Archive for the ‘Teaching’ Category

100+ million word corpus of American English (1920s-2000s)

Monday, June 25th, 2007

Saw this on Humanist. Anything out there and also freely available for UK English?

A new 100+ million word corpus of American English (1920s-2000s) is now freely available at:

http://corpus.byu.edu/time/

The corpus is based on more than 275,000 articles in TIME magazine from 1923 to 2006, and it contains articles on a wide range of topics – domestic and international, sports, financial, cultural, entertainment, personal interest, etc.

The architecture and interface is similar to the one that we have created for our version of the British National Corpus (see http://corpus.byu.edu/bnc), and it allows users to:

— Find the frequency of particular words, phrases, substrings (prefixes, suffixes, roots) in each decade from the 1920s-2000s. Users can also limit the results by frequency in any set of years or decades. They can also see charts that show the totals for all matching strings in each decade (1920s-2000s), as well as each year within a given decade.

— Study changes in syntax since the 1920s. The corpus has been tagged for part of speech with CLAWS (the same tagger used for the BNC), and users can easily carry out searches like the following (from among endless possibilities): changes in the overall frequency of “going + to + V”, or “end up V-ing”, or preposition stranding (e.g. “[VV*] with .”), or phrasal verbs (1920s-1940s vs 1980s-2000s).

— Look at changes in collocates to investigate semantic shifts during the past 80 years. Users can find collocates up to 10 words to left or right of node word, and sort and limit by frequency in any set of years or decades.

— As mentioned, the interface is designed to easily permit comparisons between different sets of decades or years. For example, with one simple query users could find words ending in -dom that are much more frequent 1920s-40s than 1980s-1990s, nouns occurring with “hard” in 1940s-50s but not in the 1960s, adjectives that are more common 2003-06 than 2000-02, or phrasal verbs whose usage increases markedly after the 1950s, etc.

— Users can easily create customized lists (semantically-related words, specialized part of speech category, morphologically-related words, etc), and then use these lists directly as part of the query syntax.

———-

For more information, please contact Mark Davies (http://davies-linguistics.byu.edu), or visit:

http://corpus.byu.edu/

for information and links to related corpora, including the upcoming BYU American National Corpus [BANC] (350+ million words, 1990-2007+).

————————————————————————
—– Mark Davies
Professor of (Corpus) Linguistics
Brigham Young University
Web: davies-linguistics.byu.edu

Text Mining for Historians (workshop)

Monday, May 14th, 2007

Just announced by the Methods Network:

TEXT MINING FOR HISTORIANS workshop at University of Glasgow 17 – 18 July 2007

A workshop organized by Zoe Bliss, AHDS History and the Association for History and Computing UK (AHC-UK)

Texts are central to historical research and an increasing body of historical texts are becoming available in electronic format. Despite a long-standing interest in computer aided text analysis the use of computer assisted methods and tools are not widespread amongst historians.

This workshop aims to:

  • Introduce participants to the methods and tools developed and currently employed by corpus linguists
  • Provide practical hands on experience of using these tools
  • Enable participants to explore the pros and cons of employing these tools and methods in historical research.

It builds upon the successful Methods Network Workshop on Historical Text Mining in Lancaster in July 2006 (http://www.methodsnetwork.ac.uk/activities/act6.html).

The workshop is aimed at academic staff and post graduates whose research involves the analysis of significant bodies of textual material and who would like to know more about computerised techniques and tools that they could potentially use to aid their research. Moreover, the workshop will be particularly useful for researchers who would like practical hands on experience of using these tools. The workshop is free of charge, with lunch and refreshments included.

For more information about the programme, and details of how to register, please visit: http://www.methodsnetwork.ac.uk/activities/act25.html

EpiDoc Summer School, 11-15 June, 2007

Sunday, May 13th, 2007

Over the last few years an international group of scholars has been developing a set of conventions for marking up ancient documents in XML for publication and interchange. The EpiDoc Guidelines started from the case of inscriptions, but the principles are also being applied to papyri and coins, and the aim has always been to produce standards consistent with those of the Text Encoding Initiative, used for all literary and linguistic texts.

Following on from the interest we have seen in EpiDoc training events (including recent sessions in Rome and San Diego) and the success of the London EpiDoc Summer School over several years now, we shall be holding another week-long workshop here at King’s College London, from the 11th-15th June this year.

* The EpiDoc Guidelines provide a schema and associated tools and recommendations for the use of XML to publish epigraphic and papyrological texts in interchangeable format. For a fuller description of the project and links to tools and guidelines see http://epidoc.sf.net.
* The Summer School will offer an in-depth introduction to the use of XML and related technologies for publication and interchange of epigraphic and papyrological editions.
* The event will be hosted by the Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King’s College London, which will provide the venue and tuition. The school is free of charge, but attendees will need to fund their own travel, accommodation, and subsistence. (There may be cheap accommodation available through KCL; please inquire.)
* The summer school is targeted at epigraphic and papyrological scholars (including professors, post-docs, and advanced graduate students) with an interest and willingness to learn some of the hands-on technical aspects necessary to run a digital project (even if they would not be marking-up texts by hand very much themselves). Knowledge of Greek/Latin, the Leiden Conventions and the distinctions expressed by them, and the kinds of data and metadata that need to be recorded by philologists and ancient historians, will be an advantage. Please enquire if you’re unsure. No particular technical expertise is required.
* Attendees will require the use of a relatively recent laptop computer (Win XP+ or Mac OSX 10.3+), with up-to-date Java installation, and should acquire a copy of the oXygen XML editor (educational discount and one-month free trial available); they should also have the means to enter Unicode Greek from the keyboard. Full technical specifications and advice are available on request. (CCH may be able to arrange the loan of a prepared laptop for the week; please inquire asap.)

Places on the workshop will be limited so if you are interested in attending the summer school, or have a colleague or student who might be interested, please contact gabriel.bodard@kcl.ac.uk as soon as possible with a brief statement of qualifications and interest.

Stop teaching historians to use computers!

Tuesday, May 8th, 2007

Bill Turkel has started what looks to be an important and potentially influential thread on the nexus of history and the digital. His opening salvo:

Teaching history students how to use computers was a really good idea in the early 1980s. It’s not anymore. Students who were born in 1983 have already graduated from college. If they didn’t pick up the rudiments of word processing and spreadsheet and database use along the way, that’s tragic. But if we concentrate on teaching those things now, we’ll be preparing our students for the brave new world of 1983.

Posts so far:

Join the Wikipedia Debate

Wednesday, March 28th, 2007

Seen at Academic Commons:

This coming Thursday (29 March 2007), the first Language Lab Unleashed! of the spring will feature Don Wyatt (chair of the Department of History at Middlebury College), Elizabeth Colantoni (Professor of Classics at Oberlin College), Laura Blankenship (Senior Instructional Technologist at Bryn Mawr), and Bryan Alexander (Director of Research at NITLE) for a discussion on the potential uses and abuses of Wikipedia in the educational arena.

The show will begin promptly at 8pm … for details on how to join the  live conversation, please visit:
http://www.languagelabunleashed.com

That time’s 20:00 EST = 01:00 UTC. I’m not sure I’ll be able to make it…

The Future of Learning Institutions in a Digital Age

Tuesday, March 27th, 2007

Seen at Academic Commons:

The folks at the Humanities, Arts, Sciences, and Technology Advanced Collaboratory aka HASTAC (http://hastac.org) have posted a draft of a paper entitled “The Future of Learning Institutions in a Digital Age.”  The paper will evolve through online collaboration and conversations, and will be published in its final form as part of the Occasional Paper Series on Digital Media and Learning sponsored by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

It is framed by the following proposition:
“We are faced today by a pressing question: How do institutions–social, civic, educational–transform in response to and in order to promote new kinds of learning in the information age?”

This provocative and difficult question–What does a peer-to-peer learning institution look like and how does it differ from what we understand our traditional learning institutions to be?–is only part of what makes this project exciting. It is also notable for its delivery platform, a terrific and soon-to-be-released WordPress blogging plugin (code name Comment Press) that the folks at the Institute for the Future of the Book have developed, and that allows for context-specific commenting at multiple levels.

Wikipedia editing as teaching tool

Sunday, March 25th, 2007

A wonderful suggestion in a comment on Cathy Davidson’s letter (that Tom blogged here a few days ago):

Thanks for your great column. I’ve used the “stubs” feature of Wikipedia to generate a list of 120 topics relating to ancient Roman civilization that need full articles. Then I’m requiring the 120 students in my upcoming Roman Civilization class to each write one article. This will hopefully teach them how to do original research in the library on obscure, narrowly focused topics and then create something of lasting value to others. The students will also be required to each review three of their fellow students’ articles in order to learn about the collaborative editing process. I’m a little nervous about its success, but I’m hoping to be part of the solution to the issues raised by Wikipedia, rather than contributing to the problems.

I’ve heard suggestions of this kind before, but this is one of the coolest implementations of it I’ve come across recently. This makes me wish once again that I was teaching a large class this year so I could do something similar. Kudos to JuliaFelix; please let us know how the experiment works.

Wikis and Blogs in Education

Sunday, March 25th, 2007

Seen in the Creative Commons Feed:

“The wiki is the center of my classroom”

That’s a quote from Wikis and Blogs in Education, one of three educational remixes from students of open content pioneer David Wiley.

The other two are Interviewing Basics and the Open Water Project, an excellent disaster preparedness video that probably everyone should watch.

Each project is licensed under CC Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike and incorporates CC licensed and public domain audio, images, and video as well as original materials.

Wikis and Blogs in Education, potentially the most interesting site for readers of this forum is a site that combines text and video in an animated Flash and Javascript framework. It seems to run smoothely, but I don’t know if that would have implications for the free reuse of the material.

Middlebury Wikigate Revisited

Tuesday, March 20th, 2007

Back in January, I made some hooting noises and pointed at Jimmy Wales in the context of the tempest-in-a-teapot that erupted after the Middlebury College History Department added Wikipedia to its list of works students may not cite in papers.

One of the more useful published reactions to the whole affair — certainly more useful than mine — seems to me to be Cathy Davidson’s Op-Ed in the Chronicle of Higher Education,We Can’t Ignore the Influence of Digital Technologies” (53:29, 23 March 2007 [sic!]).
Among other provocative suggestions, she asks:

Rather than banning Wikipedia, why not make studying what it does and does not do part of the research-and-methods portion of our courses? Instead of resorting to the “Delete” button for new forms of collaborative knowledge made possible by the Internet, why not make the practice of research in the digital age the object of study?

Those, like me, who don’t subscribe to the Chronicle can read the letter via Davidson’s blog at HASTAC.

CC Learn

Friday, March 9th, 2007

Seen in the Creative Commons blog today:

A new division of Creative Commons, provisionally called CC Learn, will focus on education, broadly defined — from kindergarten to graduate school, to lifelong learning. The mission of this new division will be to promote vigorous networks of Open Educational Resources: materials offered freely and openly for educators, students and self-learners to use, modify and re-use for teaching, learning and research. CC Learn is looking for an Executive Director.

What is interesting is not the possibility that someone reading this blog might be interested in applying for an executive director’s position, but that CC are creating a new division especially for educational materials. I have always assumed that teaching materials and other educational resources were the most obvious candidates fro CC licensing, so I am now moved to wonder: what particular requirements do educations have from Creative Commons or Open Source licenses?

Journal of Employability and The Humanities

Tuesday, February 27th, 2007

This call for papers was circulated by the HEA History, Classics, and Archaeology Subject Centre, but the journal, I believe, is being launched by the University of Central Lancashire. It strikes me that Humanities Computing departments that teach digital humanities skills are all doing innovative teaching and that our claim to improve “employability” (horrible as that word and even that concept is) is very strong.

The Centre For Employability through the Humanities (the CETL based at UCLAN) is putting together a peer reviewed electronic journal on employability and have asked us to pass on their call for papers (pdf). This Journal of Employability and the Humanities is for everyone in the Humanities. As a bi-annual, refereed journal produced in collaboration with the Centre for Employability Through the Humanities (ceth), at the University of Central Lancashire, its intention is to create space for a dialogue between Humanities and employability. THey want to hear your experiences of teaching, developing and researching employability and stress that prior knowledge of employability literature and models is not necessary. They do, however, also encourage contributions from the experienced practitioner or theorist.

You may have something to contribute if you have been:

  1. participating in the construction of Departmental or Faculty-wide programmes/workshops addressing Student Skills (particularly, but not necessarily, in the first year);
  2. working on improving students’ presentation skills within your module/across the degree programme at either BA or MA level;
  3. engaging students in assessment schemes which go beyond essay-writing (e.g. creative projects, web-design, theatrical performance);
  4. working with the careers service in your institution to improve graduate employability.

You may be engaging with employability issues other ways, but in any case this is a good opportunity to disseminate that engagement. This opportunity is open to members of staff and postgraduate students.