Higher Education Programs in Digital Humanities: Challenges and Perspectives

The 2nd workshop was held at the 3rd DHN conference, Helsinki, 7-9 March 2018.

Helsinki, March 7, 2018, 9 am - 1 pm - workshop schedule:

Click on links for "abstract" (Word) and/or "presentation" (PowerPoint) and each file will automatically start downloading to your computer.

9.00–9.10 Introductions

9.10–9.30 Marianne Ping Huang, Aarhus University: Creating OER for DH and Beyond-Opportunities and Challenges – The Case of #dariahTEACH (abstract - presentation)
9.30–9.50 Birte Christensen-Dalsgaard, DIGHUMLAB-DK: Training the Trainers for DH (abstract - presentation)
9.50–10.10 Maija Paavolainen, University of Helsinki: Digital Cultural Heritage Collections as Introduction to DH – A Case from Uni Helsinki (abstract - presentation)
10.10–10.30 Antonina A. Puchkovskaia, ITMO University: A Syllabus Redesign for Turning your Humanities Course into a Digital One (abstract - presentation)

10.30–11.00 Coffee Break

11.00–11.20 Koraljka Golub, Marcelo Milrad, Linnaeus University: Programming for Digital Humanities: Experiences from a Master Course (abstract - presentation)
11.20–11.40 Dimitar Iliev, Dobromir Dobrev, Maria Baramova, University of Sofia: Stones, Monks and Maps: DH Research at the University of Sofia and Its Development of MA Curriculum (abstract - presentation)
11.40–12.00 Mikko Tolonen, University of Helsinki: In Between Teaching Cultures - Digital Humanities at the University of Helsinki (abstract - presentation)

12.00–12.30 Discussion and Conclusions

Workshop organizers

  • Jenny Bergenmar, Department of Literature, History of Ideas and Religion, University of Gothenburg, Sweden jenny.bergenmar@lir.gu.se
  • Koraljka Golub (primary contact), Department of Cultural Sciences, Linnaeus University, Sweden koraljka.golub@lnu.se
  • Isto Huvila, Department of Archival Science, Library & Information Science, and Museum & Heritage Studies, Uppsala University, Sweden isto.huvila@abm.uu.se
  • Marcelo Milrad, Department of Media Technology, Linnaeus University, Sweden marcelo.milrad@lnu.se
  • Marianne Ping Huang, School of Communication and Culture, Aarhus University, Denmark mph@cc.au.dk
  • Mikko Tolonen, Helsinki Collegium of Advanced Studies, University of Helsinki, Finland mikko.tolonen@helsinki.fi


Different aspects related to higher education programs in Digital Humanities (DH), whether, what and how they should be organized, are currently discussed at many higher education institutions in Nordic countries and beyond. In recent years the establishment of new educational programs under the title of Digital Humanities, for example in the USA, UK and Germany, are an indication of a perceived need for developing such specific curricula. DARIAH-EU has a dedicated research and education centre under the title of Virtual Competency Centre (VCC) Research and Education Liaison. DARIAH-EU also runs a registry of Digital Humanities education in Europe which, as of 10 January 2017, lists currently active 17 Bachelor degrees, 38 Master degrees, and 8 individual courses. By 2018 the Erasmus+ funded Open Education Ressources platform #dariahTeach will be part of DARIAH-EU sustained services, offering modules and courses within a range of DH topics, while also building on European quality standards for Higher Education. Similarly, EADH (European Association for Digital Humanities) provides a list of education programs, courses and seminars in Europe and names: 7 undergraduate programs and courses, all with terms like Digital Humanities, Humanities Computing and related in the title; 20 postgraduate ones with a more mixed array of titles; and, 4 PhD programs, all with the title of Digital Humanities or very similar (University College London, King's College London, a cluster of 4 Irish universities, and University of Passau). 

In the Nordic countries similar efforts are underway at the University of Gothenburg, which launched a Master in Digital Humanities in autumn 2017. The University of Helsinki is also offering a set of courses in Digital Humanities. Linnaeus University aims towards developing an international distance Master program in Digital Humanities, with a pilot program course having started in the autumn of 2017. At the same time, at other universities, courses in digital methods and topics have been integrated as a part of existing and new programs as specific compulsory and elective modules, or by including Digital Humanities related topics and perspectives as a part of other courses. 

However, what a dedicated course, module or program in the field of Digital Humanities should cover is not always clear. There is a considerable variation between different offerings including diverse content and approaches. The vast range of disciplines, fields, areas and topics relevant to Digital Humanities present a challenge as to what to include in a dedicated program, how to address the different challenges related to bringing together different disciplinary traditions and methods, and how to accommodate professional, infrastructural and academic requirements for such initiatives.

Moreover, there are several challenges associated with what is expected from the outcomes of these new educational programs and efforts. Which job positions and tasks could a graduate Digital Humanist take on after completion of a Digital Humanities program? What kind of practices and training do the students need to be prepared for the job market or for a PhD
programme? Is there a need for Digital Humanists as such or should education in all humanities subjects be more inclusive of digital technology-related, cross-disciplinary and cross-sectoral topics? If the latter is the case, do we need entire programs or could the alternative of focusing on dedicated modules or individual courses address existing and emerging needs of both the academic and the non-academic spheres? Furthermore, if both approaches were deemed to have their merits, how do they differ, overlap and complement each other in the context of educating future researchers and professionals for different sectors of the society?

The aim of this proposed workshop at DHN 2018 is to bring together scholars, educators and others interested in different aspects of Digital Humanities education to explore the current potential and challenges and opportunities related to the teaching and learning of Digital Humanities. The workshop will provide an opportunity to share experiences, discuss existing
programs, modules and courses in Digital Humanities, research, training and development activities, evaluation approaches, lessons learned, and findings. A further objective is to systematically engage in discussions in common areas of interest with selected related communities and to investigate potential co-operation and concrete collaborative activities. 

The workshop will allow major established programs and initiatives to report results, newcomers to interact with established people in the field in order to allow the entire community to critically discuss topical issues. The DHN venue encourages participation by Digital Humanities teachers, researchers and developers from different perspectives (reflecting the different conference threads). As the second workshop on education at DHN, it is envisioned as part of a workshop series taking place at annual DHN conferences in order to establish and provide a regular forum for discussions on education in Digital Humanities in Nordic countries and beyond.


Participants are encouraged to submit proposals for presentations in the open section of the workshop programme. The presentation should address a specific topic related to the workshop theme and be presented.

Proposal format: approximately 300 words, submitted to koraljka.golub@lnu.se by January 10 at the latest.

Acceptance notification: January 20.

Workshop themes

The proposed workshop will have three themes as the main focus, together with topical presentations arising from the workshop CfP. The main themes are enumerated below:

  1. Existing programs, modules or individual courses in Digital Humanities: design, target student groups, content, job market, evaluation, experiences and lessons learned.
  2. Currently developed programs, modules or individual courses in Digital Humanities approaches to the design, target student groups and related issues.
  3. Cross-disciplinary and cross-sectoral collaboration in Digital Humanities education.

Workshop structure

Indicative agenda structure, covering approximately 4 hours:

Session 1: Welcome, introduction, mutual presentations (30 min duration)
Session 2: Presentations on the main themes (90 min duration)
Session 3: Directed discussion emerging from the main session (30 min duration)
Session 4: Presentation and discussion of submitted papers on timely and related topics according to the CfP (60 min duration)
Session 5: Concluding discussion, including options for co-operation (30 min duration).

Supporting material for the workshop will be available via the workshop website, including abstracts of presentations and plans for the workshop before the conference. After the workshop, copies of the presentations will be made available at the website. Authors presenting significant results at the workshop will be encouraged to submit papers for consideration in future issues of relevant journals in Digital Humanities.


The intended audience include: Teachers and managers at existing and developing Digital Humanities programs; researchers working with topics in Digital Humanities education; professionals who are interested in taking a Digital Humanities program, modules, or courses. About 20 participants are expected to attend.

Technical equipment

Standard audio-visual and IT equipment with good Internet connection will be offered. In case of need, access to video conference can be provided.