Author Archives: Tom Connair

Another possible reading…

One possible reading that could be added to future versions of this class is:

This blog post addresses terms related to both education and technology deemed common yet confusing. These buzzwords were gathered by The Chronicle of Higher Education from a survey conducted of their readership. One of the terms featured prominently is “digital humanities.”

The brief article is followed by a table displaying a sampling of survey answers. You can see up to 100 of the guessed meanings from respondents for the highest ranking terms. Considering that survey participants are mostly professionals in the education field, it’s alarming and disappointing to see the misconceptions of the term “digital humanities,” or worse, the number of answers that essentially say “I have no idea what this is.” Even answers that are mostly accurate often contain a “what I think this means is…”.

The article mirrors our first week class exercise of student-offered definitions, before our understanding was clarified by the essays in section I of Debates in the Digital Humanities and other readings. The piece might be a valuable addition to the syllabus, though, since it (along with the survey responses) offers a glimpse at how DH is currently viewed, rightly or wrongly, by academia at large.

For the record, while I initially was as off-the-mark about the term as some of the Chronicle’s survey-takers, my preferred definition is now Matt’s definition from The Johns Hopkins Guide to Digital Media, i.e “an emerging field of humanities scholarship, teaching, and practice that is grounded in digital sources, methods, tools, and platforms.” (Gold)

As a self-confessed word-nerd or word-wonk, I’m somewhat reluctant to use the words “digital” and “humanities” in a definition of “digital humanities,” but I’m sticking to it. I admire its thoroughness while still being relatively concise. With some guidance from, I see it would be easy to swap “computerized and/or electronic” for “digital,” and “humanities” with “philosophy, arts, and language studies,” but I’d only do that if the clarification was necessary.


Works Cited

“Digital.” Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 26 Sept. 2015. <>.

Gold, Matthew. “Digital Humanities.” The Johns Hopkins Guide to Digital Media. Ed. Marie-Laure Ryan, Lori Emerson, and Benjamin J. Robertson. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 2014. 143-149. Print.

“Humanity.” Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 26 Sept. 2015. <>.

Young, Jeffrey R. “Readers’ Definitions of Ed-Tech Buzzwords: Confusion and Skepticism Continue.” Web log post. Wired Campus. The Chronicle of Higher Education, 28 Aug. 2015. Web. 26 Sept. 2015.