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 college home page: www.ctevans.net/College.html
My history projects: www.ctevans.net/
NOVA Online 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.

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 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 drop, withdrawal and incomplete policies

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.

Course videos

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

Course grading

Course grades are based on the following point scale:

Make sure that you check the very IMPORTANT Explanation of Assignments and Grading, which has information about grading in the course. There are Special Course Grading Requirements that you must meet to successfully pass the course.

Tentative schedule

For fall 2018, this is the class schedule:

For summer 2019, this is the class schedule:

For spring 2019, this is the class schedule:

Submitting assignments

You must submit all of your assignments and extra credit through Canvas. See the Submitting Assignments in Your NOVA Online History Course instructions.  (No more than one item per calendar day will be accepted.) Feedback on your work will be posted to the Canvas gradebook, usually within 24-48 hours. You should follow the same directions if you are resubmitting an assignment.

When you have any questions about the course or your assignments or when you want to send a draft of an assignment for informal feedback, please contact your instructor by email using your student email account.

Using Canvas

Canvas is used to support the course.

Contacting your instructor

Find your instructor's name and contact information at the top of this page and also when you log into your course on Canvas. If you have any communication problems, please contact me, cevans@nvcc.edu.

Plagiarism, cheating and student conduct

NOVA does not tolerate academic dishonesty. See the information on the Canvas course syllabus (also known as the college's Academic Integrity Policy).

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.

Blue Separator Bar

Writing in the course

Proper grammar, spelling and style are an inherent part of each assignment in this course, and please check Charlie's History Writing Center for more information about specific writing style expectations. (You can also watch the short YouTube video about the center.)