Kenja McCray: Reflections on THATCamp HBCU 2012

By Kenja McCray, Associate Professor of History, Atlanta Metropolitan State College

Kenja McCray

Several images flash across my mind’s eye when I reflect on THATCamp Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) 2012, which was held at the Atlanta University Center’s Woodruff Library, and which was my first.

Overall, I imagine the experience as a gateway which helped provide access to various enriching opportunities. The THATCamp “portal” primarily provided a way for my Atlanta Metropolitan State College (AMSC) colleagues and me to access a professional development opportunity which was both engaging and helpful.

The broader digital humanities provide students access to necessary tools, knowledge, and information via many avenues which assist them to navigate the digital divide and to reach their educational goals while also experiencing personal transformation through exposure to various avenues for enrichment of their personal knowledge. Finally, through interactions with colleagues in THATCamp (HBCU) sessions, I was able to envision digital humanities as a bridge between cultures, thus helping to make the world a much smaller venue for information sharing between seemingly disparate people who might be empowered by processes of developing digital and cultural connections to one another.

The THATCamp “portal” primarily provided a way for my AMSC colleagues and me to access a professional development opportunity which was engaging. In these tough economic times colleges in the University System of Georgia (USG) faced deep budget cuts. As a result, AMSC had to scale back its financial support for faculty and staff development. In search of personal opportunities for quality, affordable professional development, I was excited when my alma mater, Spelman College, posted THATCamp (HBCU) registration information via a popular social networking web site. Initially, I was worried I would not be able to participate, as AMSC is not an HBCU but it is a predominantly Black institution (PBI).

I knew it was important for me to tap into the opportunity to learn more about the area of digital humanities. This, I believed, would help me better teach my majority-minority United States history students and to help them get access to the latest information and Continue reading

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Please Add Your Reflections!

My Dear THATCamp HBCU participants–

Please feel free to add a reflection upon your THATCamp HBCU experience to this site, or, if you have added it to another blog or website, please feel free to share that link with the rest of us here.

Remember, any posts that are tagged “Thatcamp” and “proceedings” will be immediately picked up by  “Proceedings at THATCamp,” a publication of the Center for History and the New Media at George Mason University.  After you finish your reflection/article/essay, just click on “Proceedings” under the category button next to the post.

We would all love to hear what you have to say about your experience, how you are using the knowledge you gained, and any suggestions you have for next year.

Thank You!


Atlanta Reflections

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I’m so thrilled that we had such a productive day at THATCamp HBCU!

There’s more to come tomorrow!  Please remember, if you have any new session ideas you would like to happen, please add them to the WIKI in the schedule section.

Please make sure that you add your notes to the WIKI so that others who couldn’t be at the session or workshop you attended could still learn about that topic.

Also, there is a small poll that would like everyone to take when they are done with THATCamp HBCU in order to evaluate how our THATCamp went.

I can’t wait to see you all tomorrow!

Categories: Administrative, Session Proposals | 1 Comment

Some Details Before the Conference

My dear THATCampers!  I just wanted to touch base and tell you that I can’t wait for all of us to meet!

Wednesday from 4-6 p.m., I will be in the “Quiet Study Room” on the bottom floor of the AUC Woodruff Library doing early registration and also providing any assistance that anyone might need in some basic tools for THATCamp–like how to use Twitter, the WIKI, and our WordPress site.  Please stop by if you have any questions at all!

We have given the security people at the front door a list of your names, so you should be able to get in with no problems.  However, if you DO have a problem, the security people also have my cell number–so please give me a ring!

Wednesday night, some of you might enjoy going out to a nearby Cantina called “No Mas.”   I am told they have a wonderful bar and restaurant there, as well as some nice shops.  There is a pre-conference Schmooze set for 6-8 at No Mas.  I didn’t make any reservations,   but I figure we can all meet there casually.

From 8-9 a.m. in the AUC Woodruff Library “Quiet Study Area,” we will met for some coffee and some more registration for anyone who needs to pick up badges then, and then, Continue reading

Categories: Session Proposals | 1 Comment

Robert W. Woodruff Library The Robert W. Woodruff Library, which contains one of the country's most extensive collections of archival material relating to African American history, is centrally located in Atlanta among the schools that belong to the Atlanta University Center.


We have 10 spots left!

We are having the conference at an HBCU, but you don’t have to be HBCU affiliated to attend! Please join us!!

THATCamp HBCU will be held at the Atlanta University Center Library in Atlanta, GA June 14-15, 2012.

The address is:

111 James P. Brawley Drive SW,
Atlanta, GA 30314 

We have lined up Workshop instructors, we are taking session ideas, and we are  accepting applications until we reach our maximum capacity of 75 campers.

Please see our Travel page to make arrangements for your trip to Atlanta.

We look forward to seeing you at THATCamp HBCU!


Michelle Kassorla


@thatcamphbcu #thatcamp #hbcu


Posted on by Michelle Kassorla | Comments Off on Welcome to THATCamp HBCU 2012!

Building Digital Bridges to Cross Cultural Divides

I am a part of a team of students, scholars, entrepreneurs, and volunteers who are building a digital library and genealogical/family history database for African Americans (Gullah-Geechee) in coastal Georgia and their “distant relatives” in Sierra Leone. The purpose of this project, sponsored by the Carlton-Carew Ep Foundation, is to exchange resources and ideas, initiating a dialogue to bridge cultural, historical, technological and economic divides in the present. At THATCamp I would like to share the goals for this project, find new friends and partners, and most importantly get feedback and suggestions on how to incorporate emerging technologies into this project.

Categories: Archives, Collaboration, Crowdsourcing, Project Management, Session Proposals, Social Media | Tags: | 3 Comments


Please, please, please . . . if you have a session idea: propose it!  If you think you have a session idea, but aren’t sure:  propose it!

This is an (un)conference!  If we don’t have lots of session ideas, we don’t have sessions!!

If you are unsure about how to post, please contact Michelle and she will assist you.  You can also suggest last-minute session ideas at the opening session on Thursday.

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Editing Workshop

I think it would be a great idea to add a film editing workshop. If there isn’t already one.

Categories: Session Proposals | 2 Comments

Khan Academy and Duolingo

For those who don’t know, Khan Academy is a website of over 3200 short videos on such topics as math (from basic all the way up to calculus), physics (from just a little above my head to way above my head), finance, art and history.

Duolingo is an innovative language learning platform where users learn a language for free while translating the world wide web at the same time.

Both of these sites incorporate some of the ideas included within the Digital Humanities Glossary that Michelle posted: Digital Pedagogy, Digital Teaching, Flattening Learning Curve, Flipped Classroom and Gamification.

I am proposing a session in which we go through the websites and (I have established accounts with both) and use them as a context for a discussion on the concepts above. More importantly, of course, the discussion will be used to generate thoughts about what we can do as educators to use these technologies and others like them to maximum benefit. Or perhaps we should be creating our own technologies?

If you haven’t used these sites, I encourage you to check them out. They’re actually pretty fun.

Michael Luther
Reference Librarian
Robert W. Woodruff Library


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Twitter Exchange

Please post your Twitter ID on our WIKI because the silly “comments” section on this blog won’t let us do it without eliminating the link.

The Hashtag for the Conference:  #THATCamp #HBCU

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