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Class 1 Notes

Page history last edited by Alan Liu 9 years, 2 months ago



1. Introduction to Course


  • Concept of the course:
    • This is a course on literature and the "digital humanities."
    • The digital humanities ("DH") is an important new field of the humanities. 
      • DH uses digital and networked information technology to study humanities subjects such as literature, history, art, etc.
      • DH uses information technology to study the humanities in new ways not previously possible.
      • But DH also makes information technology itself an object of study from a humanities perspective.
      • DH is both theoretical and practical ("yack" and "hack").
      • DH links the contemporary study of literature, history, art, etc., with scientific and social-science disciplines who share an interest in information technology and often use the same kinds of digital tools.
    • Example of DH: using the Google Books Ngram Viewer.

  • Structure of the course:
    • First 8 classes introduce some of the main principles, topics, and tools of digital humanities (with special focus on its application to literature).  This is the "yack" part of the course.
    • The rest of the course is designed in the format of what a scientist would call a "lab" and an artist would call a "studio." Students form project teams and work in class in workshop mode with each other and the instructor to create by the end of the quarter a digital project about literature.
      • Students form teams.
      • The teams choose a work of literature and present an idea about how to treat it using digital tools in a way that will add to our understanding or appreciation of the work. (Teams can draw on a list of online, downloadable, and usually free digital tools kept by the instructor.  Tech support will be available.)
      • By the end of the quarter, teams are responsible for presenting a working demo or partial version of their project concept (it doesn't have to be fully polished).
      • Team projects count for 50% of a student's final grade.
    • Besides the team projects, students have solo assignments, which together add up to the other 50% of their final grade:
      • Class Bios
      • Practicums
      • Annotated Bibliography of resources related to their team project
      • Research Report of 4 pages expanding on one of their annotated bibliography assignment.
      • Final Essay of 8 pages providing an understanding of a student's team project.

  • Assignment for Class 2:

Course "practicums" are hands-on, small-scale exercises that ask students to experiment at a beginner's level with the tools of the digital humanities.  Each practicum should be completed before class, resulting in a "souvenir" of the exercise left on the Student Work site. (General instructions for practicums)


2. Course Web Site


3. Enrollment Business


  • Attendance check against list of registered students.
  • Attendance check against list of students on wait list.
  • Sign-up sheet for other students wishing to crash the course.
  • Instructor policy on enrollment:
    •  To hold a place in the course, students need to come to all 3 of the first classes.
    • The instructor will finalize enrollment, including giving out "add codes" in the third class.
    • In the instructor's experience, people on the wait list or who are crashing who really want to take the course can usually get in by the third class as it becomes clearer who is really in the the course.  That is not a guarantee, but a strong probability.


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