tl;dr

Precludes additional credit for HIST 3907 Section “B” offered in winter 2015 and HIST 3907 Section “O” offered in winter 2016.

Each week, you do exercises designed to teach you the steps of working with digital data in history, and you read articles, examine projects, and study examples of digital history in the wild. You annotate these readings etc, and you keep a ‘process notes’ and a blog/notebook on the exercises. (I sometimes call the ‘process notes’ the ‘fail log’ because it is a log of everything you’ve tried, the commands you’ve typed, the places you went looking for answers).

Each week you distill what you’ve done, the challenges you’ve faced or have yet to surmount into your blog. (I sometimes call this the ‘notebook’). These are like letters to your future self in that, in digital history, you are constantly trying to figure out why ‘past you’ made the decisions she made, or where she put the data she wrangled. It makes life so much easier when these posts are thoughtfully written. Each week, you chat with each other in our social space, support each other by reading each other’s notebooks and process notes and leaving annotations there, and you help each other reach further - you build community.

At the end of each week, you submit the links to your fail log entries, and your notebook. Your annotations will be automatically aggregated onto a page on your blog (see getting started) and I will look for those as well.

I will give you your own domain space (webspace) with which you may do as you please: this will be where you set up and host your fail log (process notes), blog (lab notebook), and other work. Treat this as a serious space on the internet that advertises your abilities as a historian.

I will give you datasets which you will explore/analyze with the tools you have learned. This analysis will be written up and made available on the open web as a final project. If your computer is not that powerful or otherwise less-than-optimal, I also have a virtual computing environment which you can use through your browser.

You are encouraged to collaborate with one another (community!), but make sure you acknowledge all and any collaboration. The social space for our course will be hosted on Zulip at https://hist3814o.zulipchat.com. Versions of Zulip are available for Android and iOS devices. (If you’ve used Slack, you’ll get the hang of Zulip. The advantage: open source non-commercial). All necessary logins, passwords, and other getting-started parphernalia will be provided to you in the first week of class.

Grading is based on the satisfactory completion of all course work, and your degree of engagement with our digital history community. Grading takes into account your starting point versus your finishing point. That is to say, I take into account your progression as a digital historian. Thus, the actual work that constitutes an ‘A’ for one student could look quite different for another student. You are thus in control of your own destiny in the course. You do not need to be techy. That will come.

  • Coursework: 65%
  • Final Project: 20%
  • Community: 15%

  • All work indicated in each section of the workbook under ‘What you need to do each week’ has to be completed.
  • All work has to be completed to a satisfactory level, per the criteria below.

Productive ‘Failure’

The talk below was given to a group of 30 professional academics, archaeologists, and heritage professionals. It will give you a good idea of what I am like, and where I am coming from in terms of my expectations for digital work from students. Fast forward to 4.06m to start. As anyone who has taken HIST3812 could tell you, I really value productive failure. In the talk below, I explain what this means. You really should take the time to watch this talk.

Late Work

Students should contact me if they are unable to complete coursework due to illness or other exigency. Otherwise: late work will not be graded.

NOW READ ON…