What’s a THATCamp?
In a traditional academic conference, panelists share answers. At THATCamp, participants explore questions.
THATCamp participants set the agenda in the morning by proposing and voting on the sessions. For example, someone might propose a session aimed at exploring ways that technology could be useful in the peer review process. Another participant might ask a direct question such as “how can I create a website” or “how can data mining help my research?” At that point, participants with experience will usually volunteer to lead a session that will teach those skills. Another participant might propose a working session where the participants discussed ways to solve a problem or create something new.
So some sessions will focus on learning a skill or launching a collaborative project. Others sessions will feature discussions about pedagogy, sharing research, public history, or a host of other topics. You might start the day with an instructional sessions on the basics of web design or writing code, have a discussion about the utility of technology in the classroom, learn some basics of data mining that will help you with a current research project, and end the day by joining your new friends in creating a public history website or application.
Sessions can be proposed on this website or they can be proposed on the morning of THATCamp. The most popular 12-16 sessions will be held throughout the day. Participants are free to move from one session to another or plan spontaneous sessions based on questions that come up throughout the day. This last part is key-some of the best sessions might not appeal to a large number of participants so even if the session does not make the official cut it can still happen in a more informal manner.
Sounds great but….
The best part of THATCamp is the collegiality, so please do not worry that participants will be expected to come with anything more than a willingness to learn and share. THATCamp works best when there are a large number of first time attendees and people with diverse backgrounds and skills. Have concerns about technology? So will many of your fellow participants-let’s talk about it.
The best part of THATCamp is the collegiality, so please do not worry that participants will be expected to come with anything more than a willingness to learn and share. Since it’s kind of a hybrid between a conference and a jam session, it works best when there are a large number of first time attendees and people with diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and skill levels.
It’s also a great way to meet some great people you’ll want to run into during the rest of your stay in Atlanta.
If you have questions, feel free to drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org