HIS 218: Introduction to Digital History
Professor Charles Evans
syllabus/home page

Contact information

E-mail: cevans@nvcc.edu or charles.t.evans@gmail.com
Office phone: 703.948.7701
My home page: www.nvcc.edu/home/cevans/
My history projects: www.ctevans.net/
ELI telephone: 703.323.3347 (1.888.435.6822)

Introduction

In this course, we will examine some of the major developments in the practice of history in the past decade or so, and study the methods, theories and practices of digital history. There are current and emerging digital technologies that are changing the time-honored methods of doing history, and those are what we will be studying. Some topics and issues that will be look at include: (1) different kinds of digital expression used by historians, (2) the impact of social media and web 2.0 tools on the discipline of history, (3) some basic website creation and design issues, (4) teaching and learning issues regarding digital tools, and (5) conceptual issues regarding the use of historical artifacts. There are a number of assignments in the course, including a student project centered on the creation of a digital history resource using primary source materials. More formally, I might say that:

This course will explore the development of the field of digital history and examine the impact of digital media on the research, writing, teaching and presentation of history.  It also introduces students to issues in digital history such as copyright, intellectual property, information abundance, and how the web has changed the relationship between historians and their audience.  Students will also learn how digital tools and resources are enabling new methods of historical analysis and presentation.

Course general purpose

This course will explore the development of the field of digital history and examine the impact of digital media on the research, writing, teaching and presentation of history. It also introduces students to issues in digital history such as copyright, intellectual property, information abundance, and how the web has changed the relationship between historians and their audience. Students will also learn how digital tools and resources are enabling new methods of historical analysis and presentation.

Course objectives

Upon completing the course, the student will be able to:

Course prerequisites and expectations

Course policies, procedures and critical course deadlines

Proviso about the course and permanence in the digital world

Things change fast in the digital world, and this syllabus can change pretty quickly too. I try and keep up with software and tools as they appear, but sometimes I miss things. Please send me any changes/additions that you think would be useful to the course topics and schedule.

Textbook

Digital History: A Guide to Gathering, Preserving, and, Presenting the Past on the Web, by Dan Cohen and Roy Rosenzweig. Although this "text" was written quite a few years ago, Roy was one of the earliest pioneers in the field of digital history. Way back in 1994, his unique, hypertext history "textbook," Who Built America, appeared (coauthored by Stephen Brier and Joshua Brown). This was an innovative attempt to combine text, video, audio and images in a digital, hypertext format. Roy was also the founder of the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University. There are some alternative textbooks that we will take a look at in the course.

Course videos

You can find the videos for the course units on ItunesU for NVCC (look for HIS 295) or on YouTube. These can also change as I add more materials or alter assignments.

Required course assignments

Grading

Your final course grade is based on the following point scale:

IMPORTANT: To earn a grade of A, B, C or D n the course, you must complete all required assignments and the two exams and earn the required number of points in the course.

Using blackboard, submitting assignments and contacting your instructor

Blackboard is used to support the course. You must submit all of your assignments and extra credit through Blackboard according to the Submitting Assignments and Using Email in Your ELI History Course instructions.  (No more than one submission per calendar day will be accepted.) Feedback on your work will be posted to the Blackboard gradebook, usually within 24-48 hours. When you have any questions about the course or your assignments, contact your instructor by email using your student email account.

Extra credit

Late work

There are specific assignment deadlines in this course, and these are listed on the course schedule. You may submit any of the course required assignments, or the midterm exam, late, but the maximum point value will then be reduced by one-half. You may not take a required final exam late.

Accommodation

Any student with a documented disability needing academic adjustments or accommodation is encouraged to contact a counselor for disability services. Contact information can be found online on the college web page.  For additional information, please contact an ELI counselor at elicounselors@nvcc.edu or 703.323.2425.  All information is kept confidential. 

Plagiarism, cheating and student conduct

Please make sure that you read the course policy on plagiarism and cheating. You are expected to abide by the student conduct provisions of the college's student handbook, and it is expected that you will be courteous in all conversations and assignments in this course.

Tentative schedule

For spring 2017, these are the different schedule versions available:

For fall 2016, these are the different schedule versions available:

For summer 2016, this is the class schedule:

Each week of your schedule will list the course units and assignments that you are required to complete that week. Each course unit will list what you are required to read and submit for that unit. Each unit will also usually have some extra material that you may look at and some possible extra credit work that you can complete. Please make sure that you check out all the linked information for each course unit.

You are expected to make regular and steady progress completing your assignments and exams on time.  It is OK if you wish to work at a faster pace than the course schedule. Please check your Blackboard gradebook for your grades.  Once you begin this course, it is your responsibility to withdraw.  If you do not withdraw and if you do not finish your course assignments, then you will receive a grade based upon the work that you have submitted. Usually that is an "F."