In the tradition of THATCamp and other unconferences we will construct our working session schedule when we meet tomorrow morning. The overall schedule for the weekend is as follows:

Meet-and-great over Breakfast – 8:30-9:30;

Break-out sessions from 9:30 – 12:15;

Lunch on Saturday from 12:15-1:30; Sunday – Wrap-up and Conclusion from 12:15-12:45;

Sessions on Saturday from 1:30-5:00.

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Human-Computer Interaction

Lately there has been a wave of interesting new ways to interact with computers and to get more out of that interaction. For example, new consumer tech like Microsoft’s Kinect, Sony’s touchpad on their upcoming PSP, virtual reality applications on smartphones, and head-tracking software applied through cameras. All are exciting new ways to work with a computer, but are they better than typing for general use? (Not for a specific game or application, rather for general system interaction). Ergonomically are they superior to typing? What about time-wise; are these new inputs faster? Are they more precise? But most importantly, now that these “next-generation” input systems are upon us, how can they be improved and made into the next generation of interactive system?

I’m interested in all of this and more, I’d love to know what others think regarding this topic.

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Narrative Learning Environments (NLEs), Serious Games and Simulation

I am interested in discussing how these might be used in the Humanities.

  • What benefits and constraints do participants anticipate?
  • What do we mean by a “Narrative Learning Environment”?
  • How would a Serious Game or simulation be integrated into the curriculum, and for what purpose?
  • How should assessment occur – internal to the resource? external? both?
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UCF ‘INTX Lab’ (a video clip of recent Africa project)

Greetings THATCampers,

As Dr. Bruce Janz mentioned in his previous post, we’re offering to share some after-action details regarding a cultural experiment we just undertook in Fall 2010.  Also, I’ll share some more future-oriented features of the UCF mobile “INTX Lab” in development regarding the best-practices for conducting networked collaboration via a satellite-enabled, 2-way network media feeds, etc.

Watch this 5min INTX-Africa project video in advance if you wish…see below:

This video highlights a real-time, hands-on musical training and virtual collaboration that was self-organized between producers a location at UCF “Center for Emerging Media” campus in Orlando and remote participants at another location in Cape Town, South Africa. The resulting media exchange was scheduled to occur during the five weeks that two UCF professors (Dr. Bruce Janz and Dr. Rosalyn Howard) were transecting the countryside of South Africa and Swaziland and documenting modern creativity & culture along our brief route…check out the video!  Enjoy the rhythms!  :)

Professor Stella Sung, Brian Tortorelli, and the UCF CREATE lab programed the idea for an African Drumming Session, and student participation was confirmed through existing local coordination with non-profit Nap Ford Community School (located downtown beside UCF on Livingston St.). This idea culminated when the INTX Lab met the drummer and teacher Lucky Paliso, who lives in Cape Town South Africa.

UCF’s research partnership with a local SATCOM company ( helped cover significant costs make this experiment possible. You will notice TracStar’s mobile satellite antenna attached to the top of a Land Rover in the video; that gear and bandwidth was donated in-kind for the benefit of this UCF research lab. While this period of free connectivity lasted, we chose eight unique locations to uplink from, and integrated (through UCF Blackboard) a significant amount of existing content already posted for their courses (or at least as much as we could include in the brief, episodic Cultural Transect program format that we adopted)…which is a concept we have been honing along with INTX  Director, UCF Professor Phil Peters.

The media experience for the students culminated towards the end of the semester, yet our work at INTX Lab endures even today as we’re continuing our program evaluation and student-assessment research. More on that later; I look forward to our conversations this weekend…and let me know what you think of the video.  [Special thanks to UCF-OIR and Aaron Hose’ who ultimately produced that short video for us and UCF.]

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Embedded Librarians

I’m interested in discussing a topic that relates to the UCF Libraries’ embedded librarian program. Embedded librarians collaborate with faculty to support distance and online students by monitoring courses to provide research assistance and answers to questions about library and other online resources. The program strives to help students with research strategies and relevant tools. If there’s interest, I’d also be happy to share an overview of UCFs Infolit Modules project also.  See our WordPress site for faculty and students @

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Greetings all,

I wish to have discussion of podcasting. I have been podcasting for two years now. I have done this with my lectures and I have even created series which have introduced new content. I would be happy to host a discussion of anything podcasting from inspiration to final production including best practices. I am particularly intersting in learning more about avenues of distribution building community through podcasting.

I plan to host this session on Sunday Feb. 20.

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I, along with Alex Katsaros (who will also be at this THATCamp) have worked on a project which uses a satellite uplink to webcast class material back from (in our case) South Africa. I taught a course last term, African Humanities (and a colleague, Rosalyn Howard, taught an Anthropology in Africa course at the same time) that used these feeds. We were both in South Africa with a team that included Alex (who headed up the development of a teacher’s tablet that we used, and also did mixing in the field) and others.

This is maybe a bit different than most digital projects here, but I’d be interested in talking about new widgets and capabilities for this kind of setup. What distinguishes it is that it is mobile, remote, interactive, and real-time. Students can webcam in to us while we’re there, and we can put the feed into the broadcast. They can talk to who we are talking to, and we can do that from anywhere we can get a satellite connection (so, middle of a desert, if necessary). And, the participants don’t all have to be in one place – as long as they have a browser, broadband, and webcam equipment, they’re in.

So, this has potential in any situation of knowledge transfer, and that’s what I want to talk about.

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ScholarPress in the “Classroom”

I was fortunate enough to attend THATCamp “Mothership” at George Mason University this past spring and was particularly inspired by a session entitled “All Courseware Sucks.” As a consequence of that session, in part, Jeremy Boggs and Boone B. Gorges, in conjunction with Google Summer of Code 2010, helped create ScholarPress. In light of that significant advance I am interested in discussing on online course delivery via independent, instructor-run websites, as opposed to closed-source and proprietary platforms such as Blackboard. I am particularly interested in discussing the details of setting up WordPress sites using the new Courseware plugin for BuddyPress. As I am teaching four classes at the moment using that setup I am eager to have a conversation about the strengths and weaknesses of this new online tool.

Is anyone else using this option, or other alternatives to Blackboard? Chime in and let me know what you think.

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Now Accepting Applications

We are now accepting applications for participation in the first THATCamp in Florida. We will accept proposals until 18 February, and begin notifying applicants of their acceptance on a rolling basis beginning on 15 January. Please submit your application in the form below.

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Welcome to THATCamp Florida

Announcing THATCamp Florida!  The University of Central Florida will be hosting a regional THATCamp on the weekend of February 19-20, 2011 in sunny Orlando.  The gathering will involve about 75 people drawn broadly from the Humanities and will include Professors, Librarians, Graduate Students and interested parties (writers, musicians, etc.) who are engaged in sorting through the many and varied ways that our broadly shared disciplines intersect with emerging technologies.  It is our hope that the two-day affair at The University of Central Florida will offer a stimulating and energizing atmosphere which will foster a fruitful exchange of ideas as well as foster collaborative work among attendees.

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