This is a blog post (one of many) celebrating the release of Prism. This project and web site are the outcome of the Praxis Program, an experiment in graduate methodology training that we’ve been conducting at the Scholars’ Lab.
Well, Prism is one outcome of the Praxis Program. The most visible, at the moment. But also the least important.
For one thing, post-launch can be one of the most stressful phases of a project. Surprise! Everyone hits your shiny new site, and it falls over like a house of cards. Then the world watches as you panic and scramble to put it back together. It’s good for character and a good learning experience. But not much fun.
Also, the senior members of this collaboration—the fulltime faculty and staff of the Scholars’ Lab—have always had a different goal for this project: the students themselves. Over the course of the last year, they’ve received learning opportunities that I wish I’d had when I was a graduate student. We’ve tried to equip them to conceive of and plan large, interesting research projects; to evaluate and learn the technologies required to implement those projects; and to administer and manage them from inception to completion. Unfortunately, the most we can do is point out the outlines of the task before them and point them in (hopefully) the right direction. This is a journey they’ll have to travel for many years. But whatever their career paths—whether tenure track faculty, adjunct faculty, alt-ac, or private sector—these skills will be needed.
And in this sense, both Praxis and Prism are just getting started.