The Learning Programme helps academic researchers develop skills to critically investigate, develop, exploit and expand new ways of doing humanities and social science research using digital technologies.
We work with individuals and also bring together interdisciplinary groups to investigate the possibilities of emerging technologies and techniques.
We work largely with academics and researchers from faculties, the University Libraries and University Museums. Our programme is open to all at Cambridge who wish to engage in digitally enabled research and explore digital epistemologies. We work with faculty at all levels, including early career researchers, and doctoral students. We also work with third sector groups, (NGO, community), arts and heritage and media arts groups and with institutions across the galleries, libraries, archives and museums sector.
Our goals are to:
- Expand knowledge of digital methods among University of Cambridge staff and students
- Facilitate the development of excellent critical practice in digital methods for research and teaching in the arts, social sciences and humanities
- Strengthen the relationship between innovation in research methods and teaching by building capacity among future generations of researchers
The core programme components are delivered in a series of different formats. These are designed to help participants explore and practice key methods, tools and concepts relevant to humanities and social science research in the digital age, and to be responsive to emerging social, cultural and technical developments and priorities.
Basics sessions provide introductory training in key principles, methods and techniques for research in the digital age for graduate students and staff at the University of Cambridge. The programme is designed to allow participants to progress over the course of the year and can be followed from beginning to end as a structured course. However, sessions can also be booked individually and are all suitable for beginners.
We teach using free-to-use software and prioritise open-source tools where possible. You will need access to a laptop on which you have admin rights to install software for some sessions, however many of the sessions require nothing more than the use of a web browser and internet connection. Participants in the Basics programme are automatically enrolled on the Basics Moodle which gives access to slides, tutorials and resources from sessions across the entire year. You can join the Basics Moodle at any time of year and access the resources there independently of the sessions. Click here to find out more.
We are working in collaboration with The Programming Historian, a peer-reviewed, open-access journal that publishes novice-friendly lessons in digital humanities methods. You will find PH lessons integrated into some of the live sessions, and links to suggested PH lessons you may want to work through in your own time to develop your skills further on the Moodle.
The Basics programme is structured broadly around the lifecycle of a digital research project, beginning with a phase of preparation and research design in Michaelmas Term, moving on to data acquisition and transformation in Lent Term, investigating analysis and presentation textual and image data in Easter Term and ending with a final session on data and software sustainability.
Knowledge of programming languages is not required for most sessions. We have integrated an introduction to Python into the Basics series, and those who are interested in developing their coding skills will find optional material to follow in their own time. Our Methods Workshop series also regularly includes more in-depth sessions developing skills in Python and R. Some of these are second-level courses for those with prior experience.
Methods Workshops provide longer, more intensive opportunities to develop skills introduced in the CDH Basics series.
In addition to the goals for Basics, our Methods Workshops aim to:
- Equip participants with the skills and knowledge to design and deliver simple digital research projects as individuals
For in-person teaching: 2 x 1.5 hour sessions with a break or either side of lunch, plus access to presenters’ slides and course materials via Moodle
For remote teaching: 2 x 1 hour live-streamed sessions on consecutive weeks (or over several days during the course of a week), plus interactive chat forum for Q and A and access to course materials via Moodle.
Number of participants per session: 15
Number of sessions per year: 6 (2 per term)
The Methods Fellowship programme offers teaching, research and professional staff and postgraduate students at the University of Cambridge the opportunity to develop and deliver innovative teaching in digital methods.
Our Methods Fellows have been announced for 2021/22.
This teaching series offers staff and graduate students a variety of topics within Digital Humanities, these Guided Projects are aimed at participants at all levels who want a more in-depth experience of collaborative digital research than is possible in a half-day workshop. Participants work together to develop a project designated by our Methods Fellows. Each Guided Project is around ten hours. Each explores a specific tool, method or set of challenges in detail. In addition to presentations, small group discussions, demonstrations, “hands-on” practical sessions in the classroom introducing new technical skills and working with software, part of each session is set aside for a project meeting where participants collectively decide goals, review progress and allocate tasks as a team.
Guided Projects are aimed at participants at all levels who want a more in-depth experience of collaborative digital research than is possible in a half-day workshop. Participants work together to develop a project designated by the Learning team. Each Guided Project is around ten hours. Each explores a specific tool, method or set of challenges in detail. In addition to presentations, small group discussions, demonstrations, “hands-on” practical sessions in the classroom introducing new technical skills and working with software, part of each session is set aside for a project meeting where participants collectively decide goals, review progress and allocate tasks as a team.
Each Guided Project will result in the publication of a collectively-written working paper documenting the methods used and listing all participants as co-authors. The working papers will be hosted on our website as an open resource.
Guided Projects respond to the interests and training needs of particular groups of participants, but follow the common pattern of working through five stages in the life-cycle of a digital project: design, capture, transform, analyse and present.
- Provide experience of applying digital methods and using digital tools.
- Enable participants to work more effectively with others as part of an interdisciplinary research team
For in-person teaching: 5 x 2 hour sessions plus access to presenters’ slides and course materials via Moodle
For remote teaching: 10 x 1 hour live-streamed sessions (generally over 5 weeks, usually following the model of a teaching hour followed by a separate Q and A or drop-in office hour), plus interactive chat forum for Q and A and access to course materials via Moodle.
Number of participants per session: 15
Number of sessions per year: up to 2