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This colloquium is designed to help humanities scholars think systematically about how digital “new media” affect their work. We will explore the vast array of digital resources historians use in research, in teaching, and to engage the public outside of academia. Our common readings will include highlights from the lively debate between academic techno-enthusiasts and techno-skeptics, a range of exemplary digital projects, and a pragmatic guide to creating one’s own digital tools. The emphasis of the course, however, is on building collective knowledge out of individual investigation of the resources most relevant to our own fields. We will be helping each other to think broadly about what has been done and what might be done with the “new media,” while at the same time addressing more concrete questions about what is possible and wise for us individually.


The primary goal of this course is to give you a structured opportunity to determine what digital tools you will need for your own scholarly endeavors, and begin to acquire the necessary technical skills. Its success as a colloquium, however, depends on your active efforts to share your expertise. I expect you to do this by staying on top of the assigned readings and exercises, and by consistent participation in class discussions. I assume that students’ levels of technical competence will vary, but that we will all be able to learn from each others’ experiences as students of particular fields, as teachers, and as users of digital tools.

You will be evaluated on:

  • Attendance (mandatory) and active participation in class discussions
  • Short weekly assignments (Blogs, wiki exercises, etc.)
  • Moderation of one open class discussion
  • Proposal & Architecture for a Digital Project (Some possible projects might include: a database related to your research, an original course website, or virtual museum exhibit.)
  • Peer review of classmates project(s)