Recently GC Digital Initiatives hosted a four-day research institute in room 4102 at The Graduate Center. The workshops covered the basics of command line, git, Python, and databases. They also included electives such as text analysis, geospatial mapping, web development with html and css, quantitative machine learning, APIs and twitterbots, and digital research ethics. The GC Digital Fellows presented each workshop with patience and insightfulness, lead by Deputy Director of Digital Initiatives, Lisa Rhody, all who attended gain understanding in regard to ways of incorporating these tools into their work. Personally I was impressed by the diversity in the room. Students represented several departments to form an academic melting pot, which will serve as one of my fondest memories at The Graduate Center.
Lisa Rhody warned us on the second day, that it would take a while for us to become experts at using these tools. My question to one of the fellows was how long do you think it will take to become proficient at using these tools? Although there is know clean-cut approach to mastering these tools, it was obviously that the more you work on projects with these tools, the better you become at using them. I think that what I gained the most out of the workshop was that many of the fellows who mastered one or more of these tools, explained that in certain areas they were still learning. This speaks to the complexity of these tools, and the time it takes to master them. I think it’s important to keep this in mind, as we learn to use these tools. Time and patience seem to be the greatest common denominator, as we work to incorporate these tools into our projects.
On another note, each day at lunchtime our group was able to speak with different individuals and organizations through out The Graduate Center. Future Initiatives visited us one day, then Career Planning & Professional Development visited us another day, even Digital Humanities guru, Matt Gold stopped by to say hello as he wished us the best of luck. So as you see, this gathering was more than a workshop, it was a way to start connecting ideas and concepts for new and already existing projects. I believe that all who adapted this sort of mindset enjoyed the process of learning and started the New Year in a space that exuberated new goals and good company.