Challenge #6: Reflect and Plan

Welcome to your sixth and final challenge. Congratulations- you’ve made it to the end!

The Challenge

For this challenge, I want you to take time to look back at all that you’ve built this summer. You should be proud of all you’ve accomplished! I also want to challenge you to make a plan for the future: how can you realistically continue the momentum you’ve created this summer to ensure that you persist in maintaining and growing your digital presence?

To complete this challenge, you must add a response to our Challenge #6 discussion thread answering some of all of the following questions:

  1. What are you most proud/happy/excited about learning/creating during the HC Summer Camp?
  2. Are there any questions you still have regarding anything that we’ve learned this summer?
  3. How do you plan to continue maintaining and building your digital presence? Which platforms will you update and how often? How will you remember to update them? Make sure that the goals you set are realistic and compatible with your other responsibilities.
  4. Do you have any feedback for myself and the HC team regarding either the HC Summer Camp or HC in general? Is there any way that we can improve? If we were to host another summer camp next year, what would be helpful topics to cover? Is there anything about the HC Summer Camp that you would change or improve? Is there anything that you would like to keep the same?
  5. Is there anything else you’d like to share?

If you’d prefer to share any or all of your responses to the above questions privately, please send them to me either via a private message on Humanities Commons or through my email,

Beyond Summer Camp

Thank you again for participating in all of our challenges this summer. The active discussion and community support that you provided is what made this summer camp a success.

If you ever want to check back on our discussions or on any of the challenge blog posts in the future, you will be able to do so: both the site and group will remain online.

Finally, if anyone is interested either in sharing your thoughts on your #HCSummerCamper experience or if you’d like to discuss a project you’ve built on Humanities Commons, I’d love to speak with you! I’m currently seeking HC users to interview for the HC Team Blog. If interested, please send me an email and let me know what you’d like us to discuss.

Final Thoughts

If you’re on Twitter, please share your super-camper status using our #HCSummerCamper hashtag. You should also consider sharing the many things you’ve created and learned throughout our six challenges on social media!

I look forward to hearing your responses to our final reflection and planning challenge.

If you have any questions or if you run into any issues, fear not! Your camp director is here to help. Reach out to the Humanities Commons Summer Camp through any of the following contacts:

Humanities Commons: Post your question/concern as a new discussion thread in our HC Group.

Twitter: @humcommons

Email: or


Advanced Mini-Challenge: Widgets

Adding content to your site may take some time and thought. With this in mind, I wanted to assign you a shorter mini-challenge to compliment our fifth challenge.

To complete this mini-challenge, you will need to explore a few of the widgets that Humanities Commons sites offer. As a reminder, HC sites are WordPress sites, so if you have any questions, general resources related to WordPress sites would probably be a helpful place to start.

What are widgets?

WordPress widgets are tools that help you to add features and content to your sidebars. Most of them require no work beyond activation, however, for some widgets, you may be asked to include your own text or images.


There are a number of different widgets for you to choose to include in your Humanities Commons site. Additionally, the widgets available to you depend upon the theme your site uses. Here are a few that may be of interest…


  • Most Popular Posts: This widget will maintain a list with links to your most popular posts. “Popularity” here is based on the number of visits each of your posts receives. Ten is the automatic number of posts listed, however, if you’d prefer a different number, this is customizable. Just like plug-ins, certain widgets may work better with one site genre than another. For example, this widget can work really well for a blog site, but may not make sense on course site.

How this widget appears on my site
  • Video or Audio: By using either of these widgets, you can include a video or audio file onto your page.  


How this widget appears on my site
  • Meta: If the theme of your site does not include a “Meta” menu on its homepage, it might make your life easier to add this widget to your site. The meta menu will include a direct link to your dashboard, a link to log-out, RSS code for comments and entries on your site, as well as a link to the WordPress homepage.  

How this widget appears on my site
  • Events or Events Calendar: These widgets will keep a running list or calendar of the events you’ve scheduled. This is a great tool to use for sites that are dedicated to workshops, conferences, or communities, because they serve as reminders of your upcoming events.

How this widget appears on my site (I don’t have any events listed)
  • Tag Cloud: This widget creates a visual cloud of the various tags you’ve attached to your posts and pages. You can customize this widget by creating your own title for the image and choosing whether or not you’d like to show tag counts.

How this widget appears on my site.


How do I activate widgets?

To select and activate widgets for your site, first go to your site’s dashboard. After hovering your pointer over “Appearance” on the left-hand menu, select “Widgets.”

Select “Widgets” from the left-hand menu

This will take you to a list of the widgets that are available for Humanities Commons sites to use. Read through the different widget options as there may be some that work for you that I didn’t cover in my brief list of example widgets.

The widgets page

Once you’ve found a widget that you would like to include on your site, click it and drag it to your desired footer (located on the right of the page). The available footers and their locations will be different depending on which theme your site uses.  Note that you can include multiple widgets in a single footer. If your selected widget contains customization options or requires you to add information, you will need to fill this out after you’ve placed the widget in the appropriate footer. Don’t forget to click the save button once you’ve finished customizing!

The video widget is one example of a widget that requires customization
The events calendar widget is another example of a widget that requires customization

To see how your widgets look, visit your site. The widgets will typically appear on every page of your site. If you don’t like what you see, or if you want to change things around, remember that you can always return to the widgets page and edit your work.

Share and Reflect

Please share any discoveries or questions that emerged as a result of exploring the available WordPress widgets on our group page, especially if you found a widget not discussed in this blog post!

If run into any issues as you complete this challenge, fear not! Your camp director is here to help. Reach out to the Humanities Commons Summer Camp through any of the following contacts:

Humanities Commons: Post your question/concern as a new discussion thread in our HC Group.

Twitter: @humcommons

Email: or

Challenge #5: Sites 2.0

Welcome to your fifth challenge!  We’re focusing on sites for a little bit longer.

To complete this challenge, you will need to add content to your site.


Because of the nature of this challenge, there are no specific guidelines that I can provide to you. You should feel free to add whatever content you think is best suited to your site. However, I do have a few tips to help make this process as stress-free as possible…

  • Focus on the genre! In our last challenge, you decided on a genre for your site. Consider what type of content best suits the purpose of your site.
  • Pace yourself! Most likely, you aren’t going to be able to include all of the content you want to add in these two weeks. Ideally, the site will become something that you continue to grow beyond this summer. That being said, don’t feel like you need to add a ton of content to the site right now. Instead, try to decide what you might want to add in order to make it presentable to potential visitors. What are some important details and information that you’d like to include? For example, I’m creating a site for a course that I will be teaching in the fall. Because it’s my first time teaching this class, I don’t expect (nor would I want) to quickly come up with an entire syllabus in two weeks. However, I do think that I can post a mini-blurb about the class, and a few reading excerpts that I know I want to teach.
  • Plan for the future! This tip is related to the last. You should reflect on how often you expect to update your site in the future. Whatever plan you make will likely also depend upon the genre of your site. In order to better insure that you will succeed in your expectations, you might want to make a rough plan for a schedule or frequency of updates/posts. This will help you to continue managing your site into the future.
  • Find inspiration! Not sure what to add to your site? Review some of the exemplary sites we shared for Challenge #4 or check out some of the sites being created by your fellow campers for inspiration. For example, as a result of looking through others’ sites, I decided that I’d like to add a page on my teaching experience to my personal site. This is something I might not have considered had I not looked at these other great examples.
  • Feel free to change! As you add content, you may notice that the theme of your site doesn’t seem to fit anymore. You can change your site’s theme (as well as its colors, header image, menu, etc.) as much as you want.

Share your completed challenge

Once you’ve completed this challenge, share a link to your site with the group, we want to see your brilliant creations! Tell the group about your challenges and discoveries, as well as your plans for your site.

If you’re on Twitter, please share that you’ve completed the fifth challenge using our #HCSummerCamper hashtag. You should also share your site on social media, especially now that it has content!

I look forward to hearing your experiences and checking out your sites!

If you have any questions or if you run into any issues as you complete this challenge, fear not! Your camp director is here to help. Reach out to the Humanities Commons Summer Camp through any of the following contacts:

Humanities Commons: Post your question/concern as a new discussion thread in our HC Group.

Twitter: @humcommons

Email: or

Challenge #4: Sites (7/9-22)

Welcome to your fourth challenge! Can you believe we’ve already come so far? This summer is going by quickly!

Our fourth challenge is all about Humanities Commons sites. In order to accomplish this challenge, you will need to create your own site on Humanities Commons. Since building a site is a pretty tall order, I’ve divided the full work of creating a site between this challenge and Challenge #5. For now, all you need to do is build the site and design its look. In the next challenge, you will add, or at least begin to add, the content.

So, for Challenge #4, you will need to:

  1. Decide what type of site you want to build.
  2. Create and claim your site’s domain.
  3. Design your new site’s appearance.

If you already have a Humanities Commons site, you can still participate! You can either create a new HC site (there is no limit to how many you can make) or take the time to spruce up your extant HC site.

What type of site should you build?

I was really surprised when I discovered the many different possible types of Humanities Commons sites. HC users have been really creative in their ability to design their HC sites to fit their present needs. Below, I’ve included a list of different types of HC sites I’ve come across along with a few examples of each. This, however, is nowhere near an exhaustive list. Basically, if you can dream it, you can build it. In deciding which type of site would best suit you at this present moment, consider what you’d like the site to accomplish. Are you currently working on a task that a website would make easier? Do you have a project, document, or event that you’d like to share with a broader audience? Would your upcoming course benefit from the addition of a digital meeting-space?

Non-Exhaustive List of HC Site Genres


  • Blog A blog can provide a space for you to keep track of your reading, work out future article or book ideas, keep track of an idea or a subject of interest over time, reflect on your teaching, and so much more. The benefits of a blog not only rest in their function as a journal, but they can also provide visitors with a greater sense of your passions and interests as an academic and/or educator. Since HC sites are connected to your HC profile, your professional information will be tied directly to the thoughts you post on your blog.


Personally, I am currently using my blog as a space for my comprehensive exam notes. This method enables me to tag each entry which is already helping me to make connections that I otherwise might have missed.  

I also recently noticed that HC sites are incredibly discoverable through my blog. After posting my notes for the 1824 American play, “Superstition, or the Fanatic Father,” I Googled the play’s title to see what I could find. To my delight, I found that my blog post came up as the second (!) search result, just under its Wikipedia page. Following this discovery, I received an email from a scholar whose work I greatly admire. She had found my blog (including my post about one of her articles) through a Google search and asked me to contribute a review to an upcoming journal issue she is editing. Who knew a blog would provide so many benefits!?

Example Blogs:


  • Personal Site You might want to create a personal site if you have more information and media that you’d like to share, but that doesn’t fit on your HC profile page. Users have created personal sites that include links to their publications, video and audio files of interviews and podcasts on which they were featured, and PDFs of syllabi, among others. You will notice that many of the personal sites on this list and the blogs from the list above include a mix of features from both genres. This is a great way to ensure that your blog is a part of your professional image.

Example Personal Sites:


  • Digital Journal So far, I’ve only come across one digital journal (The Sheffield Gender History Journal) on Humanities Commons, however, it seems really successful. This digital journal provides a space for graduate students and professors from the University of Sheffield to publish short articles for the public to access, as well as to build a sense of community across disciplines within their university.

Digital Journal Example:


  • Course Site If you’re teaching a course in the future, you may want to consider building a site for your course. Users who have created course sites on Humanities Commons have used it as a space for the syllabus, worksheets, and readings to be located. Because anyone with a WordPress account can comment on HC sites, it is also easy to have students comment and respond to posts on your course site. To learn more about how the American literature course site listed below was used, check out my interview with the site’s creator.

Example Course Sites:


  • Event Site Are you chairing a panel or organizing a scholarly event in the future? You can make a site for that! HC sites not only can help you to advertise your upcoming event, but it also can help you to archive the event afterwards. Users have used these sites to post CFPs for conferences, to share abstracts for panels, and to archive conference papers. Users have also used HC sites when hosting virtual and in-person workshops so that vital information, tools, and lessons can be posted for all workshop attendees and non-attendees to see, both during and after the workshop. This is a great way to make the discussions and ideas shared at your event accessible to more people.

(Yes, I did include this site as an example below!)

Example Event Sites:


  • Digital Project Site If you are working on or completed a digital project, HC sites are a great place to house it. Again, because HC sites are directly connected to your HC profile, this allows your digital work to become a more visible part of your professional identity. HC sites are also great to use for digital projects because multiple users can ‘own’ and work on it. HC sites allows for the use of a number of different plug-ins (we will cover these in our upcoming mini-challenge). The commentpress theme+plugin allows visitors of your site to comment at the paragraph level on a work in progress.

Example Digital Project Sites:


  • Digital Anthology If you teach or study literature that is old enough to be considered free-use, creating a digital anthology is a great option. One of the anthologies below was used in a course on early American literature in lieu of a traditional textbook. By creating an anthology for your class on a HC site, you free your students from the burden of paying for and carrying around a bulky printed anthology.

Digital Anthology Examples:


Claiming a Domain and Establishing Your Site on Humanities Commons

To create a Humanities Commons site, first click the “Sites” tab located on the left-hand menu below the HC logo.

Click the “Sites” option from the left-hand menu

Once on the Sites page, select the “Create a Site” link on the top right of the screen.

Choose “Create A Site.”

This should take you to a form which you must fill out in order to create your site. The very first section of this form asks you to create your site’s domain.

The “Create a Site” form

Designing Your Site’s Appearance

Once you’ve finished claiming a domain and establishing your site, you will be presented with a link to your site. Click on the link to get started.

Click on your site’s link.

Click “Customize” on the top left of your site’s homepage to begin designing your site’s look.

Click on “Customize”
The customization menu

The first thing you should do is decide on your site’s theme.  Click the “Change” button on the customization menu. This will allow you to see all twenty-seven themes that you can choose from. I recommend trying out a bunch of different themes before deciding on one.

The various theme options on HC sites

To decide on a theme for your site, click the “Live Preview” button next to the theme of your choice. This will give you the opportunity to view your site using this theme. It will also let you see the different options that each theme gives you. For example, some themes have a banner image, while others don’t. In deciding which theme works best for your site, consider your site’s purpose. How will its information be best organized? Who is the target audience for your site? Which theme works best to deliver information to this group? Should the site be more visual or more textual?

A theme preview

Once you’ve chosen a theme, make sure to click the “Publish” button at the top of the customization menu. This will save your changes and make them live for any visitors of your site. After that, go through the other customization options to further manage your site’s appearance. After any changes, make sure you hit “Publish” so that your work is saved.

To leave the customization window, click the “X” on the top left of the customization menu. This will bring you back to the normal view of your site. If you want to create multiple pages and a menu for your site, you will need to find the “Site Admin” link. This should be somewhere on your site’s homepage, usually on the right-hand side near the bottom. By clicking that, you will be taken to the administration page for your site. 

Choose “Site Admin” to continue working on your site’s look

Once there, click the “Pages” link on the left-hand menu, then click the “Add New” button at the top of the pages page. For now, just write the title of your page in the text box marked “Title,” then click “Publish.” Keep repeating these steps as many times as you need until you have all the pages you’d like for your site. For the course site I’m creating for this challenge, I built three pages: “Home,” “Readings,” and “Syllabus,” while my personal site has five: “Home,” “Blog,” “Conferences,” “Publications,” and “Contact.” Consider how best to organize your site based on the type of site you’re building, your audience, and personal preference.

Once you’ve created some pages, hover your pointer over the “Appearance” tab on the left-hand menu and select “Menus” from the options that appear. On the Menus page, you can select which pages you’d like to include on your site’s menu, as well as the order in which they appear. Once you’re satisfied with your menu, click “Save Menu.”

Choose “Menus” from the Appearance menu
Select the pages you’d like to include on your menu
My menu now appears just below my site’s header

Of course, there is a lot more you can do to make your site look perfect- I’m sure you noticed how many buttons and menus there are on the customization and administration pages! For this post, I just wanted to highlight a few basic actions you can take to make your site look clean, professional, and organized. Feel free to play around and explore the many other tools and options available to you. If you discover anything really neat, please share it with the group!

Share your completed challenge

Once you’ve completed this challenge, share a link to your site with the group, we want to see your brilliant creations! Tell the group about your challenges and discoveries, as well as your plans for your newly created (or recently updated) site.

If you’re on Twitter, please share that you’ve completed the fourth challenge using our #HCSummerCamper hashtag. You should also share your site on social media!

I look forward to hearing your experiences and checking out your new sites!

If you have any questions or if you run into any issues as you complete this challenge, fear not! Your camp director is here to help. Reach out to the Humanities Commons Summer Camp through any of the following contacts:

Humanities Commons: Post your question/concern as a new discussion thread in our HC Group.

Twitter: @humcommons

Email: or


Challenge #3: CORE (6/25-7/8)

Hello, campers! Welcome to Challenge #3!

This challenge will help you to use our CORE Repository to its fullest potential. This will allow you to not only locate and download open access scholarly work, but it will also help you to increase your own readership.

To complete our CORE challenge you must:

  1. Find and download 1-3 CORE deposits that are relevant to your academic interests.
  2. Upload at least one scholarly work of your own and share it with the HC Summer Camp group.

The purpose behind this challenge is twofold. First, we hope that a greater awareness of the open access materials available in the CORE Repository will help you to locate helpful documents as you design your courses, build projects, and complete research in the future. Second, by uploading your work to CORE, you will increase your readership, strengthen your digital presence, help build our open access repository, and establish a direct connection between your HC profile and your work.


Locating Relevant CORE Deposits

There are multiple methods of searching through CORE deposits; for now, let’s use the most direct method. Click on the “CORE Repository” tab located on the left-hand column of the homescreen, directly below the Humanities Commons logo.

The CORE Repository tab


Once on the CORE Repository page, click the green button labeled “Find Open Access Materials,” located near the top right of your screen. This will take you to a searchable list of the entire CORE Repository. This page allows you to search through the repository using a number of different methods.


The “Find Open Access Materials” button is seen on the right of the screen


If you are searching for scholarly work that focus on a specific subject, select which fields you’d like to search using the appropriate dropdown menu and type in your search word into the text box. Click the magnifying glass, and you should see a list of CORE deposits that match your search specifications.

If you are looking for a specific type of scholarly work (ie: article, syllabus, book chapter, dissertation, podcast episode, etc.), use the filter options to the right of the page by clicking on the desired filters. For example, if I wanted to find syllabi for digital humanities courses, I would first click on the “Syllabus” link located under “Item Type” in the search filter list (you’ll have to select “More” a few times before you see this link), select “Subject” from the “Fields” menu, then type “Digital Humanities” into the search text box before clicking the magnifying glass.  This search yields a list of digital humanities syllabi.

The three types of filters you can use to search the CORE Repository. In my example, I used the “Item Type” filter and found “Syllabus” by clicking on “more>>” a few times.


The “Syllabus” item type filter link


In my example, I choose “Subject” for my search field because I want to find any syllabus that deals with digital humanities as its subject.


Finally, I typed “Digital Humanities” into the text box and clicked the magnifying glass to activate the search.


To find more information about a document, or to download it, users only need to click on the name of the document, which brings them to the document’s page. These pages typically contain an abstract of the work, a link to the author’s Humanities Commons profile, and other citational information, however this varies based on the personal preferences of the author. In order to download the document, go to the bottom of the page. There you will find a green button marked “Download.” You can also see how many times a document has been downloaded by using the counter located just below the Download button.

An example of a CORE deposit page. Notice the “Download” and “View in Browser” options as well as the download-counter at the bottom of the page.

Uploading Work to CORE


What should I upload to CORE?

Before uploading your work to the CORE Repository, you first need to determine what you are able and willing to upload. As you decide, consider the work you have ready to share. This work could be something more traditional like a published article, seminar paper, conference paper, book chapter, or dissertation, or it could be considered gray literature, like a podcast episode, data set, video essay, or syllabus. In fact, this isn’t even a complete list of the various types of scholarly work we welcome into the CORE Repository. Basically, if you consider the work to be academic, we will most likely accept it into the repository.

If the work that you want to upload to CORE has already been published, you’ll need to make sure that you are allowed to share it as an open-access document. Check the author’s agreement you signed, to see if you retained copyright, or, if not, see if the publisher allows you to share a version of the article. You can also use SHERPA/RoMEO to check a journal’s open access and self-archiving policies (this link is also available on the CORE upload form).

Librarians, especially scholarly communications librarians, are another great resource to help you determine the sharing rights of your published document. Additionally, there is always the possibility of negotiating from the standard agreement to get more rights granted, which a scholarly communications librarian could help you achieve.


Why should I upload my work to CORE?  

There are a number of excellent reasons to upload work to CORE:

  1. By uploading your work to CORE, you have guaranteed that it is archived and attributed to you.
  2. Once uploaded to CORE, your work is quickly available to a large audience. Humanities Commons allows others to download documents from the CORE Repository without requiring them to register for the Commons or provide any of their personal information.
  3. CORE deposits are easily discoverable because they are indexed by Google, Google Scholar, SHARE, Altmetric (Spoiler alert: Altmetric is the star of our next mini-challenge), and BASE-OA. Humanities Commons also allows you to share your uploads with specific groups so that the users who are most likely to read your work are alerted to it.
  4. Humanities Commons assigns a permanent identifier known as a DOI to each CORE deposit. DOIs provide persistant, citable metadata for scholarly and creative works, including gray literature such as blog posts, syllabi, data sets, presentations, and video/audio files. This guarantees attribution to creators of CORE content.


How do I upload my work to CORE?

Once you’ve decided upon a document to upload to CORE, return to the CORE page and select the “Upload Your Work” button near the top left of the page. This will take you to the New CORE Deposit form. Simply upload your document and add appropriate information to the text boxes and menus.  Keep in mind that the only required fields are the ones marked with an asterisk (*).

Most of this form is pretty self-explanatory, however, there are a few areas of the form that may be helpful to explain further here.

At the very bottom of the form, it asks you to select which Creative Commons License you’d like to apply to your CORE upload. This is important because these licenses determine what others are allowed to do with your work and whether or not you must be attributed when your work is used.  This page provides useful explanations for each Creative License.

Also at the bottom of the form is a question asking you whether or not you’d like to embargo your deposit. Some publications require you to wait a certain length of time before making your work available as open access material.  If you choose to embargo a document, you’ll select the length of time after which the upload should become available. You can check SHERPA/RoMEO to determine whether your publisher requires you to embargo the document. Again, a scholarly communications librarian may also be able to help you with this.


How do I share this document with the HC Summer Camp group?

The New CORE Deposit form allows you to share your deposit with up to five groups. You will notice that you must be a member of the group in order to select it for this section of the form. Your deposit will appear in the CORE section of each of the groups you’ve chosen. For this challenge, make sure to share your work with the HC Summer Camp group!

On the new deposit form, you can choose up to five groups with which to share your upload.

Once you’ve completed the form, click the green “Deposit” button at the bottom of the form.

Share your completed challenge

Once you’ve completed this challenge, let our group know your challenges and discoveries. Did you learn anything through this challenge? Which CORE deposits did you find and download? How did you find them?  Did you come across any challenges or difficulties? Did you share your CORE deposit with the group? If so, what is it? How did you choose what to upload for this challenge?

If you’re on Twitter, please share that you’ve completed the third challenge using our #HCSummerCamper hashtag. You should also share your upload on social media!

I look forward to hearing your experiences and checking out your CORE deposits!

If you have any questions or if you run into any issues as you complete this challenge, fear not! Your camp director is here to help. Reach out to the Humanities Commons Summer Camp through any of the following contacts:

Humanities Commons: Post your question/concern as a new discussion thread in our HC Group.

Twitter: @humcommons

Email: or


Challenge #2: Networking (6/11-24)

Hello, campers! Welcome to Challenge #2!

This challenge is all about using Humanities Commons to build up your network. In order to do this, we are going to use three different Commons features: homepage recommendations, academic interests, and groups.

In order to complete our networking challenge, you must:

  1. Follow three or more users who share your academic interests.
  2. Join a group (this one doesn’t count!).
  3. Start a new discussion topic or add to a preexisting group discussion. You can choose to complete this challenge through our Summer Camp group, if you’d like.

The purpose behind this challenge is to encourage you to take advantage of the massive networking potential of Humanities Commons. Unlike conferences which typically only happen once a year, the Commons provides you with the possibility to connect with like-minded academics from around the world any day of the year. By following other users and joining (and actively participating in) Commons groups, you can create a much larger network for yourself. This can be especially handy when you’re putting together an edited volume or panel, or if you’re looking for research guidance or feedback. Networking through the Commons can also be a great way to create more awareness of your own work within your field.

In order to complete the first aspect of this challenge (to find and follow three users that share your academic interests), we encourage you to try out the homepage recommendations and the academic interests listed on your profile page.

Homepage Recommendations

You can find a list of recommended users, groups, and scholarship on the Humanities Commons homepage. This list is curated just for you based on the academic interests you’ve chosen to list on your profile. So, if you haven’t completely updated your academic interests, you should do that before completing this challenge (check out our first challenge for guidance). Looking through the recommended users, you will notice that under each recommended user is the academic interest(s) that they share with you. You can click the “View” button next to their name in order to visit their profile or the “Follow” button to begin following them.

The “Recommended for You” section, located on the home page.

In order to decide which users you’d like to follow, you may want to consider what it means to follow someone on Humanities Commons. Basically, once you’ve decided to follow a user, you will see their updates on your activity stream. To access your stream, click “News Feed,” located at the top left of your screen, just under the Humanities Commons logo. Your activity stream is a great way to keep up to date with all members of the Commons, only the users you’ve followed, and the groups you’ve joined by clicking the correct tab. As you decide upon which users to follow, choose the users whose work and Commons activity are genuinely interesting to you.

The News Feed page.

Academic Interests

A second way to locate users that have similar research interests to you is to use the academic interests listed on your profile page. While you may have multiple different interests, perhaps you only want to follow users who share one key interest with you. Maybe you’re currently writing a dissertation, article, or book on 19th-century Caribbean literature and you want to find a user who shares the same interest and who uploads their work to CORE. Simply click on the “19th-century Caribbean literature” hyperlink in the Academic Interests list on your profile. This will take you to a list of all the users who have listed this interest. Click through their profiles to find the users who you would like to follow.


To complete the last two parts of the challenge (to join a group other than our summer camp group and to start a new discussion thread or add to a pre-existing one), you must first find a group that you are interested in. One possible method of locating groups is through the same homepage recommendation list we used to find users. To find groups instead, just click the “Groups” tab.

Another way to find relevant groups for you is to click on the “Groups” link on the left-hand side of your screen. This will take you to the Groups page, where you can either use the search feature or you can scroll through the list of “All Groups.”

Once you’ve found a group you like, click the “Join Group” button. If you haven’t set a default email setting to receive emails from groups, you will automatically be set to receive no emails from groups as you join them. If you want to receive emailed updates, or if you’d like the ability to reply to the group via email, you should take the time right away to set your email settings for this group. You can update your email setting for a specific group by clicking on the “change” link beside your email setting beneath the header, or by visiting the group directory. On the Groups page, select “My Groups.” To the right of each of your groups, you will see the option to “Leave Group.” Beneath this, you should see a link to “change” your email settings. Click this link to see a list of your options: No Email, Weekly Summary, Daily Digest, New Topics, and All Email. Choose the option that works best for you.

The various group email setting options.

To start a new discussion thread in a group, go to the group’s page, click “Discussion,” and then select “Start a New Thread.” Feel free to complete this challenge in the Summer Camp’s group page. It’s helpful to consider what sort of post might generate conversation. Here are a few topic ideas to help you get started:

  • You could share a relevant text you recently read that you loved and/or found helpful. Ask others what texts they’ve recently discovered.
  • Ask the group for the three texts they believe every scholar in the field should read. Share your own three selections as well.
  • Do you have a question related to the group’s focus that’s been bugging you? Ask away!
  • Share a recent victory you’ve accomplished and encourage others to share their own.
  • Share a relevant classroom activity that worked really well for you. Ask others to do the same.
  • If it’s a new group with little discussion, maybe start an introduction post. Ask the group to share their name, institution/workplace, designation, academic interests, current research, his or her reason(s) for joining the group, and/or a fun fact. Share your own introduction as well!

If you’d prefer instead to add a comment to a pre-existing discussion, you must also go to the Discussions page for your group. Once there, click on a topic that interests you and read the posts and comments that have already been posted. To add your own comment, scroll to the bottom of the page, where you should find a text box in which you can type up your reply. Once you’re satisfied with your response, click “Submit.”

Regardless of whether you started a new discussion or added a comment, try to keep up with whatever conversation it generates. Respond to the users who engage with your post and continue adding new topics and responses to the group. If you notice that there is a need for a new group, feel free to create your own.

Share your completed challenge

Once you’ve completed all three components of this challenge, let our group know your accomplishments, challenges, and discoveries. Did you learn anything through this challenge? Is there anything that you’re excited about as a result of following users and/or joining and engaging with groups? Did you come across any challenges or difficulties? Are there any groups that we should know about?

If you’re on Twitter, please share that you’ve completed the second challenge using our #HCSummerCamper hashtag.

I look forward to hearing all about your experiences as you complete this challenge!

If you have any questions or if you run into any issues as you complete this challenge, fear not! Your camp director is here to help. Reach out to the Humanities Commons Summer Camp through any of the following contacts:

Humanities Commons: Post your question/concern as a new discussion thread in our HC Group.

Twitter: @humcommons

Email: or

Challenge #1: Profiles (5/29-6/9)

Attention campers!


Welcome to the first challenge of the 2018 Humanities Commons Summer Camp!


You have from today (May 29th) until Sunday, June 9th to complete this challenge. If you finish early or if you’re looking for something more advanced, keep an eye out for our bonus challenge!



The theme for our first challenge is profiles. In order to complete this challenge, you will need to either fill out your profile on Humanities Commons or update and add to your already established profile. Try to fill out the profile form as completely as possible. The more information you provide, the greater your ability will be to connect with other users and materials on Humanities Commons.


Are you a member of one of our society partners’ commons (e.g. CAA Commons)?  Don’t worry- your profile is the same across platforms.


Ready to begin whipping your profile into shape? After you’ve created an account on Humanities Commons, join me and we’ll move through each part of the profile form together.



Before jumping into each step of the profile form, take a moment to consider what central impression (Dedicated educator! Expert in medieval food studies! Artist who works with textiles!) you’d like people to come away with after visiting your profile. Have this central impression guide you as you choose what to include in your profile.


    1. Find the form to edit your profile: Once you have logged in to Humanities Commons, you’ll see an icon in the top right corner on every Commons page. Click on the icon to see your profile.  To edit and add information to your profile, click “Edit” on the rights side of the screen.
    2. Add information to your profile: Your profile is the central source for other users to find information about you on Humanities Commons. It’s important that you take the time to fill it out as completely and accurately as possible. Once this challenge is complete, make sure that you continue to update your information.



So… what kind of information can you include?


Social Media Handles: On the left-hand side of the form, just below your name and institution information, there is a section that allows you to include your social media handles and URLs. Including this information is a great way to connect your various digital identities and to help others find you on different platforms. You may also want to include a link to your Humanities Commons profile on the bio pages of your other social media accounts. Remember to be aware of the central impression you’d like to share with the people who visit your profile. Do you want to keep your personal social media presence separate from your professional social media presence, or do you want them connected?  Make sure you include only the social media handles that help to create your desired central impression. For example, if you really only use Facebook to connect with your friends from high school, it may not make sense to include it here. However, if you use it to showcase your textile art, you may want to include your Facebook handle on your Humanities Commons profile page.


Academic Interests: Just below the social media account section is the “Academic Interests” area of your profile. Just type in the topics and theories you research to complete this section. Including your academic interests is important here not only because it lets other users know what you research, but it helps you to find other like-minded users, as well as groups and CORE uploads that connect to your interests. Each academic interest appears as a link that takes you to a list of other members who have listed that interest.


The “Recommended for You” feature (located on the front page of Humanities Commons) recommends members, groups, and scholarship based on academic interests you list in your profile. In order to receive accurate and helpful recommendations, make sure that this section of your profile is complete!


The “About” Section: At the top right of your profile is the about section. Simply type in a few sentences introducing yourself. You might want to consider what information is not provided elsewhere in the profile. Consider the story that you want your profile to tell its visitors. What additional facts about yourself do you want to share? Some Humanities Commons users include a brief summary of their work, along with some fun facts about themselves.


Education, Publications, Projects, Upcoming Conferences, and Memberships: Along with the “About” section, there are five other open text spaces on your profile. As you fill these out, consider how you’d like your information to appear. For example, maybe you’d like to organize your publications using bullet points. You might also want to incorporate hyperlinks to the universities you’ve attended, the institutions you’ve joined, and/or your projects, publications, and conferences. Listing your upcoming conferences might be particularly helpful to graduate students and early career academics. By listing these on your profile, other users who are also attending can find you beforehand.


CV: You may also upload a document containing your CV to your profile. This will allow visitors to easily download and view your CV.


Automatically Filled Sections: The Commons Groups, Commons Sites, Work Shared in CORE, and Commons Activity fields will automatically fill in by Commons as you continue to interact with the network. For now, don’t worry about these areas. They will fill in as you continue to complete the challenges this summer!


Don’t forget to click the Save Changes button at the bottom of your page before moving on to the next steps!


Profile Picture: Click the Change Profile Photo link at the top right of your profile page. You will then be asked to upload and crop your desired avatar. Your profile photo should represent you as it will be connected to your activity across the Commons. Many people choose to use a clear image of their face for their profile photo for this reason. However, if for any reason you don’t want to use a personal photo, instead consider another image that you want connected with your digital presence. In either case, it can be helpful to use the same image across social media platforms. If you’re participating in multiple platforms with overlapping members, using the same image can help people to connect your different accounts.


Cover Image: Click the Change Cover Image link at the top right of your profile page. You will then be asked to upload and crop your desired cover image. The cover image is the banner that appears across the top of your profile. While it is primarily decorative, you should also consider how to use the cover image to give your visitors a better sense of the central impression you are working to create.


3. Share your completed challenge: Once you’ve filled out your profile as much as you’d like, share your work with the group using the discussion thread for this week. If you’re on Twitter, please share your completed work using the #HCSummerCamper hashtag. Check out other campers’ work as you complete this challenge for inspiration!



I look forward to seeing all of your wonderful Humanities Commons profiles!


If you have any questions or if you run into any issues as you complete this challenge, fear not! Your camp director is here to help. Reach out to the Humanities Commons Summer Camp through any of the following contacts:


Humanities Commons: Post your question/concern as a new discussion thread in our HC Group.

Twitter: @humcommons

Email: or