing them with
the wider DH community.  

See posts from Veronica
and Scott
about the perplexities of coding with PHP, alternative design ideas
<http://www.scholarslab.org/digital-humanities/an-ivanhoe-design-idea/> from
Zach, reactions from Eliza at first learning version control in GitHub
thoughts from Francesca about the nature of game play
and collaboration
and my own project-management musings
as I discovered my role within the group.  

Praxis is an innovative approach to graduate training which emphasizes
collaboration and iterative learning: Fellows work together in a
trial-and-error process to discover how to take a project from being a mere
idea to a useable product ready to be introduced to the world.

Our project, the Ivanhoe Game WordPress Theme, is now ready to take its
first steps into the world of digital scholarship and pedagogy.  This tool
is a vibrant reimagining of a game originally developed in the UVa SpecLab
<http://books.google.com/books/about/SpecLab.html?id=VPXCk396uPYC> . (For
more on Ivanhoe’s history <http://www.ivanhoegame.org/?page_id=21>, see
“Designing Ivanhoe
<http://texttechnology.mcmaster.ca/pdf/vol12_2_03.pdf>,” by Johanna
Drucker; “IVANHOE: Education in a New Key
http://www.rc.umd.edu/pedagogies/commons/innovations/IVANHOE.html ,” by
Jerome McGann; and “Subjectivity in the Ivanhoe Game: Visual and
Computational Strategies
<http://texttechnology.mcmaster.ca/pdf/vol12_2_05.pdf>,” by Bethany
Nowviskie. ) 

The Ivanhoe Game can be played on any type of cultural object or topic.  In
Ivanhoe, players assume roles and generate criticism by pretending to be
characters or voices relevant to their topic and making moves from those
perspectives.  We think of these moves as interventions—a text or work is
not stable but, rather, dynamic and ever subject to interpretation by its
readers.  Furthermore, these interventions are reflective and deliberate:
they are “self-conscious acts of interpretation,” as Scott so concisely
and perfectly puts it.  Ivanhoe thus provides a way of delving into a
subject while also maintaining a firm focus on the players themselves.

A few features of our Ivanhoe distinguish it from the original.  Whereas the
SpecLab Ivanhoe Game was largely text based, we have designed Ivanhoe to
accommodate subjects from any discipline and moves with all manner of media.
Another element of Ivanhoe that the Praxis Fellows have found particularly
provocative and have given special attention is the network of moves that
these games generate.  From one move can spring forth a multitude of other
moves.  We have programmed ways of linking moves together as “Source”
posts and “Responses” to emphasize that network. Lastly, we have always
seen Ivanhoe as something which should above all be accessible, so that the
concept of Ivanhoe may be freely adapted by as wide a user base as possible.
We have built it as a WordPress Theme, which anyone with a WordPress page
may easily apply and use for whatever purpose they like.

Now that you have heard just enough about Ivanhoe to be a little baffled but
exhilarated nonetheless, we invite you to try it out and explore its
possibilities.   To download the Theme itself, visit our informational site
<http://ivanhoe.scholarslab.org/> . There, you will find out more about us
and Ivanhoe, as well as documentation to assist you in using Ivanhoe.  If
you wish to try Ivanhoe but do not have a WordPress page, visit our testing
app <http://ivanhoe-testing.herokuapp.com/> , hosted on Heroku
<https://www.heroku.com/> and available for a limited time for Ivanhoe
trial. As Ivanhoe is a work in progress, we would love your feedback, so
feel free to post any issues you find to our GitHub page

Thanks, and we hope you enjoy connecting, creating, and inspiring with Ivanhoe.

*Stephanie Kingsley, for the 2013-2014 Praxis Fellows*

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