Using Digital Humanities in the Classroom Digital Companion

Using Digital Humanities in the Classroom: An FAQ

This Web Companion is designed to supplement the second edition of Using Digital Humanities in the Classroom: A Practical Introduction for Teachers, Lecturers, and Students. Use the search bar or the filter buttons below to find material related to find answers to any questions you might have about beginning your digital pedagogy journey.

To access the Web Companion to the first edition of this book, click here.

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What are the digital humanities?

Categories That Contain This Post:
  • Introduction

The Digital Humanities, or DH, is a varied field that attempts to apply computational methods to investigate traditional objects of humanities studies or to apply humanistic concepts to analyze any platform, too, or trend in the digital world. Because the precise definition of the field is hotly contested, we recommend browsing Jason Heppler’s What Is Digital Humanities site to see some of the many answers that experts have floated. For recommendations about scholarship to read about the field, check out our Introduction page in the first edition’s Web Companion. For a new resource with many themed clusters on digital pedagogy specifically, see Digital Pedagogy in the Humanities: Concepts, Models, and Experiments.

Where can I find good examples of digital humanities projects?

Categories That Contain This Post:
  • Introduction
  • Creating Digital Assignments

We like browsing the winners of the annual DH awards and keeping up with the latest issue of Reviews in DH. To look closer to home, you can DH projects hosted by your home institution by searching for library guides created by your university libraries. You can also venture further afield by browsing the websites of digital humanities associations, such as EADH’s Projects site.

What are the benefits of the digital humanities?

Categories That Contain This Post:
  • Introduction

While we, like many scholars, appreciate the grant funding and the opportunities to engage in diverse cross-disciplinary scholarly communities that come from “doing DH,” we use DH primarily to enrich our teaching, streamline our scholarly work practices, rethink the divisions between STEM and humanities fields, and provide new ideas for what to do research on and how to do that research. Duke’s DH Initiative echoes our position, as do Sandra Quiroz and John Keating, while Brandon T. Locke explains why these advantages are so important for humanities pedagogy.

What are the foundational texts of the digital humanities?

Categories That Contain This Post:
  • Introduction
  • Contributing to Your Research

To get a good feel for the disciplinary and methodological range of DH, you’ll want to browse some of the many excellent open-access handbooks and companions to the field, such as the University of Minnesota book series Debates in Digital Humanities and the Blackwell Companion to DHand/or Companion to DIgital Literary Studies. Edited introductions to DH pedagogy introductions include Brett D. Hirsch’s Digital Humanities Pedogogy and the collaborative MLA resource, Digital Pedagogy in the Humanities: Concepts, Models, and Experiments. Search this web companion for “digital humanities journals” or “digital humanities organizations” to learn more about keeping up with current publications in the field.

Why did you make a new web companion for the second edition of Using Digital Humanities in the Classroom?

Categories That Contain This Post:
  • Introduction

Our original web companion, which was thorough and chatty, was intended as an annotated bibliography for the online resources cited in the first edition. One of our wonderful blind reviewers for this second edition suggested that an FAQ-style resource would be easier to use, and we loved the idea. The original version can still be viewed in its original form here, but please note that we have stopped checking for dead links.

Where can I find digital archives and libraries?

Categories That Contain This Post:
  • Finding, Creating, and Using Digital Resources
  • List of Archives

There are many different digital archives out there of varying scales and scopes and many more than we can list here - a good starting point is to contact your institutional liaison librarian and/or your local archives and ask about digital collections and holdings. Large corpus gatherings such as Google Books and Project Gutenberg are the most obvious resources, but it’s worth being transparent with your students about the strengths and limitations of these massive resources in terms of accuracy and quality control. Other massive resources are the Internet Archive, the Digital Public Library of America, the Library of Congress Digital Holdings, The British Library’s many digitized collections, and HathiTrust. For further examples of specific institutional digitized library collections, you can start with this massive list. Wikipedia also hosts a list of digital libraries in a variety of fields. There are also paywalled historical digital archives provided by publishers such as EBSCO and Adam Matthew to which your institution might subscribe. For some helpful guidance for finding and using online resources for historical research, see Harvard Library’s helpful guide. For an amazing recent collection of pedagogical tools and digital texts, see Digital Texts and Textual Data: A Pedagogical Anthology.

How can I make a course website?

Categories That Contain This Post:
  • Finding, Creating, and Using Digital Resources
  • Teaching in a Digital Classroom

First, consider whether this is going to be worth the time and energy it will take to do it. If you’re happy and comfortable in your institution’s Learning Management System (ie: Canvas or Brightspace), there are many good arguments for sticking with that and learning how to use it well.

However, as Michelle Pacansky-Brock notes, making your syllabus more accessible and interesting to your students through a course website can be fun and useful. There are many free and easy website builders available these days that don’t require fancy coding skills. Wordpress is probably still our top pick for ease and openness. You can make a website using Jekyll & Github (see this great tutorial by the ProgrammingHistorian). Other commercial platforms include SquareSpace andWix, both more geared towards ecommerce, but very easy to use and can be nice-looking, both come with paid subscription options that will allow you to present something slick design-wise or to remove ads (in the case of Wix). Other free options, like Scalar and Backdrop and Omeka are oriented specifically towards academics, and though they’re often more complicated than you need for a course site, they can be useful for virtual exhibitions of student work or collaborative projects. Another option for making a course website is to store files on Dropbox and use Pancake.io or DropPages to convert them into a static site.

For web hosting, you can talk to your university’s IT service about its web options (some institutions have Wordpress subscriptions, etc.), but if you want to use your own server, try Reclaim Hosting.

Building your own course website from scratch is certainly possible but likely more time consuming than it might be worth, particularly if you don’t have prior coding experience. However, if you want to, Codecademy offers a 4-hour course in HTML, CSS, and Bootstrap. You can also use web frameworks, namely Django or Flask. Both Django and Flask are popular web frameworks based on Python.

What are some repositories of Public Domain images?

Categories That Contain This Post:
  • Finding, Creating, and Using Digital Resources
  • Teaching in a Digital Classroom
  • List of Archives

There are many ways of finding Public Domain images, and one easy method that might tweak an existing everyday practice is to filter your Google Image Search by navigating to “More” under the search bar and selecting “Usage Rights.” For most classroom uses “Creative Commons License” can be a good choice. Google Arts and Culture can also be a great source of curated sets and galleries. For aggregated collections, again there are many options, but what follows are some of our go-tos. The British Library has a massive collection of over a million images on Flickr. Flickr itself also runs Flickr Commons, which contains free-to-use images. Stock image companies like Shutterstock and Unsplash have large collections of free-to-use images (and Unsplash can be accessed directly though Microsoft PowerPoint). The Public Domain Review is a great source of curated materials and offers listings and aggregations of different institutional repositories.

What are some useful tools for scanning and creating digitized texts?

Categories That Contain This Post:
  • Finding, Creating, and Using Digital Resources

In our first Web Companion we offered a tutorial on using ScannerPro as a mobile-friendly way of creating digitized texts for use in the classroom. We have found that phones are the most accessible hardware for this purpose for most students. Though we have both used ScannerPro, there are many such apps and we are agnostic about which one is best (one of our students recommended Microsoft Office Lens). Basically what you will need for scanning and creating digital texts is a scanner and/or camera and a tool to run Optical Character Recognition (OCR). This second step renders the text machine readable and is very useful for any kind of text analysis using tools like Voyant. Some of the scanning apps include OCR capabilities within the app. If you don’t want to download a specialized app, you can use your phone camera for photos to which you can apply Google Cloud or Adobetools to run OCR. It is important to note that correcting the OCR generated automatically by any of these software services will be important: there are likely to be errors! This can be a very helpful exercise for students as well as long as the text is not too long: it can show students the possibilities and limitations inherent in the machine reading of texts.

What are some examples of institutions that have digital collections I can use in teaching?

Categories That Contain This Post:
  • Finding, Creating, and Using Digital Resources
  • List of Archives

There are so many such collections now (even more than in 2017!) that there is likely to be a collection for almost any subject that might interest you. So here are some general ideas: for accessing digital collections, you can either go directly to a particular library or archive’s own resource, such as the Harry Ransom Center’s Digital Collections, or a digitization project such as The Sinai Palimpsests Project (or an equivalent library or archive in your own field of study). Alternatively, you can check out some of the larger organizations that aggregate materials from a number of participating institutions, such as Google Arts and Culture. Some cultural institutions have specific pedagogical resources (such as The British Library Discovering Literature series). It can also be useful to have students seek and find their own examples of digital collections and to assess them critically using approaches such as the one described in this blog post by Galen Bunting. These student-driven resource searches can help students consider questions of inclusion, representation, and mediation. If students aren’t able to readily locate a digital archive on their topic of interest, why might that be? And what might you and your students be able to do to address any gaps you might find?

What is Universal Design?

Categories That Contain This Post:
  • Ensuring Accessibility
  • Finding, Creating, and Using Digital Resources
  • Teaching in a Digital Classroom

Universal Design is an accessibility standard that demands equitable use, flexible use, and simple and intuitive use. North Carolina State’s Center for Universal Design maintains useful resources, including a straightforward set of Principles for Universal Design, but you can also directly seek information about Universal Design for Learning more specifically. These practices should animate everything in your course—from the content you assign to the assignments they complete and from your lecturing practices to your expectations for participation—so that every student has an equal opportunity to flourish in your class without any last-minute, ad hoc accommodations. To design an accessible course, you must ensure multiple means of representation (which affects how students access course content and communicate with you and other students), multiple means of expression (how students demonstrate their mastery of course concepts and content, especially for the purposes of grading), and multiple means of engagement (how students can interact with course content, so they may stay motivated throughout the semester). You might find useful resources within your institution to support the implementation of UDL (at C’s institution this is available through the Centre for Teaching Support and Innovation, which also has a great public website with lots of useful resources. For analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of UDL by DH practitioners, see articles by George H. Williams and by Rick Godden and Jonathan Hsy.

Where can I find text-to-speech software?

Categories That Contain This Post:
  • Ensuring Accessibility

Many students, with or without low vision, benefit from hearing digital text read aloud. DHers have used Dragon Anywhere in the past with success. In addition, IVONA is a crowd-sourced alternative, and Google Cloud’s “Speech to Text” is a serviceable free option. You may also want to search for speech-to-text tools that work specifically within your favorite desktop or mobile browser.

Where can I find transcription (speech-to-text) software to caption videos or screencasts?

Categories That Contain This Post:
  • Ensuring Accessibility
  • Teaching in a Digital Classroom

Speech recognition software can help you make your lectures, whether virtual or face-to-face, more accessible. Advise your students to look for the “CC” logo to access closed captioning for common video players and videoconferencing software (such as YouTube and Zoom). If you are producing a video on YouTube, you can enter captions yourself or have them added automatically (with less precision, admittedly). Screen recorders like Loom and Screencast-o-matic have many options for adding captions, and you can add captions to live or recorded slideshow presentations with GoogleSlides,PowerPoint, and the like.

Where can I find examples of syllabus materials in DH for undergraduate courses?

Categories That Contain This Post:
  • Designing Your Syllabus

For one of the biggest repositories of syllabi available online in nearly every subject area, check out the Open Syllabus Project. For DH-specific materials, there are a few main curated lists available online: one curated by CUNY; one hosted on MLA Commons; the next can be found in the relevant folder in Lisa Spiro’s Zotero group here; one here by Tona Hangen; and finally, this one from Scott Weingart’s blog. The Digital Texts and Textual Data anthology contains syllabus materials among other things. This collection from the University of Virginia also provides a helpful list. If you are teaching a course on literature, Adam Hammond has generously created a teaching companion for his book, Literature in the Digital Age (Cambridge, 2016).

What are multiple intelligences, and how can they help my teaching?

Categories That Contain This Post:
  • Ensuring Accessibility
  • Designing Your Syllabus

The concept of “learning styles” is popular with the public and many education professionals. We appreciate Howard Gardner’s multiple intelligence framework, which identifies visual-spatial, bodily-kinesthetic, musical, linguistic-verbal, logical-mathematical, interpersonal, intrapersonal, and naturalistic intelligences. Being aware that every learner tends to prefer learning through only one or two of these intelligences, but would benefit from being encouraged to develop others and collaborate with peers who prefer flexing other intelligences, will help you diversify the types of activities and assignments you craft and ensure that students both excel in their comfort zones and experiment with less-familiar modes of learning. For external analyses of Gardner’s framework, read “The Scientific Status of Learning Styles Theories”or “Multiple Intelligences: What Does the Research Say?”

Where can I find sample syllabus materials in DH for graduate courses?

Categories That Contain This Post:
  • Designing Your Syllabus
  • Graduate Students

Although most of us may never teach a graduate course, and among those of us who do, many of us will never teach a course that is specifically a digital humanities course, you may be interested in graduate seminars that are intended as introductions to DH. Most importantly, these examples can give you ideas for incorporating DH-inflected assignments into any graduate course. For a more general approach to building graduate courses, read Scott Selisker’s “Digital Humanities Knowledge: Reflections on the Introductory Graduate Syllabus,” which is located in Debates in the Digital Humanities 2016.

How do I check if something I assign or give my students is accessible?

Categories That Contain This Post:
  • Ensuring Accessibility
  • Teaching in a Digital Classroom

Simply searching any search engine for “accessible course design” will yield many good results, but keep in mind that all materials should have high contrast in their color palette and use a consistent information hierarchy. All images should all have alt text, and all videos and podcasts should have captions or transcripts. Any document should be shared in as many media formats as possible. Online materials should conform to the standards of WebAIM: Web Accessibility in Mind and therefore pass the test of the WAVE: Web Accessibility Evaluation Tool. Other accessibility checkers are available on various browsers, mobile phone operating systems, and learning management systems, so search “accessibility checker” + “your platform here” to find out more. Keep in mind that a free Coursera Introduction to Accessibility in Course Design is available and that DHSI regularly hosts a week-long course on accessibility.

What are some key debates in DH syllabus design?

Categories That Contain This Post:
  • Designing Your Syllabus

Ryan Cordell’s “How Not to Teach Digital Humanities” is an influential argument that has circulated not only as a blog post, but also as a conference presentation and a book chapter. Zach Whalen’s post on teaching with Slack also featured in this chapter. You might also try Jacqueline Weirnemot’s “Build a Better DH Syllabus” for a feminist intervention in DH syllabus design.

What should I consider when posting my syllabus online and/or citing syllabus materials created by others?

Categories That Contain This Post:
  • Designing Your Syllabus

The University of Illinois’ Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning offers some tips about posting syllabi online. If you are skeptical about sharing this work, Timothy Burke has written a fascinating post that tries to allay various fears about putting your work online. One simple way is to participate in the Open Syllabus Project, which will host your syllabus for you (so long as you agree to share it with others). This is, of course, also a great source for ideas for your own syllabi. And as you do so, building on others’ ideas, bear in mind that you may want to cite others’ syllabi, just as you would their research. (ProfHacker has a great post discussing citing syllabi, if you would like further information about when and how to do so.)

What do you mean by approaching classroom activities as “digital exploration?”

Categories That Contain This Post:
  • Designing Classroom Activities
  • Designing Your Syllabus

Because programs, websites, browsers, and other technologies change so quickly, it is not terribly useful to treat classroom activities and assignments as “learning” how to use a particular technology once and for all. Focus on skills that bridge across many technologies, like troubleshooting, advanced searching techniques, and critical digital literacy. Learn more about this approach from this Ted talk from Michael Wesch, and find ideas for implementing them in this chapter by Eileen Gardner and Ronald G. Musto.

Where can I find tools for the ten-minute classroom activities?

Categories That Contain This Post:
  • Designing Classroom Activities
  • Creating Digital Assignments

Once you have experimented with a particular digital activity and decide that it’s worth integrating in future semesters, you may want to explore your other options. But before then, make your life easier by adopting these simple options:

Where can I find tools for the half-hour classroom activities?

Categories That Contain This Post:
  • Designing Classroom Activities
  • Creating Digital Assignments

Once you have experimented with a particular digital activity and decide that it’s worth integrating in future semesters, you may want to explore your other options. But before then, make your life easier by adopting these simple options:

  • Collective Image Annotation:Flickr (or, for more sophisticated options, ThingLink)
  • In-Depth Most-Frequent-Word Analysis:Voyant (check out our Voyant materials here)
  • Variant Analysis: Compare Documents functions in Microsoft Word or GoogleDocs (Juxta Commons has, unfortunately, recently been retired, so only those very adept in Java are now able to use Juxta)
  • Digital Archive or Edition Assessment: Search this web companion for “list of archives” to find some examples of resources to show your students, and review our Digital Archive Review assignment materials for ideas about how to assess digital resources

Where can I find tools for the whole-class classroom activities?

Categories That Contain This Post:
  • Designing Classroom Activities
  • Creating Digital Assignments

Once you have experimented with a particular digital activity and decide that it’s worth integrating in future semesters, you may want to explore your other options. But before then, make your life easier by adopting these simple options:

Where can I find tools for the weeklong classroom activities?

Categories That Contain This Post:
  • Designing Classroom Activities
  • Creating Digital Assignments

Once you have experimented with a particular digital activity and decide that it’s worth integrating in future semesters, you may want to explore your other options. But before then, make your life easier by adopting these simple options:

Where can I find tools for more advanced classroom activities?

Categories That Contain This Post:
  • Designing Classroom Activities
  • Creating Digital Assignments

Once you have experimented with a particular digital activity and decide that it’s worth integrating in future semesters, you may want to explore your other options. But before then, make your life easier by adopting these simple options:

What are some easy ways of facilitating digitally mediated quizzes, trivia games, polls, and discussions?

Categories That Contain This Post:
  • Managing Classroom Activities

Kahoot allows you to create short modules (such as quizzes or discussion prompts) that students can individually answer on their own devices; meanwhile, in an in-person setting, the answers or results from the whole class’s participation can be projected from your podium for all to see. In an online synchronous setting, the results can be shared through screen-sharing. Students might even be tasked with creating their own “kahoot” (their own modules), which would encourage peer-to-peer learning. AnswerGarden allows you to enter in a question, while the other users answer them, and AnswerGarden automatically generates visualizations of their answers. For online synchronous courses, there’s always the trusty Zoom poll. If you’re looking for a fun slightly gamified activity, you could try course-related trivia games created using Twine or Google Forms.

Where can I find some tips and tricks about managing classroom activities and discussions?

Categories That Contain This Post:
  • Managing Classroom Activities

Cult of Pedagogy, which has a plethora of great posts, including our favorite, the Big List of Classroom Discussion Strategies, which blends discussion and activity. You might also enjoy the podcast Dead Ideas in Teaching and Learning from Columbia’s Center for Teaching and Learning.

How can I facilitate online annotation activities for my students?

Categories That Contain This Post:
  • Managing Classroom Activities

Hypothes.is as a platform for enabling group annotation. The company’s own Jeremy Dean has written an introduction to using it in the classroom, and they also provide a “Quick Start Guide for Teachers” if you want to jump in. In this post for Studies in the Novel, Michael Griffin has helpfully summarized his use of the annotation platform A.nnotate. His ingenious pairing of collective annotation with a multimodal activity shows how flexible and modular DH activities can be.

How can my students create maps and timelines?

Categories That Contain This Post:
  • Managing Classroom Activities

Brian Croxall’s mapping assignment is a classic example of using Google’s mapping software in the literature classroom, but don’t stop your search for mapping tools there! StoryMaps is an ArcGIS-based app that allows you to combine narrative with geographical data. Historypin is a community-based program, while Neatline is a CMS plugin that works with Omeka. For a broader introduction to digital mapping in the classroom, read Johanna Drucker’s introduction hosted by the UCLA Center for Digital Humanities. Regarding timelines, Brian Croxall offers a fantastic sample assignment, along with this tutorial for interactive timelines.

How can I get started with Critical Making?

Categories That Contain This Post:
  • Managing Classroom Activities

If you are intrigued by the idea of critical making, begin with Diana Rendina’s impressive set of resources at Renovated Learning. This is a very popular way to start your journey in critical making and physical computing, but you’ll want to see if this sort of activity, which often requires access to flexible space and a budget for buying materials, is achievable within your institution. If you seek more on the topic, Garnet Hertz’s “What Is Critical Making?” presents a well-researched and intellectually ambitious theory of making. “Critical Making: Design and the Digital Humanities,” a special issue of Visible Language guest-edited by Jessica Barness and Amy Papaelias, contains a number of theoretically oriented reflections on critical making.

How can I get started with data visualization and network graphs?

Categories That Contain This Post:
  • Managing Classroom Activities

Character network graphing visualizes relationships between characters to reveal which ones are more or less fully connected with one another. Eduhacker has published an innovative and (relatively!) fast workflow for creating these network graphs by using Google Fusion Tables. For general data visualization, Tableau has a relatively straightforward learning curve. Miami University also hosts this helpful list, with the tools categorized by level of difficulty.

How can I get started with text mining?

Categories That Contain This Post:
  • Managing Classroom Activities

Ted Underwood has written an accessible introduction to text mining, which is an umbrella term for using texts as a source of data.

How can my students participate in ‘citizen science’ or ‘citizen humanities’ crowdsourced research activities?

Categories That Contain This Post:
  • Managing Classroom Activities

Crowdsourcing for particular kinds of research (especially labour-intensive tasks like transcription or labeling) is becoming increasingly common in DH work. Sometimes known as “citizen humanities,” there are various projects, including Operation War Diary, Shakespeare’s World, annoTATE, Science Gossip, Notes from Nature, and Old Weather, which invite engagement with newly digitized archival documents and datasets. They now also have a Project Builder feature in which you can build your own citizen science project.

For a bit of reading on this topic, Melanie Kill’s “Teaching Digital Rhetoric: Wikipedia, Collaboration, and the Politics of Free Knowledge” provides a lot of food for thought.

Where can I find tools for digital assignments for beginners?

Categories That Contain This Post:
  • Creating Digital Assignments
  • Designing Classroom Activities

These digital assignments are high-impact when they are connected well to your course objectives and course content, but need very little advance prep from you and few pre-existing technical skills from your students:

Where can I find tools for media- or image-based digital assignments?

Categories That Contain This Post:
  • Creating Digital Assignments
  • Designing Classroom Activities

The options below are chosen to complement the suggestions we give in the book, but also check out Digital Pedagogy in the Humanities for more ideas.

Where can I find tools for annotation-based digital assignments?

Categories That Contain This Post:
  • Creating Digital Assignments
  • Designing Classroom Activities

First, decide if you are asking students to annotate texts (such as course readings or blogs), images, or videos, and then refer to the appropriate materials below:

  • Textual Annotation:Hypothes.is is a popular service that students may be able to use in other contexts, but Perusall is a new favorite in the DH community because users can annotate a number of media formats. Keep in mind that some CMSs already have built-in integration with these services
  • Image Annotation:Flickr (or, for more sophisticated options, ThingLink); also note that the Canvas CMS now has built-in annotation tools for PDF files
  • Video Annotation:Video Ant (you could also review our assignment sheet and rubric for using VideoAnt)

Where can I find tools for creating digital editions or digital archives?

Categories That Contain This Post:
  • Creating Digital Assignments
  • Designing Classroom Activities

Whether you want to create a digital edition, digital archive, or any other site (for that matter), you can make use of a general website maker like WordPress, but we like to capture high-quality images or convert a picture of a text with plain text withOCR with GoogleDocs, Microsoft Lens, Text Scanner, Adobe Scan, Smart Lens, or our favorite, ScannerPro (check out our ScannerPro assignment materials and also our activity materials related to it), then add light encoding with the Markdown editor Dillinger.io, an in-browser WYSIWYG Markdown editor, and use GitHub pages to create a website with your resulting Markdown-encoded text. For a full workflow, check out our Digital Edition assignment materials; for a good warm-up exercise in which students must evaluate existing resources (and therefore generate priorities and values for their own projects!), check out the Digital Archive Review materials or Mediated Textuality Essay materials, located in the same place as the Digital Edition linked to just above. Note that long-lasting, peer-reviewed, and/or grant funded digital editions tend to be encoded in TEI-XML (not Markdown, the HTML preprocessor we recommend for beginners).

What are some good tools for experimenting with more advanced digital assignments?

Categories That Contain This Post:
  • Creating Digital Assignments
  • Designing Classroom Activities

Advanced digital assignments might be “advanced” because they are technically challenging (perhaps they require experimenting with new skills or synthesizing multiple skill sets), because they require students to reflect critically on the technology they’re using, or because the students get to apply technologies in unexpected ways. Ideally, you can uses the following ideas to embody both senses of the word “advanced:”

What are rubrics, and why should I use them?

Categories That Contain This Post:
  • Evaluating Student Work

Rubrics are grading aids in the form of tables that identify criteria for student success in a graded deliverable. They attach a point or percentage value to a range of outcomes (from unsatisfactory to excellent) and describe the characteristics that might make a student’s work fall into a certain point or percentage range for each criterion. Space is often made for instructors to add further comments, either for the project as a whole or for each of the defined criteria. We like rubrics because of the anxiety with which both teachers and students approach the topic of teaching non-traditional assignments. Rubrics let students know in advance exactly how they’re graded, and you will be confident that you are grading equitably. Learn more about the most common types of rubrics from Jennifer Gonzalez at the Cult of Pedagogy; if you are bewildered by having to “sort” a student’s performance in each criteria into categories, or if you think that this approach is too quantified, investigate the single-point rubric, here explained in even greater detail by Gonzalez in another post for the Cult of Pedagogy.

How do I create rubrics?

Categories That Contain This Post:
  • Evaluating Student Work

Since the first edition of this book was published, many common Learning Management Systems have incorporated basic rubric builders in their software. Canvas rubrics integrate seamlessly with the SpeedGrader function to save you time and clicks (see a YouTube tutorial here). Blackboard allows you to assign each criterion a point value or a percentage value, or even select a range within either of those options (tutorial here). If yours doesn’t, or if you don’t like how they work, try the free rubric-building tool iRubric, a favorite of secondary educators. For a comprehensive understanding of how rubrics are used specifically for grading DH projects, read Laura Estill’s detailed account of shepherding students through a Wikipedia-based project at Digital Humanities Quarterly.

Where can I find the sample rubrics for DH assignments mentioned in the book?

Categories That Contain This Post:
  • Evaluating Student Work
  • Creating Digital Assignments

We offer holistic rubrics for many of our sample assignments. For our Archive Review Assignment, access the matching rubric here. For the Digital Life Writing Assignment, find the matching rubric here. For the Digital Mapping Assignment, find the matching rubric here. For the Mediated Text: Mediated Text Assignment, find the matching rubric here. For the Style Lab Report, find the matching rubric here. For the Digital Edition, find the matching rubric here. More examples can be found on EdTechTeacher’s Assessment Resources site (scroll down until you see the links). Within DH, you can look at a rubric from Miriam Posner here, from Kristin Mapes and Kate Topham here, and from David Joseph Wrisley here.

How do I grade group work for a DH project?

Categories That Contain This Post:
  • Evaluating Student Work

Allowing students to work in groups means that students can craft more ambitious projects and have each other to rely upon (reducing your own role as tech support!) But group dynamics are tough and sometimes lead students to fear that they will not be graded according to their own deserts. To alleviate these fears, we like John Victor Anderson’s approach to creating groups, mentoring them, and introducing peer assessment into the grading process. He describes his system in great detail in four posts, the third of which is most focused on grading (first; second; third; fourth).

What other forms of grading would work for DH projects?

Categories That Contain This Post:
  • Evaluating Student Work

Traditional forms of grading often seem unjust, outmoded, or anxiety-producing—and for very good reasons, as this justification of alternative grading practices explains. Below, we list a few different approaches current in DH:

Do I have to learn to code, and if so, which programming language?

Categories That Contain This Post:
  • Teaching Graduate Students

Maybe not, if you have only have one or two specific things you want to do with DH (say, to map an interactive map or create a course website), but probably yes if you want to be a fully-rounded DH scholar. In our book, we suggest that if you or your graduate student wants to become a DH scholar or seriously integrate DH into their future career, we suggest not only to become familiar with the basics of “XML, HTML, Markdown, databases, and CSV (comma-separated values) tables, and to learn good file management techniques,” but also to learn the programming language Python and put GitHub and Stack Overflow to good use in composing and managing their code. Python classes for humanities scholars are regularly offered by DHSI, by Oxford’s DHSS, and by Texas A&M’s Programming4Humanists; virtual courses may be found from Codecademy and LinkedIn Learning (formerly Lynda).

What other skills or programs does a DH practitioner need?

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  • Teaching Graduate Students

Whether you are informing your student about what they need to learn about if they want to specialize in DH, or whether you yourself are trying to update your research and teaching skill sets, we identify seven foundational tools necessary for common DH projects and approaches: plain-text editors, citation managers, content management systems, mapping engines, database services, command-line interfaces, and scripting languages. In our book, Table 8.1 offers suggestions about platforms and programs related to these seven skills. We reproduce these recommendations below as a ready-made minimal suite of DH tools:

If your student needs to find a formal degree program in DH—one that you can’t offer in your own institution—refer them to this list of DH programs around the world or JITP’s thoughtful survey of DH programs from 2017.

What are alt-ac careers?

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  • Teaching Graduate Students

“Alternative-academic,” or alt-ac, jobs are great opportunities for graduate students who gain some proficiency in DH as they earn their degrees. Unlike traditional tenure track jobs, the majority of working hours will be spent in service roles, like training faculty, running workshops, and advising scholars who want to use a digital tool for their research. They may be housed in libraries, interdisciplinary units, or DH centers, and they can be even more exciting than a traditional post for many scholars, but some positions may be temporary or contingent on soft money. Kirstyn Leuner and Brian Croxall have both written excellent, short breakdowns on the topic; for a greater detail, seek this MediaCommons-based open-access edited collection. There is much debate about the aptness of the term (see this post by Maria LaMonaca Wisdom), andHannah Alpert-Abrams and Miriam Posner both stress that alt-ac careers cannot “save” a perilous academic job market, while Lisa Brundage, Karen Gregory, and Emily Sherwood explain how some of these jobs can exact a wealth of hidden labor.

How do I prepare DH graduate students for the job market?

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  • Teaching Graduate Students

DH students need extra-careful preparation—in addition to the usual help you’ll give them in crafting their job documents, preparing for interviews, and transitioning from student to professional—because they will likely apply for a wide variety of types of jobs, from traditional tenure-track positions to alt-ac positions to industry jobs, postdocs, and adjunct positions (temporary teaching contracts). Review Chapter 8 in our book for specific advice on this issue and share its content with your student, but for more general advice on job hunts in the humanities, see these books by Kathryn Hume, Karen Kelsy, and Gregory Semenza. For advice on mentoring DH graduate students in particular, see these articles and posts by Natalia Cecire, Kathleen Fitzpatrick, Willard McCarty, Bethany Nowviskie, and Geoffrey Rockwell and Stéfan Sinclair. Books that might help you directly as a graduate supervisor include Sidonie Smith’s Manifesto for the Humanities, Lene Tanggard and Charlotte Wegener’s A Survival Kit for Doctoral Students and their Supervisors, Stan Taylor and Nigel Beasley’s Handbook for Doctoral Supervisors, and Gina Wisker’s The Good Supervisor.

How do you find job openings in DH?

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  • Teaching Graduate Students

Many higher education institutions will try to advertise positions at the Chronicle of Higher Education, Inside Higher Ed, and the Times Higher Ed; see a full list of academic job databases here. Each year, a webpage on the Academic Jobs Wiki is created that tracks jobs in New Media and Digital Humanities (view the 2021-2022 instance here). Subscribe to listservs in your field and in DH to keep track of new openings; the most popular DH listserv is the Humanist Discussion Group. Open positions are frequently tweeted out by DH insiders, and you’ll want to keep your finger on opportunities within your own institution that are being advertised by your library and/or DH center, which might include postdoctoral fellowships, directorships or associate directorships, program coordinators, systems administrators, communications specialists, project managers, pedagogy liaisons, and software/application developers. For industry jobs, LinkedIn is indispensable.

What are some good tools for collaborative writing and project creation?

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  • Collaborating
  • Teaching in a Digital Classroom
  • For collaborative writing, Shawna and Claire have composed their book (and the text for this web companion!) in Google Docs. This eliminates concerns about version control and allows for real-time co-authoring.
  • For project management (including to-do lists, team correspondence, file sharing, and calendars) a host of possibilities exist. We address the many options and their pros and cons in a table in our chapter in the book on collaboration, but Claire has used Basecamp and Trello, primarily.
  • For collaboratively gathering resources or bibliographies, our reference manager of choice is Zotero which allows for Shared Libraries.
  • If you intend to create a website for your project, you could start with Quinn Dombrowski’s guide to choosing a platform.

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What are some principles for ethical collaboration with colleagues and students?

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  • Collaborating

The go-to on this topic is the “Collaborators’ Bill of Rights” and the student-specific “Student Collaborators’ Bill of Rights.” It is also helpful to read first-hand student accounts of both the benefits and pitfalls of collaborative experience, such as Rachel Mann’s 2019 piece and this 2020 special issue of “Digital Studies”

What can I read about collaboration in DH?

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  • Collaborating

Collaboration is increasingly both a practice and a topic in DH. There are many good articles on this topic, including this survey by Gabriele Griffin and Matt Hayler in DHQ from 2018. This essay collection (Collaborative Research in Digital Humanities ed, Deegan & McCarthy) is a bit older but contains several different and still-relevant perspectives on engaging in collaborative practices and models in this discipline. For an essay that addresses the notion of the ‘lab’ and considers collaboration as a situated practice, try “Lab and Slack” (2020) by Oiva and Pawlicka-Deger, and for a consideration of affective communities in collaborative practice, try this collaboratively authored article, “One Loveheart at a Time” by the Old Books, New Science Team.

How can digital pedagogy contribute to my research?

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  • Contributing to Your Research

In Chapter 10 of our book, we identify multiple ways that your digital humanities pedagogy experiments can contribute to your research:

  • By becoming itself a subject for publication: publish your teaching experiments by narrativizing them into a “case study” article, which summarizes the activity or assignment you created (using plenty of detail about your unique course, institution, and student body), shares your materials (tutorials, assignment sheets, rubrics, even sample student work), explains its strengths and weaknesses, and teaches other instructors how to do it in their own classrooms
  • By inspiring a broader research project about your favorite DH pedagogical method: build upon your specific, concrete experiences by doing research on the educational merits of your favorite tool or project and creating a more universalized argument about DH pedagogy (less rooted in your personal experience than the “case study” model, discussed above)
  • By streamlining or supplementing the way you organize your data and write your publications: let your new DH skills enhance your current humanities research processes by making them more efficient (a citation manager can simplify your record-keeping, for instance, while database services can help you keep track of your data)
  • By revolutionizing your research methods and research questions: recast your research questions, make your publications more multi-dimensional (supplement your writing with compelling visualizations, statistics, tables, or interactive datasets)overhaul your fundamental methods for conducting humanities research by adapting computer-assisted techniques for accessing and assessing your primary sources
  • By adjusting the scope your research: embrace the most radical potentialities of DH by applying your favorite humanities method or theory to studying computer technologies and digital cultures or, conversely, by redefining crucial concepts in your field and reframing your own subfield in terms of what computational methods can reveal about your primary sources

What digital tools can enhance my research workflow?

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  • Contributing to Your Research

The usefulness of particular platforms and programs to help your research is very much dependent on your field and your accustomed methodologies, but we do recommend Zotero for reference management (use Zbib if you’re in a hurry), Evernote for note taking, Dropbox for cloud storage (but ask around to see if your institution has its own cloud storage solution), Tropy for archival image management, Basecamp for collaboration or project management (although some professors prefer Slack and some students prefer Discord), Scrivener for writing (Manuskript is a free open-source alternative), and OmmWriter for minimizing distractions during writing sessions. Toggl is useful for time-tracking.

What are some conferences on digital pedagogy?

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  • Contributing to Your Research

Conferences devoted to DH are hosted by many DH-centric academic organizations, many of which belong to the Alliance of Digital Humanities Organizations (ADHO). ADHO itself also hosts theannual DH conference, which rotates among a variety of locations across the globe and (depending on world conditions) occurring online. There is also an annual conference devoted just to DH pedagogy—the wonderful Digital Pedagogy Institute, which has been held since 2014—and the Digital Pedagogy Lab is another opportunity, though it often resembles more of a workshop than a traditional conference. DHSI holds its annual Conference and Colloquium every June, and they welcome digital pedagogy scholarship. In the past, approachable, informal unconferences called THATCamps were great places to get started and find people near you who are interested in DH; the organization has recently disbanded, but you could certainly organize a similar gathering yourself and find collaborators in ADHO organizations, on Twitter, on the Humanist listserv, or through working groups or institution-based listservs that serve your local community. The news isn’t all bad, though, as DH is increasingly considered a “normal” method of scholarship, which means that you will likely find opportunities to present your work at whatever academic organization conference you would normally present at. Browse the Index of DH Conferences Databases or this list of established annual conferences, organized by date, to learn more about the types of DH conferences that you might participate at; for DH pedagogy conferences in particular, check out more DH pedagogy conferences through this comprehensive roundup.

How do I find opportunities to publish on digital pedagogy?

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  • Contributing to Your Research

DH was originally very much a self-publishing field, with blog posts on personal websites being a major medium for exciting research. Now, you can still get some attention with well-edited blog posts, but there are also plenty of established book series and journals (which we discuss separately, below). Edited collections are popular places to publish work on DH pedagogy, so be on the lookout for Calls for Papers issued through academic organizations (like the Humanist Discussion Group and listservs in your own humanities discipline and subfields), and aggregators like the UPenn CFP list. DH book series include the University of Minnesota’s venerableDebates in DHseries and Manifold Open-Access Library platform, the University of Michigan’s Digital Humanities series, the University of Illinois’s Topics in Digital Humanities series, Routledge’s Digital Research in the Arts and Humanities series and Research in Digital Humanities series, while publishers that are very DH-friendly include Open Book Publishers and our own Bloomsbury Academic. Groundbreaking books in the field have also been published by Blackwell, MIT Press, Polity Press, and Palgrave Macmillan.

What are some journals that publish scholarship on digital pedagogy?

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  • Contributing to Your Research

As with conference presentations, most humanities fields and subfields now welcome DH-inflected work, so if you want to publish something that is focused on digital pedagogy methods that are specific to your field/subfield, browse the latest issues of your favorite “regular” journals to see if they’re open to DH work. There are, of course, plenty of great DH-focused journals. Most are open-access (free to read!), most welcome a wide variety of types of publications (from traditional articles to tool reviews to case studies and even pedagogical materials), and most of them have a global approach that welcomes authors from all around the world. The caveat here is that the world of DH journals is fast-paced; you might have your article published with amazing speed, but you might also find out that your favorite journal is on hiatus or only accepting special issues. Fortunately, Dennis Tenen, Alex Gil, and Vika Zafrin maintain a current list of “DH- and New Media-friendly Journals.” That said, here are some DH journals to read and consider submitting to:

If you’re still unsure about what a DH pedagogy article might look like, read through the “Imagining the DH Undergraduate” special issue of DHQ.

How can I incorporate active learning into my online teaching?

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  • Teaching in a Digital Classroom

Cynthia J. Brame’s wonderful Active Learning resource guide can serve as one-stop shopping for discovering active learning principles; if you’re short on time, skip directly to her Active Learning Cheat Sheet, which distills these concepts into 10 tips. For explanations tailored to humanities disciplines, read Jane Waitkus’s article about using active learning to foster critical thinking.

What are some tools and resources that will help with online teaching (synchronous)?

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  • Teaching in a Digital Classroom
  • For synchronous online teaching, Claire has used Padlet boards, Google Jamboards, Miro Boards, and collaboratively created Google Slides, particularly in Zoom breakout rooms, as note-taking platforms that allow for real-time digital collaboration among students in synchronous sessions. By watching the notes or images appear on these boards, it is possible to manage the timing of the breakout rooms seamlessly and pull the students back to the main room when most of their work is done.
  • For larger synchronous classes, the Poll feature in Zoom can be very helpful for a quick response from a large group. Note that it must be set up in advance of the class with the question so that you can share it quickly: otherwise there will be a delay while you set it up.
  • For slides, we tend to use use Google Slides, Canva, or PowerPoint.
  • For general resources and advice, many institutions and organizations have developed guides, resources, and tutorials to facilitate online teaching (see this one for example from ACUE (the Association of College and University Educators))

What are some tools and resources that will help with online teaching (asynchronous)?

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  • Teaching in a Digital Classroom
  • Ensuring Accessibility
  • For recording videos of screen-sharing (for example to show students a web resource or to record over slides), we like Loom, because it allows students to still see your face. For general video recording of lectures, a very simple setup of just your phone camera (perhaps with one of these portable tripods) works just fine.
  • Remember that for asynchronous videos it helps a great many students to provide transcription (this service can be done automatically through Zoom and then corrected, but there are also many examples of similar voice to text softwares, which we discuss in our chapter “Ensuring Accessibility”).
  • Students often enjoy and appreciate a community chat to exists alongside their asynchronous course such as Slack or Discord. You can either participate along with them and use it to share resources, or suggest that they create such a space for themselves as a way of forming community amongst fellow students during remote learning.
  • For recording podcasts, we like the free, open-source Audacity, which is simple and therefore relatively easy to learn, but you can even use GarageBand (or one of these Windows alternatives). Using a real microphone will astronomically improve your results and don’t have to be expensive (S uses this $25 Monoprice USB version).

What are some fun and enjoyable online resources to promote community and mental health?

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  • Teaching in a Digital Classroom
  • Virtual travel
    • Window Swap: Simply press a button to watch out someone else’s window
    • Armchair Travels: Browse this roundup of live zoo cameras around the world
    • Travel and Leisure: Explore some of the internet’s best free virtual tours of museums and art galleries
  • Meditation and Stress Relief
    • Calm.com: This customizable meditation app is tried-and-true, but only the trial is free
    • Lifehacker: Follow this link to locate an ambient noise generator or soundscape service to provide a calming background for studying and working
    • Verywell Mind: This site ranks the fidget toys or spinners that help relieve stress
  • Need a break?
    • Playbill: Find free live-streams of plays and musicals here
    • Teleparty: Remotely watch a film or TV episode together with far-flung friends and family members
    • Oregon Trail: Play the classic computer game for free on the Internet Archive
  • For use in the classroom
    • Cult of Pedagogy: Try out these icebreakers in the classroom to increase your students’ connections with each other
    • The Conversation: An argument in favor of incorporating meditation
    • Edutopia: Find out how to incorporate meditation and breathing in the classroom

Where can I find resources specific to teaching during public health or environmental crises?

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  • Teaching in a Digital Classroom

First of all, familiarize yourself with the differences between teaching a class that was planned to be delivered remotely versus trying to accommodate a crisis on the fly, in which case you can learn from early 2020 practices of “panic-gogy.” Issues of inclusion and equity become paramount during crises, which tend to impact the vulnerable the most, so learn about these inequities so you know how to adjust your course plans and prep to mitigate them. Learn from teachers who have worked during past environmental crises, such as Hurricane Harvey.

Where are some good examples of teaching philosophies?

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  • Coda

In the Coda to our book, we suggest moving forward with your digital pedagogy experiments not just by trying out new technologies, but also by reflecting thoughtfully on your teaching philosophy—and more specifically, on what digital tools offer you, your students, and your field. A series of position statements on digital pedagogy teaching may be found in Philosophies of Digital Pedagogy, a special issue of Studies in Philosophy and Education 35.3 (2016). The journal Hybrid Pedagogy is also full of articles that could be interpreted as digital pedagogy philosophies, so browse there for some great first-person manifestos about why we do what we do. Sample some of these DH teaching philosophies below: