The last month of class will be dedicated to the production of your own digital humanities project. In teams, you will design, build, and present a project of your choosing. We will be brainstorming project ideas and assigning teams in class, attempting to balance out our technical capacities (i.e. a balanced team would ideally be full of members who have a working knowledge of a range of tools/technologies/languages: 1 might be good at HTML/CSS, another at a visualization tool, etc.).
STEP 1–Choose a Project: Though you are not required to begin building the projects until the end of the semester, I encourage you to start thinking about/tinkering with project ideas early: What kinds of projects/topics are you interested in? What technologies/tools would you need to learn to create the project you have in mind? Which classmates might be a good fit for this project? We will be finalizing projects and teams in class on Wednesday, November 5, but I’m happy to meet with people (alone or in groups) to talk about project ideas at any point during the semester. Starting early is always a good idea when it comes to digital work.
STEP 2–Write a Plan of Action: Once you have a team/project, each team will need to co-write a “Plan of Action.” This document should contain the following:
- a description of your proposed project (including some links to existing DH projects that might serve as models)
- a list of the technologies/tools/languages needed to create your project and a step-by-step description of what your team needs to do to build it
- a detailed description of the role/tasks that each team member will be responsible for in the production process (and include the tasks/responsibilities you will share as a team)
- a timeline (based on the course calendar) for project completion
You should email me this document by the start of class on Monday November 10.
STEP 3–Design/Build Your Project + Individual Process Logs: Each team will have ample class time to work on final projects. However, it will be necessary to work individually and collectively on projects outside of the class as well. You will have an opportunity to share your in-process projects for peer feedback on Wednesday, November 19th, and there will be several classes devoted to troubleshooting. Additionally, each team member should be keeping a personal log of all of the work that they do on the project—listing even minor things like doing tutorials, looking for examples, reading/research, etc. I will be collecting these when your projects are due.
A note about questions: You will inevitably run into problems during the production of your project. Rather than running to me for answers, I want you to try to figure things out with your group (you might seek additional resources online, see if there are resources/people on campus that could be of help, etc.). The idea here is to figure out how to make something together without relying on a teacher to tell you how to do it. This is how most digital learning works outside of the classroom, and figuring out what resources are available to help you all help yourselves is a good practice. During the production of your projects, then, consider me as another peer collaborator during in-class sessions. I will try my best to provide guidance and give feedback along the way, but I will not tell you how to do the work.
STEP 4–Presentation: On the last day of class, each team will present their completed projects. Your presentation should address the following questions:
- What is the project, why did you choose to build it, and what is its significance/value?
- How would you describe your collaborative process (take us through how you divided up the labor, your working methods, resources you used, etc.)?
- What was the most difficult part of creating a DH project? What was the most rewarding part?
- What are the strengths of the project? What are you most proud of? How does the project enrich our understanding of the subject?
- What are the weaknesses or limitations of the project? What would you do to fix or improve the project if you had more time to work?
- Based on your experience, how is digital humanities work similar to or different from traditional textual scholarly work?
You may choose to divide up these questions among your team in whichever ways you would like. Presentations should be between 10-15 minutes.
All teams will present their projects in our DH Showcase on Monday, December 8.
Assessment: Unlike producing traditional textual scholarly projects, producing digital work comes with the risk that something won’t work (i.e. while we don’t have to worry about a sentence on paper “breaking” before we turn it in, there are many things that could go wrong at the level of coding, for instance, in digital work). That said, I do not expect “perfection.” While your team should strive to resolve any issues before your presentation, having a few bugs or an “imperfect” project will not affect your grade substantially.
This breakdown will give you a better idea of how I plan to assess your final projects:
60% of your grade will be based on your group’s project and presentation (Each team member will receive the same grade):
- A = project exceeds expectations; excellent design and execution; very few, mostly minor errors
- B = project meets expectations; good design and execution; some errors
- C = project has many errors; average design and execution; mostly functional
- D = project is incomplete or incoherent
40% of your grade will be based on your individual logs and contributions to the project. I will be considering how much you contributed to the project as a whole (as noted in your logs), as well as the quality/significance of your contributions. Thus, it is very important that you keep a detailed log to help me understand your role.