Immersive Global Middle Ages

Institute Curriculum

The intensive series of fourteen monthly virtual workshops (January 2022-December 2023) and two four-day in-person workshops at the University of Colorado–Colorado Springs (summer 2022) and Vanderbilt University (summer 2023) will ensure the project meets its primary goal of shepherding humanists through a comprehensive immersive reality curriculum culminating in our participants’ delivery of their own substantive projects.

Virtual Workshops (Saturdays, 9 am 12 pm and 1 pm to 4:30 pm US Central Time)

  • January 29, 2022 – Global Middle Ages – Geraldine Heng
  • February 26, 2022 – Interdisciplinary Studies – Lisa Fagin Davis
  • April 2, 2022 – Workflows and Labs – David Fredrick
  • April 30, 2022 – Patrimony and Preservation – Jaime Molina Vidal
  • September 17, 2022 – Digital Stories and Histories – Sean Perrone
  • October 15, 2022 – Neuropsychology in Immersive Worlds – Victor Schinazi
  • November 19, 2022 – Indigenous Peoples and Inclusion – Amy N. Fredeen
  • January 28, 2023 – Gender in Immersive Environments – Dorothy Kim
  • February 25, 2023 – Digital Ethnography – Angel Nieves
  • March 25, 2023 – Choreographing User Movement – Tracy Fullerton
  • April 29, 2023 – Project Management – Madeleine Casad
  • September 16, 2023 – Student Learning – David Neville
  • October 14, 2023 – Digital Documentation – Lisa Snyder
  • November 18, 2023 – Global Middle Ages Community – Catherine Holmes

In-Person Workshops

  • July 13-16, 2022 – University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, Colorado
  • July 12-15, 2023 – Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee

The Approach of Virtual and In-Person Workshops

Each virtual workshop, conducted on Saturdays to accommodate the work schedules of participants, will be bifurcated into a morning session (9 am to 12 noon), followed by a break for lunch, and an afternoon session (1pm to 4pm). Morning sessions, directed by Dr. Lynn Ramey, will be dedicated to seminar presentations and discussions of thematic, theoretical, and methodological issues associated with immersive technologies and the Global Middle Ages. Our invited speakers will play prominent teaching and facilitation roles in these workshops so that participants can explore issues such as digital storytelling, immersive worlds as cultural patrimony, neuropsychological considerations for mimicking the real world, game design and processes, and issues with representing diverse peoples. Prior to each workshop, participants are expected to complete a syllabus of readings as well as to have prepared relevant assignments (descriptive and analytical documentation, virtual model constructions, etc.). Afternoon sessions, taught by Dr. Martinez-Davila, will be dedicated to direct instruction using SketchUp Pro as a digital tool to construct cultural artifacts, objects, structures, and environments.

The two summer in-person workshops will focus on the advancement of each participant’s immersive world constructions. Travel airfare/ground transportation, hotel, and meals will be paid for each participant and the non-resident co-PI. The Institute’s virtual curriculum maximizes digital instruction by drawing on Dr. Martinez-Davila’s extensive expertise in digital education and we will apply OLC’s Quality Course Teaching and Instructional Practice Scorecard.

Further, given the unpredictability of the COVID-19 pandemic, our Institute is perfectly adapted to facilitate our participants’ full engagement regardless of their ability to travel; the majority of the Institute will be in a virtual setting and our summer in-person programs can easily be adapted to the virtual learning space. To plan for unexpected participant Internet connectivity issues, all virtual workshops will be recorded (via Zoom) so that absent participants can review any content they missed. In the unlikely occurrence of a UCCS or VU Internet service disruption, virtual workshops will be rescheduled and hosted on the Saturday following the originally planned date.

Workshop Agendas

VW 1: An Introduction to the Global Middle Ages and Immersive Technologies

Speaker:

Dr. Geraldine Heng (University of Texas at Austin)

Morning Session Thematic Focus:

How do we define the scholarship of the Global Middle Ages and how do we chart its future? How does the investigation of “race” impact and influence our view of the Global Middle Ages? [LR]

Afternoon Session Technical Focus:

What is the state of the art in immersive technologies and how are they being applied in cultural, commercial, and entertainment projects? What do we perceive as applicable and accessible to scholars working in the Global Middle Ages? [RM]

Afternoon Session SketchUp Pro Training (Overview of software functions and assigned participant homework for VM 2):

SketchUp Fundamentals Courses 1-12 (01 Quick Start, 02 Core Concepts, 03Push Pull, 04Accuracy, 05 Drawing Tools, 06 Selections, 07 Grouping, 08 Components, 09 Tags (or Layers), 10 Move Tool, 11 Follow Me, 12 Inference Locking) [RM]
https://learn.sketchup.com/track/sketchup-fundamentals-part-1 [RM]

Participant Independent Projects (due at VW 2):

None.

Readings:

  • Holmes, Catherine and Naomi Standen. 2018. “Introduction: Towards a Global Middle Ages.” Past & Present 238 (suppl_13): 1-44.
  • Barrington, Candace and Jonathan Hsy. 2018. “Editors’ Introduction: Chaucer’s Global Orbits and Global Communities.” Literature Compass 15 (6): e12457-n/a.
  • Heng, Geraldine. 2014. “Early Globalities, and its Questions, Objectives, and Methods: An Inquiry into the State of Theory and Critique.” Exemplaria (Binghamton, N.Y.) 26 (2-3): 234-253.
  • Martínez-Dávila, Roger Louis, Paddington Hodza, Mubbasir Kapadia, Sean T. Perrone, Christoph Hölscher, and Victor R. Schinazi. “Telling Stories: Historical Narratives in Virtual Reality.” Routledge Digital Medieval Literature and Culture eds. Jen Boyle and Helen J. Burgess. 2017. ISBN: 9781138905047. http://bit.ly/2AXTTCJ
  • Psarra, Sophia. “City-craft: Assembling the City.” In Venice Variations: Tracing the Architectural Imagination, 27-81. London: UCL Press, 2018. Accessed February 6, 2021. http://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctvqhspn.6.

Sample Projects to Review:

VW 2: New Directions in Medieval Studies and the Digital Turn for the Annales School

Speaker:

Dr. Lisa Fagin Davis (Medieval Academy of America, Executive Director)

Morning Session Thematic Focus: Why and how are interdisciplinary studies influencing new research questions in medieval studies? What is the role of scholars and researchers of the global Middle Ages in shaping this future? [LR]

Afternoon Session Technical Focus:

What is the French Annales School of interdisciplinary research and how can it be applied to an immersive and digital analysis of the Global Middle Ages? [RM]

Afternoon Session SketchUp Pro Training (Overview of software functions and assigned participant homework for VW 3):

SketchUp for Landscape & Site Design (01 Creating a Base Model, 02 Terrain & Grading, 03 Materials & Textures, 04 Furnishings & Entourage, 05 Working with Vegetation, 06 Context Modeling, 07 Optimization, Collaboration & Revisions)

https://learn.sketchup.com/track/sketchup-landscape-site-design [RM]

Participant Independent Projects (due at VW 3):

  • SketchUp digital models of two modest medieval habitations or structures.

Readings:

  • Wang, Q. Edward. 2020. “Toward a Multidirectional Future of Historiography: Globality, Interdisciplinarity, and Posthumanity.” History and Theory 59 (2): 283-302.
  • Amer, Sahar and Lynn Ramey. 2018. “Teaching the Global Middle Ages through Technology.” Parergon 35 (2): 175-187.
  • Huang, Chih-Hong and Yi-Ting Huang. 2013. “An Annales School-Based Serious Game Creation Framework for Taiwanese Indigenous Cultural Heritage.” Journal on Computing and Cultural Heritage 6 (2): 1-31.
  • Forster, Robert. “Achievements of the Annales School.” The Journal of Economic History, vol. 38, no. 1, 1978, pp. 58-76.
  • Hunt, Lynn. 1986. “French History in the Last Twenty Years: The Rise and Fall of the Annales Paradigm.” Journal of Contemporary History 21 (2): 209-224.

Sample Projects to Review:

  • The Virtual Angkor Project (“the sprawling Cambodian metropolis of Angkor at the height of the Khmer empire’s power and influence around 1300”) https://www.virtualangkor.com/

VW 3: Workflows and Labs for Humanists

Speaker:

Dr. David Fredrick (Tesseract Center for Immersive Environments and Game Design, University of Arkansas)

Morning Session Thematic Focus: What project management processes and tools should be used when managing multi-phased immersive worlds (conceptualization, resource identification, task assignment, milestone measurement)? [LR]

Afternoon Session Technical Focus:

How does one technically approach defining a geovisualized location for historical and cultural investigation? How can Google Earth and Hi-res Nearmap be used to geolocate and create topographically accurate medieval cityscapes? [RM]

Afternoon Session SketchUp Pro Training: (Overview of software functions and assigned participant homework for VM 4): Institute Training SketchUp Module (Geo-location with Google Earth and Hi-res Nearmap, Creating and fine-tuning terrain with Sandbox, Using CleanUp3 to minimize model complexity and vertices, Using historical maps and city plans as modeling guides.) [RM]

Participant Independent Projects (due at VW 4):

  • SketchUp Terrain Model for the participant’s region of study (4 km by 4km footprint).
  • SketchUp digital “diorama” model presenting a structure with pre-made objects and avatars.
  • Participant’s Inventory of Sources for historical modeling of targeted city/region space.

Readings:

  • “Designing a Lab in the Humanities.” 2017. CHE. February 7, 2017. https://www.chronicle.com/article/designing-a-lab-in-the-humanities/.
  • Fredrick, David. n.d. Documents from the Tesseract Center for Immersive Environments and Game Design.
  • Pawlicka-Deger, Urszula. 2020. “The Laboratory Turn: Exploring Discourses, Landscapes, and Models of Humanities Labs.” Digital Humanities Quarterly 14 (3).
  • Ramey, Lynn, and Rebecca Panter. 2015. “Collaborative Storytelling in Unity3D: Creating Scalable Long-Term Projects for Humanists.” In Interactive Storytelling, edited by H. Schoenau-Fog, et al., 9445:357–60. Lecture Notes in Computer Science. Copenhagen: Springer-Verlag.
  • Svensson, Patrik. 2016. “4. Humanities Infrastructure.” In Big Digital Humanities: Imagining a Meeting Place for the Humanities and the Digital. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. https://muse.jhu.edu/chapter/1985376.

Sample Projects to Review:

VW 4: Virtual Patrimony and Cultural Preservation

Speaker:

Dr. Jaime Molina Vidal (Universidad de Alicante, Spain)

Morning Session Thematic Focus:

How do cultural and historical memory (and the biases embedded within them) frame what we create? What cultural perspectives should we take into account when creating digital artifacts and immersive worlds? [LR]

Afternoon Session Technical Focus:

What challenges do we encounter when modeling terrain for immersive worlds? How do we decide which geographic features are necessary and others that are extraneous? [RM]

Afternoon Session SketchUp Pro Training (Overview of software functions and assigned participant homework for Summer 2022 In-Person Institute): Institute Training SketchUp Module (Placement and drawing of streets and pathways, Using tags to delineate types of movement patterns.) [RM]

Participant Independent Projects (due at SW 2022):

  • SketchUp City/Village/Region Map with primary streets, pathways, and major structures (4 km by 4km footprint).
  • Participant’s Inventory of Models for historical modeling of human-built structures.

Summer 2022 Workshop: Envisioning Immersive Global Medieval Communities

Wed, July 13, 2022 [RM]

  • 17:00, Participants travel to Colorado Springs airport and arrive by 17:00.
  • 18:30, Welcome Dinner and Introductions

Thu, July 14, 2022 [RM, LR]

  • 8:15-8:30, Hotel shuttle service to campus
  • 8:30-9:30, Breakfast at University Center (same as meeting room)
  • 9:30-10:00, Session 1: Overview of the Workshop
  • 10:00-12:00, Session 2: “Telling the Story: What are the important issues and findings you need to convey via an immersive world?”
  • 12:00-12:15, Short Break
  • 12:15-12:45, Session 3: Two-person teams share their stories with each other.
  • 12:45-13:45, Lunch break catered at University Center
  • 13:45-15:45, Session 4: “Prioritizing Three Human Geographies: Within your immersive world, what three places are the most important settings?”
  • 15:45-16:00, Short Break
  • 16:00-17:00, Session 5: “Introduction to Storyboarding: Who is here? What is occurring? Why does it matter?”
  • 17:00-17:15, Campus shuttle service to hotel
  • 17:15-18:30, Break
  • 18:30-21:00, Pre-arranged dinner and transportation to local restaurant.

Fri, July 15, 2022 [RM, LR]

  • 8:15-8:30, Hotel shuttle service to campus
  • 8:30-9:30, Breakfast at University Center (same as meeting room)
  • 9:30-12:00, Session 6: “Storyboarding: Prioritizing and Matching Stories to Human Geographies, Structures, and Artifacts”
  • 12:00-12:15, Short Break
  • 12:15-12:45, Session 7: Two-person teams share their prioritizations with each other.
  • 12:45-13:45, Lunch break catered at University Center
  • 13:45-15:45, Session 8: “Strategies and Challenges with Digital Modeling: Four case studies where we problem-solve the creation of digital objects with SketchUp Pro”
  • 15:45-16:00, Short Break
  • 16:00-17:00, Session 9: Overview of Fall 2022 Virtual Workshops and Adjournment (optional Saturday session is planned for those who do not need to depart early on Saturday morning.)
  • 17:00-17:15, Campus shuttle service to hotel
  • 17:15-18:30, Break
  • 18:30-21:00, Pre-arranged dinner and transportation to local restaurant.

Sat, July 16, 2022 [RM, LR] Optional Session

  • 8:15-8:30, Hotel shuttle service to campus
  • 8:30-9:30, Breakfast at University Center (same as meeting room)
  • 9:30-11:00, Saturday Session: Bringing Digital Modeling to the Classroom: Teaching SketchUp in your college classroom and other collaborative venues.
  • 11:00, Adjourn and participants make their own arrangements to travel to the Colorado Springs airport.

VW 5: Digital Storytelling and Modeling

Speaker:

Dr. Sean Perrone (St. Anselm College, New Hampshire)

Morning Session Thematic Focus:

How do we implement a digital story using a historical setting, objects, and avatars? [LR]

Afternoon Session Technical Focus:

What SketchUp tools and software add-ins can be used to model historically accurate digital objects? [RM]

Afternoon Session SketchUp Pro Training: Institute Training SketchUp Module (Creating original and modifying pre-made existing digital cultural artifacts) [RM]

Participant Independent Projects (due at VW 6):

  • Revised Storyboard for Immersive World
  • Residential or other human-built structure 1
  • Significant historical object 1

VW 6: Cognitive and Spatial Neuropsychology issues in Immersive Worlds

Speaker:

Dr. Victor R. Schinazi (Bond University, Australia)

Morning Session Thematic Focus:

How do persons experience the real world and how can this be mimicked in immersive VR environments? [LR]

Afternoon Session Technical Focus:

Participants will present their revised digital storyboards, human-built structures, and artifacts. Discussion will be focused on problem-solving issues with modeling digital items. [RM]

Afternoon Session SketchUp Pro Training:

Training SketchUp Module with Oculus VR Headset (Designing and best practices for using Oculus VR headsets in immersive worlds.) [RM]

Participant Independent Projects (due at VW 7):

  • Significant civic/religious/communal structure.
  • Residential or other human-built structure 2
  • Significant historical object 2

VW 7: Indigenous Peoples and Inclusivity in Immersive Worlds

Speaker:

Ms. Amy N. Fredeen (Cook Inlet Tribal Council, WA)

Morning Session Thematic Focus:

How should we approach issues of inclusivity and diversity in immersive games and worlds? [LR]

Afternoon Session Technical Focus:

Participants will present their human-built structures, and artifacts. Discussion will be focused on how to incorporate modest variations in existing models to diversify the visual environment [RM]

Afternoon Session SketchUp Pro Training:

Training SketchUp Module (Modeling complex objects that incorporate mechanic elements or movement.) [RM]

Participant Independent Projects (due at VW 6):

  • Three modest variants of residential or human-built structure.

Model of a mechanic object (for example, a water mill or water pump)

VW 8: The Role of Gender in Immersive Environments

Speaker:

Dr. Dorothy Kim (Brandeis University)

Morning Session Thematic Focus:

How do different genders experience immersive environments and what design considerations should be taken in account when creating these environments? [LR]

Afternoon Session Technical Focus:

Participants will present their variants of residential or human-built structures and models of mechanic objects. Discussion will be focused on problem-solving issues with modeling digital items. [RM]

Afternoon Session SketchUp Pro Training:

Institute Training SketchUp Module (Using an Oculus VR headset to evaluate, test, and hypothesize about historical social interactions in immersive worlds.) [RM]

Participant Independent Projects (due at VW 9): Prototype immersive city neighborhood or section based on revised storyboard.

VW 9: 3D Modeling, Immersive Technologies, and Digital Ethnography

Speaker:

Dr. Angel D. Nieves (Northeastern University)

Morning Session Thematic Focus:

What are the best practices for immersive projects related to digital ethnography? [LR]

Afternoon Session Technical Focus:

Five (5) of fifteen participants will present their prototype immersive city neighborhood for peer review. [RM]

Afternoon Session SketchUp Pro Training:

Institute Training SketchUp Module (Demonstrating SketchUp immersive worlds for the public using Oculus VR headsets.) [RM]

Participant Independent Projects (due at VW 10):

  • Revision 1 of prototype immersive city neighborhood or section based on revised storyboard.

VW 10: The Choreography of Game Play and User Movement in Immersive Environments

Speaker:

Prof. Tracy Fullerton (University of Southern California)

Morning Session Thematic Focus:

Using “Walden, A Game” as a departure point, how can we choreography users’ exploration of immersive environments? What lessons can we draw from games? [LR]

Afternoon Session Technical Focus:

Five (5) of fifteen will present their prototype immersive city neighborhood for peer review. [RM]

Afternoon Session SketchUp Pro Training:

Institute Training Dublin Core Metadata Schema Module (Documenting, describing, indexing, and archiving digital objects using the Dublin Core Metadata Schema.) [RM]

Participant Independent Projects (due at VW 11):

  • Final immersive city neighborhood or section based on revised storyboard.

VW 11: Project Management for Digital Humanities

Speaker:

Dr. Madeleine Casad (Vanderbilt University)

Morning Session Thematic Focus:

What are the best practices for managing complex digital humanities projects that require extensive collaboration? [LR]

Afternoon Session Technical Focus:

Five (5) of fifteen participants will present their prototype immersive city neighborhood for peer review. [RM]

Afternoon Session SketchUp Pro Training:

Institute Training SketchUp Module (Best practices for creating landscape and environment features in immersive worlds.) [RM]

Participant Independent Projects (due at Vanderbilt University Summer 2023 Workshop):

  • Second prototype immersive city neighborhood or section based on revised storyboard.

Summer 2023 Workshop:
Envisioning Immersive Global Medieval Communities

Wed, July 12, 2023 [LR]

  • 17:00, Participants travel to Nashville airport and arrive by 17:00.
  • 18:30, Welcome Dinner and Introductions

Thu, July 13, 2023 [LR, RM]

  • 8:15-8:30, Hotel shuttle service to campus
  • 8:30-9:30, Breakfast at VU Digital Humanities Center (same as meeting room)
  • 9:30-10:00, Session 1: Overview of the Workshop
  • 10:00-12:00, Session 2: “Telling Stories via Immersive Dioramas, Part 1: Choreographing User Movement and Interaction”
  • 12:00-12:15, Short Break
  • 12:15-12:45, Session 3: Two-person teams share and critique their stories.
  • 12:45-13:45, Lunch break catered at VU Digital Humanities Center
  • 13:45-15:45, Session 4: “Integrating Your City Neighborhoods into a Comprehensive Immersive World: How do we build and populate the larger city environment around our immersive focal points?”
  • 15:45-16:00, Short Break
  • 16:00-17:00, Session 5: “Introduction to Public Presentations of Immersive Environments: Creating Pop-Up Museum Exhibitions using Oculus VR headsets and Digital Projection”
  • 17:00-17:15, Campus shuttle service to hotel
  • 17:15-18:30, Break
  • 18:30-21:00, Pre-arranged dinner and transportation to local restaurant.

Fri, July 14, 2023 [LR, RM]

  • 8:15-8:30, Hotel shuttle service to campus
  • 8:30-9:30, Breakfast at VU Digital Humanities Center (same as meeting room)
  • 9:30-12:00, Session 6: “Telling Stories via Immersive Dioramas, Part 2: Choreographing User Movement and Interaction”
  • 12:00-12:15, Short Break
  • 12:15-12:45, Session 7: Two-person teams share and critique their stories.
  • 12:45-13:45, Lunch break catered at VU Digital Humanities Center
  • 13:45-15:45, Session 8: “Making Hard Choices: Prioritizing and Planning Your Remaining Work on Your Immersive World”
  • 15:45-16:00, Short Break
  • 16:00-17:00, Session 9: Overview of Fall 2023 Virtual Workshops and Adjournment (optional Saturday session is planned for those who do not need to depart early on Saturday morning.)
  • 17:00-17:15, Campus shuttle service to hotel
  • 17:15-18:30, Break
  • 18:30-21:00, Pre-arranged dinner and transportation to local restaurant.

Sat, July 15, 2023 [LR, RM] Optional Session

  • 8:15-8:30, Hotel shuttle service to campus
  • 8:30-9:30, Breakfast at VU Digital Humanities Center (same as meeting room)
  • 9:30-11:00, Saturday Session: Mobilizing Students, the Community, and Colleagues for Pop-Up Public Presentations”
  • 11:00, Adjourn and participants make their own arrangements to travel to the Nashville airport.

VW 12: Student learning, public education, and immersive environments

Speaker:

Dr. David Neville (Grinnell College)

Morning Session Thematic Focus:

How can we construct user-friend immersive environments that facilitate student learning and public education? [LR]

Afternoon Session Technical Focus:

Collaborative problem-solving discussions to support participants’ completion of their immersive world projects. [RM]

Afternoon Session SketchUp Pro Training:

None [RM]

Participant Independent Projects (due at VW 6):

  • Prototype immersive world project

VW 13: Digitally Documenting Historical Immersive Environments

Speaker:

Dr. Lisa Snyder (University of California at Los Angeles)

Morning Session Thematic Focus:

Using a reconstruction model of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem as a discussion departure point, what are the best practices for digital documentation of historical urban environments? [LR]

Afternoon Session Technical Focus:

Collaborative problem-solving discussions to support participants’ completion of their immersive world projects. [RM]

Afternoon Session SketchUp Pro Training: Institute None.

Participant Independent Projects (due at VW 14):

  • Revision 1 immersive world project.

VW 14: The Immersive Global Middle Ages Community

Speaker:

Dr. Catherine Holmes (Oxford University, UK)

Morning Session Thematic Focus:

How are the global Middle Ages changing as a field of study and community? What is our role in shaping its future? [LR]

Afternoon Session Technical Focus:

Final guidelines for submissions of participants’ projects for inclusion in the UCCS Digital Collection at the UCCS Archives. [RM]

Afternoon Session SketchUp Pro Training:

None.

Participant Independent Projects (due at end of November 2023):

  • Final immersive world project.