Course Info and Policies

ENG435-1: Intro to Digital Humanities 

University of Maryland, Baltimore County

Fall 2014 | Performing Arts & Humanities Building (PAHB) 317 | MW 1-2:15pm

Course Texts

Matthew Gold, Ed. Debates in the Digital Humanities. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2012. [you may purchase the print volume and/or use the open access edition]

  • I will provide you with links to additional readings, tools, and projects.

Assignment Breakdown

30% Participation: The success of this course is dependent on students’ willingness to participate fully and actively. That is, each of you should be here on time, prepared to engage with the course readings, workshops, and/or other activities we have scheduled on a particular day. To earn a passing (C-level) mark for participation, you need to do more than prep for class and show up. This course has been designed to afford you all the opportunity to collaborate, exchange ideas, discuss the course material, and share your own work as it progresses. Because we will be learning to use technologies that will probably be unfamiliar to you, there will be times in the course when you will feel confused and frustrated (and I will too!). That is totally expected and it’s OK. We’ll work through it. However, even when times get hard, you still need to be ready and willing to try (and fail) and try again.

A note about class discussions: On the first day of class you will choose a day to be a “Discussion Leader.” On that day you and a partner will be responsible for kicking off class discussion about the assigned readings/media/tools. Leading the discussion entails preparing generative questions that will serve to focus our conversation. In addition, you might decide to present some examples of DH projects/resources that are related to the topic of discussion, or prepare handouts that contain questions, key passages, visualizations, etc. I will be providing you with a set of guidelines and we will spend time talking about the various possibilities.

30% Blog Posts/Technical Learning Reports (TLRs): Throughout the semester you will be asked to post various homework assignments and/or in-class work to the course blog. Additionally, at the beginning of the semester you will be asked to choose an unfamiliar DH tool(s) or mark-up language(s) to learn. You might pick a software package like Drupal or Omeka; a language such as HTML/CSS, XML, Javascript; or a physical computing platform like Arduino. We will be discussing a range of options in class. You should dedicate several hours each week to learning the tool/language. Every few weeks (as indicated on the course schedule), you will be expected to write up a TLR about your progress and post it to the blog. TLRs should be a minimum of 500 words and contain the following information: a description of the task/tool you’re learning about; a step-by-step walkthrough of your learning process (How did you go about teaching yourself? What tools/resources/people did you use to assist your learning? What struggles/problems did you encounter?); a description of what you’ve achieved and what you plan/need to achieve next.

20% Individual Analysis of DH Project: This assignment requires you to analyze a “mature” digital humanities project, write a brief essay about it (1000-1500 words), and give a short informal presentation on your analysis in class (3-5 minutes).

20% Final Collaborative Project: The last month of class will be dedicated to the production of your own digital humanities project. In teams, you will work together to design, build, and present a project of your choosing. This project allows you to apply the technical skills you have been learning and blogging about all semester. For example, your group might choose to compose a piece of interactive fiction, use TEI to mark-up a group of texts with an accompanying website, create a mapping or visualization project based on group members’ interests, etc. We will be going over possibilities throughout the semester.

Grade Breakdown

A = 90-100 | B = 80-89 | C = 70-79 | D = 60-69


This is a senior course with high expectations. Your attendance and participation is crucial to the success of this course. I DO NOT distinguish between excused and unexcused absences. Each person is allotted 2 absences, no penalty. For every additional class session you miss or arrive unprepared for, your final grade for the course will be reduced one full letter grade per extra absence. If you miss or arrive unprepared for 5 classes, you fail this course. Please also know that entering the classroom more than ten minutes after class begins counts as an absence. If you foresee yourself having problems getting to class on time, please see me ASAP. If you must miss a class session, it is your responsibility to contact a classmate to get class notes, to find out what we did, to find out what the homework is, etc.

Academic Integrity

“By enrolling in this course, each student assumes the responsibilities of an active participant in UMBC’s scholarly community in which everyone’s academic work and behavior are held to the highest standards of honesty. Cheating, fabrication, plagiarism, and helping others to commit these acts are all forms of academic dishonesty, and they are wrong. Academic misconduct could result in disciplinary action that may include, but is not limited to, suspension or dismissal. To read the full Student Academic Conduct Policy, consult the UMBC Student Handbook, the Faculty Handbook, or the UMBC Policies section of the UMBC Directory.”

 Student Support

UMBC is committed to eliminating discriminatory obstacles that may disadvantage students based on disability. Student Support Services (SSS) is the UMBC department designated to:

  • receive and maintain confidential files of disability-related documentation
  • certify eligibility for services
  • determine reasonable accommodations
  • develop with each student plans for the provision of such accommodations
  • serve as a liaison between faculty members and students regarding disability-related issues

If you have a disability and want to request accommodations, contact SSS in the Math/Psych Building, Room 213 or Academic IV-B wing Room 345 (or call 410-455-2459 or 410-455-3250). SSS will require you to provide appropriate documentation of disability and complete a Request for Services form available at If you require accommodations for this class, make an appointment to meet with me to discuss your SSS-approved accommodations.