Gaming DH

One of the first stories I saw on Slashdot this morning was about replacing grades with XP.  By structuring the class using game mechanics, the professor was able to provide clearly defined goals and incremental rewards to encourage students.

I don’t see any reason why we can’t do something like this in digital humanities.  Project sites should be able to provide a quest-like system to help newcomers learn how the site works.  There should be a process for mastering complex tools.  Complex tools take time to learn and can be daunting when first encountered.  But breaking them up into smaller pieces while learning them should make them much more approachable.  A project should not sacrifice usefulness for convenience, or because someone who isn’t comfortable with computers can’t figure them out.  Digital projects live in a digital world and require some digital literacy.

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DH Agent

In my previous post, I talked a bit about constructing DH projects as games.  This lead to the idea that how we explore projects and how projects present themselves are independent of each other as long as the underlying information is available to the explorer.  Instead of having to learn each project separately, the user instead learns how to use the explorer interface.  This isn’t very different from today’s games.  As someone related at AggieCon this year, if you publish a game with an interface that is fundamentally different from what players expect, then the game won’t be fun and probably won’t be successful.

So what would a data explorer look like?

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In addition to thinking about DH stuff and playing WoW, I also cooked lunch and a small not-quite-dinner.  I’m going with my partner to bell practice tonight since I’ll be taking part in the bell piece Sunday morning.

Lunch ended up being butternut squash cooked in butter with a little brown sugar, a baked (microwaved) potato, and shrimp cooked with a little olive oil, garlic, and parmesan cheese.

The not-quite-dinner is a quasi-french onion soup, toast, and cheese.  I loosely followed the Good Eats recipe.  For this, I started with two big red onions and cooked them down with about 3 tbs butter (whatever was left of the stick, actually) and some salt.  After a couple hours, I added just a touch of garlic and let it rest while I ran over to Vonns (half-a-mile walk, but not too long) and picked up some spices, a quart of vegetable broth, and a bottle of relatively cheap white wine.   I added about half of the bottle of wine and let it reduce until I was almost back to where I was before adding the wine.  At that point, I added a pint of the broth and let it heat up.

In each of the bowls I put some sliced up mozzarella.  This is where I really depart from the traditional recipe.  I didn’t have gruyere or fontina (I forgot to pick it up when I was at the store — no sense in making the mile round trip just for a little cheese), and my other options where sharp cheddar or parmesan.  I poured the hot soup over the cheese and we accompanied it with toast.

Then off to bell practice!