SHANTI at the University of Virginia

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Some “Next Big Things” in Teaching Technology Never Quite Were

In the news:  UVa’s Bill Ferster’s new book, Teaching Machines: Learning from the Intersection of Education and Technology. In his latest book, Ferster discusses the pursuit of technological innovations to improve education and analyzes why the ideas rarely became successful, while remaining hopeful that better results will be yielded in the near future with the pace of technological change happening today. Ferster is a research professor in UVa’s Curry School of Education and also the director of visualization for SHANTI (Sciences, Humanities and Arts Network of Technological Initiatives).

To read this article and excerpts from Ferster’s book,  go to:

IATH Speaker: Luther Tychonievich Speaking on “Certainty and Uncertainty in Representing Family Histories”

LutherSpeaker: Luther Tychonievich
Title: Certainty and Uncertainty in Representing Family Histories
Place: Alderman 421
Date: Friday, December 12, 2014
Time: 2:00pm


Abstract: Most family history data is stored as a set of “facts” with human-targeted textual citations and notes.  All the computer understands in these models is a single internally-consistent view of the past.  However, anyone who has done research in any field knows that evidence is almost always messy and ambiguous, potentially supporting many conclusions.  Failing to store this ambiguity can lead to edit wars, ignoring valid leads, and following dead ends much longer than needed.

This presentation will provide an overview of polygenea, a data model designed to represent what we find in research in a way that admits differing opinions, mutually contradictory possibilities, and indirect and negative evidence.  We’ll explore how this model streamlines collaboration, simplifies researcher privacy, supports explorations of many alternatives simultaneously, and removes language dependence from much of the data.  Time permitting, we may also discuss its application in other disciplines, the design of wrappers to extract one or more traditional “fact” data sets from the underlying data, and support for vendor-controlled standardization and automated format correction.

Luther Tychonievich is a lecturer in the UVA CS department ( His research interests include facilitating large-scale cooperative family history research.

Hosted by The Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities (IATH).

JUEL Event: Researching Slavery and the Enslaved

Kelley DeetzWhat: Kelley Deetz, President’s Commission on Slavery and the University, will be presenting: “Researching Slavery and the Enslaved.”
When: Tuesday, November 18 at 7:00pm
Where: Scholars’ Lab, Alderman Library, Room 421

Click here to read more.

Sponsored by the President’s Commission on Slavery and the University, the Carter G. Woodson Institute, the Scholars’ Lab, Jefferson’s University, the Early Life, and the Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities.

Brad Pasanek to Speak on “Poetic Diction and Ngrams”

brad_pasanek_1Brad Pasanek (UVa English Professor and member of the Center for the Study of Data and Knowledge) will be speaking on “Poetic Diction and Ngrams,” Friday, November 14, 2:00-3:00pm, Philosophy Conference Room, 1st Floor, Cocke Hall.

His data-intensive digital projects include 18thConnect (, of which he is Associate Director, and the Mind Is A Metaphor database (, which he created and has used to explore topics such as Hume’s metaphors and the existence of the Romantic Period.

Please invite anyone you think will be interested.

Hosted by the Center for the Study of Data and Knowledge, Data Science Institute, and SHANTI.


Teachers Can Jazz Up Their Classes with Qmedia and Other Online Tools

Qmedia, a new digital tool that enables a professor or student — whoever is “the author” –  to combine a video with a wide array of Web-based resources to produce an interactive experience for the students, will be featured at the Teaching with Technology Fair this Thursday, August 21 (11:30am – 5:30pm), Robertson Media Center in Clemons Library (3rd floor).

Originally conceived by students in Bill Ferster’s (Director of Visualization, SHANTI and Research Professor, Curry School of Education) course, “The Design of Online Learning Technology,” last year, it was further developed by SHANTI (Sciences, Humanities & Arts Network of Technological Initiatives).

For the complete article, click here.