Digital History Project

So, my project is not as groovy as a lot of the ones I heard about today. It is specifically teaching-oriented. I want to create a home site for my Digital History/Humanities course, with readings, schedule, etc. It’s not glamorous, but it does have a degree of urgency, since I am introducing this course starting August 26. I have seen other course set-ups using Wikidot and I am drawn to the relative simplicity and elegance of the WordPress format. I used the .com version for a course blog last semester, but did not explore all the capabilities. I have been impressed by the site for this institute, and would like to “borrow” from it for a model for my course site. I hate to be derivative, but I figure that at least it’s a starting point.

I have envisioned this course as an introduction to DH (both for the larger humanities and for history specifically) for undergraduates,  with some readings on definitions, concepts, and methods; exploration of DH sites; teaching some very basic tools. I have been thinking about using HistoryPin to begin a project to create a historical walking tour of the towns of Dunkirk & Fredonia. I want to have a community engagement element in the course and I already have relationships with the local history professionals through internships and class projects. This project (or the HistoryPin element)  is subject to change, depending on what catches my eye in this institute.

I liked the discussion today about “threshold concepts” that transform our thinking. One thing I’d like to do with this course is to blow up my students’ notions of digital tech, to move them beyond the social aspects into the new possibilities created when we “mash-up” history and technology. I was struck also by a point made in the discussion in the JAH forum about teaching graduate students DH: You have to be careful that your course is not just about “playing with technology.” You must also get them to think about how DH changes history. I know that I’ll be doing a lot of reflecting on just that  during this two weeks. And I want to be sure that I incorporate this into my course; I’m thinking that one assignment will be to have them explore a DH site/project and consider how it challenges their understanding of history and how it differs from the ways that they have traditionally encountered and understood history.

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