2018 Twine Story Game Festival Hosted at IUP

On April 25, some seventy regional middle and high-school students will visit IUP in the culmination of a semester long activity.  Beginning early in the year, a team of IUP graduate students and faculty led on-site workshops to introduce students to the elements of hypertext, interactive fiction, and basic coding.

Visitors are welcome to enjoy and vote for viewer’s choice awards during the festival. The website of student works can be accessed during the festival and subsequently.

DHC Co-sponsors Second Annual Art+Feminism Wikipedia Edit-a-thon

wiki editors at table
Photo courtesy of Zeeshan Siddique

For the second year in a row, the Center for Digital Humanities and Culture (DHC) at IUP has co-sponsored an Edit-a-thon event focused on improving representation of women and the arts in Wikipedia. In a 2011 survey, the Wikimedia Foundation found that less than 10% of its contributors identify as female. This lack of female participation has led to an alarming dearth of content about women and art in the world’s most popular online research tool. DHC affiliate Dr. Matt Vetter organized and led the event with Women’s and Gender Studies Director Dr. Lynn Botelho. The DHC also provided technical support and laptops for the event.

The Edit-a-thon took place March 7, 2018 in the Humanities and Social Sciences Building, Room 226. As part of this event, 66 editors made 429 edits to 29 articles in Wikipedia, adding nearly 6,000 words to help improve representation of women and the arts across disciplines.

This year’s Edit-a-thon also included a broader assessment initiative. Organizers conducted a survey to which 24 participants responded. Preliminary analysis of survey results demonstrates positive outcomes related to the event. In particular, 70% of those surveyed indicated that they would edit Wikipedia in the future. Additionally, 80% of the surveyed participants agreed that a Wikipedia classroom project is a worthwhile experience. Finally, as part of this survey, participants were asked to rank learning outcomes. Averages across these rankings showed that participants found the event useful for learning about outcomes in the following order: (1) critical thinking, (2) digital literacy, (3) technical skills, (4) online source reliability, (5) about the class topic, (6) writing for a general audience.

Doctoral students in Dr. Vetter’s English 846: Digital Rhetoric also conducted video interviews with 6 Edit-a-thon participants to learn more about their experience and learning related to digital literacy and critical thinking. This research is ongoing.

In addition to the sponsorship provided by the Center for Digital Humanities and Culture, this event was supported by the Wikimedia Foundation, IUP Libraries, Women’s & Gender Studies, Art, Theatre & Dance, and Composition & Applied Linguistics.

Creative Coding – Coffee Talk and Workshop

“Creative” or “Exploratory” coding involves teaching programming fundamentals to allow people outside of computer science to gain agency in the digital domain.

Through a Coffee Talk (Tues, 9am, Sutton 352) and a free, hands-on workshop (Weds, 9am, Sutton 352), Tomi Dufva invites members of the IUP community to become acquainted with the ways expression and the understanding of code can go together.

Tomi Dufva is co-founder of a school integrating coding an art for children.

DHC Affiliated Faculty Publish on Wikipedia Edit-A-Thon

A decade after DHC folks begin experimenting with Wikis, newer faculty member and Asst. Professor Matt Vetter brought the pedagogy of Wiki Editing back to the fore at IUP.

Click here to read the article.

In an Art Feminism Edit-a-thon last year, Vetter worked with the DHC and Women’s Studies to host a DH intervention. Now, Theresa McDevitt of the library, along with Vetter, Weinstein and Sherwood (English/DHC) have published a jointly authored article.

Haunted Hypertext Created by IUP Students and DHC

(Students reading and writing the hypertext, on laptops and phones.)

As part of the Writing Carnival at IUP on October 20, 2017, the Center for Digital Humanities and Culture created a collaborative writing experience titled the Haunted Hypertext.

Visit the project: http://www.iupdhc.org/haunted/

Participants encountered an invitation to a story: “It began as a story set in a mid-Atlantic college town. As autumn leaves turn brown, visitors are invited to explore the paths that lead from one site to another. Perhaps you have heard rumors. Perhaps you hold the key to another piece of the story. Enter if you dare…”


When the festival began, readers could adventure throughsix different spaces. They could explore the abandoned mansion, graveyard, garden, warehouse, theater or schoolhouse, using a laptop or even their phone. But each one of these paths was incomplete or open-ended. So when they reached the stopping point of a branch, they were invited to invent the next passage to the story.

What is a hypertext?
Traditional print literature, from poems to stories, works with the linear constraints of the book. Hypertext names the branching, multi-linear web of possibilites that can be imagined when we shift to a spatial metaphor. Pages become passages, and each passage can lead to another. One passage can open to many, a path can lead you on an adventure, into a labyrinth, or toward an impossible dead end.

Over the source of two hours, 24 writers or pairs expanded the six basic scenes to a web text with 58 passages and 3819 words, the equivalent of 18 printed pages. The six initial passages branched into 19 paths.

Click for large image

The Haunted Hypertext was conceived by members of the IUP Center for Digital Humanities and Culture. The writing tool we are using is an “an open-source tool for telling interactive, nonlinear stories” called Twine. http://www.twinery.org

Unfortunately, Twine itself is designed for single authors and we wanted to create an opportunity for a large number of writers to come together, immerse themselves in the fictive space, and then add something to the shared text. Our solution was to embed a web survey in the hypertext, so that when readers were ready to write, they would be redirected to a submission form. Here they author a passage and submit it.

As this is happening, volunteers who are familiar with the use of Twine, take their contributions from the database, insert them into the appropriate space within the twine web, and then upload a new version to the website.


(IUP Graduate student Shane Sedlemyer, editing the Twine.)

Phase one of the project is published at:

http://www.iupdhc.org/haunted

Readers are now invited to “finish off” a number of branches which are incomplete. For several weeks after the festival, visitors are invited to bring “closure”; they can either redirect the story, so that it links back to (recursively) to an earlier passage or they can terminate the narrative. For example, perhaps “you” open the door to a closet, a bowling ball rolls out onto your head and you die; hopefully you can be more clever than that.

Visit one of the branches that need closure and use the “write” interface to complete the passage.

There will be one final update sometime after Halloween, where we’ll bring whatever degree of closure seems fitting.

Aljayyousi Awarded DAAD grant for DH Project

Dr. Mohammad Aljayyousi, an IUP alumnus who got his PhD in Literature and Criticism with a dissertation focusing on Digital Humanities under the supervision of Dr. Ken Sherwood, has recently been awarded a DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) short term grant in Digital Humanities for his project on the digitization of novels and the creation of pedagogical tools for English majors through the digital medium. He has started his fellowship at the Cologne Center of eHumanities (CCeH) in Cologne, Germany this October (http://cceh.uni-koeln.de/).

Weinstein presents on Teaching, the “Wiki Way”

At the 2017 College Technology day, DHC Co-director Dan Weinstein presented “Strategies for Teaching with Co-Editable Digital Documents.”
In this session Dr. Weinstein will discussed and demonstrated strategies for constructing engaging, collaborative learning experiences in such co-editable digital spaces as Google Sites, Google Docs, and similar tools. Applications for collaborative documents in primary, secondary, and university settings were explored.

Keywords Chat – Glitch Aesthetics, Weds. 4/5 at Noon

Doctoral student Bradley Markle will lead this week’s discussion on “Glitch Aesthetics,”
which involves using errors and corruptions in digital transmission as a basis for making art.

#Keywords Chats on Digital Culture aim to foster a conversation on diverse digital culture topics outside of the classroom. Participants join in the round table discussion, enjoy illuminating “demos” and benefit from the expertise of a student or faculty chat leader.

Keywords Chat – Flarf, Weds. 3/22

Click to Zoom.

Prof. Ken Sherwood will lead the next chat in the #Keywords series. “Flarf is an early twenty-first century neologism … to describe a poetic composition tactic specific to networked digital media, the sensibility that informs it, and, eventually a poetic movement…. Flarf composition typically involves the application of constraint based appropriate to digital media; in Flarf, this often involves burrowing into Google search results for inappropriate, awkward, obscene, or otherwise non-literary text.” (Flarf, Darrwn Wershler).

#Keywords Chats on Digital Culture aim to foster a conversation on diverse digital culture topics outside of the classroom. Participants join in the round table discussion, enjoy illuminating “demos” and benefit from the expertise of a student or faculty chat leader.