My Digital Humanities Rabbit Trails in 2016

Teaching Theological Ethics

Goal: To give students agency in course planning; design term 2 teaching around student-led presentations.

  • Low-fi beginnings: whiteboarding topics
  • Going digital: Fed 35 topics into a digital survey
  • First roadblock: canvas survey tool stinks
  • Second roadblock: central IT unwilling to deploy lightweight, open-source alternative without "a business case"
  • Solution: rolled my own instance of LimeSurvey on personal webhost (
  • Example:
  • Third roadblock: Need to level playing field for students without tablets and smartphones
  • Solution: Thanks to Arts IT! Discovered a big box full of iPads


Worked well. iPads had trouble with wifi, but students just shared the 8-10 that worked.

Really interesting differences in engagement styles with the tool

Have a fantastic store of data I need to parse through to see how topic choices map onto student demographics


Topic: climate change and low-carbon action in religious communities

Digital solution: Generate a map to consolidate practitioner relationships; resource third sector groups; parse demographics

Research challenge?

Data exists, but huge problems with transparency, accuracy, sustainability

Technical solution?

OPEN EVERYTHING! Source! Data! Tools!

Mapping tools: QGIS, CartoDB, D3.js, carto.css

Project website: Jekyll via github


The next few rabbit trails:

  • Decision time: Hacking resources list vs. Hacking a canvas wiki page
  • Moving everything to github/gitlab
  • Writing some "reproducible research" using RMarkdown
  • Social network analysis
  • Getting a discourse server (