SMUG October Meetup at St Andrews

Two dozen Moodle enthusiasts from across HE and FE gathered in St Andrews last Friday. First up was Mark Glynn, Head of Teaching Enhancement at Dublin City University, who talked about a custom report they have created within Moodle to give lecturers a programmatic view of assessment, giving them the opportunity to improve collaboration and scheduling. Mark was followed by Chris Sumner from South Lanarkshire College who gave an overview of their Moodle/Microsoft Teams integration. Jasmin Hodge from Forth Valley College showcased two new Moodle course formats: Flexible Course and Structure Label. Ken Currie then talked about using interactive content libraries, in particular, the H5P plugin which adds interactive features to Moodle activities like Book, Page and Lesson. Lee Coomber from IT Services in St Andrews was up next, talking about the current integration work we’re doing with MySaint, Moodle and MMS. The last talk of the day was from Stephen Bruce from Edinburgh Napier who outlined a their fully online CPD approach using Moodle.

We recorded most of these sessions, and will make them available here once they’re out of post-production. Anyone who’s interested in learning more about any of the Moodle features mentioned, please get in touch via learningtechnology@st-andrews.ac.uk.

You can follow some of the speakers on Twitter too:

Mark Glynn: @glynnmark
Jasmin Hodge: @jmdh22
StephenBruce:@Stephen1Bruce

 

Workshop > Data Visualization in the Humanities

events.fwThe Library, as part of its Digital Humanities remit, hosted a workshop on Data Visualization in the Humanities led by external presenter Mia Ridge.

Mia began by outlining the historical development of visualization – starting with examples such as John Snow’s Cholera Map (1854), Florence Nightingale’s Petal Charts (1858) and Minard’s map of Napoleon’s Russian campaign of 1812 (1869); and highlighting the power of the visualization in enabling the viewer to understand data easily on multiple axes at the same time. She then moved on to show more recent types of visualization – mashups, infographics, text analysis, visualizing images and video and network visualizations.

Visualization needs to be approached carefully, with proper consideration given to audience and purpose. For example, will your visualization be a product, or a process – will it be used to explain, or explore your dataset?

Some risks of visualizations were highlighted to help contextualize their use:

  • Over-emphasis of one aspect of the data may de-emphasise another, for example, Beck’s tube map of 1951 emphasises connections but de-emphasises geographical proximity.
  • Some visualization tools and softwares may have inherent bias built into them depending on what audience they were designed for. The algorithms used may not be transparent, for example with Google’s N-gram tool.
  • Visualizing “sentiment” analysis is not an exact science. Current algorithms can work with words, but take no account of tone or register (or even emojis!).  For an example of “sentiment” analysis, see the Twitter visualization of the Olympics in 2012.

As well as the time to get hands-on with and evaluate various visualization tools, it was great to see and hear about the work already being done in this area by colleagues around the University, for example Kathryn Rudy from the School of Art History – and of course the exciting digital humanities projects taking place in the Library.

For more information on digital humanities at St Andrews, contact Dr Alice Crawford in the Library – or catch up with her blog.