Assignments

Students will complete five bi-weekly assignments. These will cumulatively build up to the final project to be presented at the last class meeting in lieu of a final exam.

These assignments are intended to be creative exercises. They will be presented in class in order to facilitate ongoing feedback from peers and instructors as the project progresses through various stages. Multimedia is encouraged, and presentations can include video, images, sound, text. This is an exercise in “Transmedia Modes of Argumentation” (see D_H, pp. 10 – 12).

The assignments build on one another to result in a final project in which students will design and implement a project prototype using one (or more) of the many methodologies that fall under the broad umbrella of Digital History. Projects will be graded on the thoughtfulness of the research, feasibility of the project plan, rigor of data management, depth of engagement with critical issues in DH, and quality of presentation.

Assignment #1: Digital archives and literature review. (due Jan.26)

To be presented during class Jan 26. Upload to Canvas before class. Assignments should contain 500-750 words of text in addition to multimedia content such as images, videos, sound (multimedia is encouraged!) Be prepared to give a 10 minute presentation on this assignment.

  • Select a digital archive you find interesting. 
  • How is the data structured and presented? 
  • What kinds of digital research questions does it invite? 
  • What challenges or preparation might be necessary in order to fully engage with this archive through digital methods? 
  • Cite at least 3 examples of DH projects which have worked with similar archives and questions.
  • Identify at least 3 Digital Humanities articles which address these issues.

Assignment #2: Make a research and data management plan (due Feb. 4).

To be presented during class Feb.4. Upload to Canvas before class.

  • Select a dataset from your archive, and define the scope of your investigation.
  • Define research goals. What kind of questions are you interested in asking based on this data?
  • Create a data management plan for how you will structure the data.
  • How will the data need to be cleaned and/or processed?
  • How will you document your process, decisions, and sources?
  • Is there anything missing from the dataset, and how will you address this?
  • How will you apply best practices to curate your data?

Assignment #3: Project design iterations (due Feb.18)

To be presented during class Feb.18. Upload to Canvas before class.

  • Quickly sketch or wireframe three versions of your final project. The purpose of this is to identify alternative strategies for achieving your research goal and to choose the best option.
  • The platform for the final project is a WordPress site, so make sure your designs fit the constraints of that platform. Check the specifications of Assignment #5 to get an idea of what should be included.
  • In order to generate different ideas, you might revisit the four elements of a DH project: assets, structure, services, and display. Or imagine different audiences and how your project might be designed to reach those audiences.
  • For each version, list specifications. What software will you use? Is the software open-source or is a license needed?
  • What expertise is necessary and how will it be accessed or acquired? List individuals you would reach out to or resources you would access in order to achieve this.
  • Which of the three versions do you like the most, or how might you combine aspects of the different designs? Is it realistic to achieve? What modifications are necessary? At this point you should start to have a clear idea of what the final project will look like and what you need to do to get there.

Assignment #4: Building a prototype (due Mar.4)

 To be presented during class Mar.4.

  • Based on your research plan from Assignment #2, the project design from Assignment #3, and the specifications for Assignment #5, begin to implement a project prototype. This should be done on the WordPress platform. In other words this could be considered a “rough draft” of your final project.
  • Begin to get the elements of your projects in place on the website.
  • Revisit the scope of your project prototype and consider what is feasible to achieve by the final presentation. Recalibrate your plan if necessary.
  • Remember to document your progress and decisions. Use this to prepare an methodological essay for the final website (see Assignment #5).
  • Focus on getting a working prototype as proof of concept, even if it uses a small portion of your dataset.

Assignment #5 (Final Project): Presenting your work (due Mar 18).

To be presented during class Mar 18. Upload to Canvas before class.

  • Prepare a website that showcases your work. The format of the website is flexible, but should include the following content:
    • Introduction (summary of the project and its findings)
    • Prototype(s): (visualizations, models, maps, exhibits, video demos*…)
      • *if you want to show dynamic content but full interactivity is out of reach, a video demo, screen recording, or GIF can be useful
    • Project narrative (including, not exhaustive:)
      • What was your research goal?
      • How did the use of digital media provide unique insights?
      • What have you learned from this exercise?
      • What new questions does it raise?
      • Did it turn out the way you expected, of not, why?
      • What would you do differently if you could start over?
      • How would you continue to develop this project if you had another year to work on it?
    • Methodological essay (including, not exhaustive:)
      • Where is your data from?
      • How did the source material shape your inquiry?
      • What technology did you use and why?
      • Give details about your data management plan.
      • Give details about your decision-making process.
      • Cite DH projects and articles.
    • Acknowledgements