Humanities 100: The Humanities Now! is a project-based course in the humanities that introduces students to the world of digital humanities through use of selected digital tools and methods of analysis. Open to first years and sophomores only.
Some of the earliest European visitors to the area around the Confluence of the Susquehanna River were Moravian missionaries. Members of a Pietist group that focused on work among the non-Christians of North America, the Moravians kept meticulous records of their daily interactions with all peoples they encountered: Native Americans, Africans enslaved to White settlers, and colonists. These papers are kept in the Moravian Archives in Bethlehem, PA and make for fascinating reading. Most of them have never been published. In this class, students will become digital pioneers: they will learn ways to present these fascinating documents to the world. Using the latest digital technologies, students will identify central issues of humanistic interpretation and will make critical decisions about how to analyze and interpret the papers of the Moravians. Students will learn how digital modes of engagement shed new light upon humanistic problems of critical analysis and interpretation.
Method of Instruction and Evaluation
Through a project based approach, students will engage in the research process typical for a humanities scholar: namely, the discovery of artifacts, the formulation of research questions, followed by the analysis and synthesis of findings culminating in the publication of initial findings in a digital medium. Class time will be divided between discussion of critical issues, group projects, sharing of findings, and the creation of an ongoing collaborative writing environment that will allow students to develop, reflect upon and share/publish research in-parallel with their work.
Instructional Materials and Sources
Students will work with primary archival materials and digital modes of inquiry and analysis. Extensive use will be made of online environments and platforms that emphasize important forms of digital engagement, including collaborative online writing environments, close and distant reading platforms, temporal and spatial and network visualization platforms, and an artifact curation framework.
SOFTWARE TOOLS AND PLATFORMS:
Over the course of the semester you will be required to have access to and work with a variety of software tools and web-based platforms. Other than the text editor software that comes bundled with your Mac or PC, you will not be required to pay for any software applications. You will need to install Oxygen and Gephi software on your personal computer – cannot be accessed on Bucknell library or lab machines.
- ArcGIS Online (web-based, Bucknell account)
- Gephi (open access software – download)
- Google spreadsheets (Bucknell Drive account)
- Image viewer (Mac: Preview, Windows: Windows Media Viewer)
- Oxygen XML text editor (30 day free trial version – download)
- Omeka/Neatline (web-based, Bucknell account)
- Palladio (web-based, free account)
- Text editor (Mac: TextEdit, Windows: NotePad)
- TimeMapper (web-based, free account)
- Voyant Tool Suite (web-based, no account required)
- WordPress (web-based, Bucknell account – course site)
Unless otherwise notified ahead of time, assignments must be submitted by 11pm on the night assigned. Due to the electronic nature of all assignments for this course, all completed assignments must be submitted via the course website. Word processing documents (e.g. Microsoft Word or the equivalent) will not be accepted, nor will links to work submitted via email or uploaded to Moodle. Please remember to pay close attention to assignment instructions (which are all available via the navigation menu at the top of this site.) If you are unclear about an assignment component or need more clarification in order to complete the assignment, please ask in class or via email.
All assignments are due at the identified date and time on the Course Calendar. Work turned in late is docked ten percent for every calendar day it is late. Work turned in after the time specified on the Course Calendar will be considered one day late. In other words, if your assignment is due at 11:00pm on a Friday night and the timestamp reads 11:01pm, it is late. See me before the due date/time if you believe you have truly extenuating circumstances that prevent you from turning in an assignment on time. Note: save drafts of your assignments frequently. Computers, and computer drives are notorious for failing just before an assignment is due. Therefore, a broken laptop, a flash drive put through the washing machine, or internet failure on your residence hall is not an “extenuating” circumstance. Also note that a computer with a drained battery is not an excuse for late work. You have full access to computers in the library and should be prepared to work there if necessary.
Regular attendance is crucial to your success in this course and is therefore required. You are expected to come to class prepared and ready to participate. Bring your laptops, your homework, and your energy and ideas.
Students have three absences to use for any reason. Should a personal or medical emergency cause you to miss class, or if you have an authorized excuse, please contact me via email as soon as possible. You are always responsible for the material covered in any class, and so must check this website or touch base with a classmate to find out what work you may have missed. If you exceed the three allowed absences, your final course grade will be lowered 2 points for each absence. Note that this could mean the difference of a full course mark, so please use your absences wisely and track how many you have accumulated. Likewise, students who are frequently and substantially late for class (more than three late arrivals of more than 5 minutes) will begin to accrue absences: one absence for every two late arrivals.
The nature of our class involves access to digital tools and online platforms during most class sessions. You are, therefore, required to bring your laptop computer (or the equivalent) to every class meeting, unless I specify otherwise. When laptops are not being used for classroom activity, they should be closed. If you are using your laptop for non-class-related purposes, I will ask you to leave class and mark you absent for that day. Emailing, IM’ing, checking Facebook, or playing online games constitute non-class-related uses of technology. Likewise, receiving or sending cell phone calls or text messages except in cases of extreme emergency is not acceptable. Cell phones and MP3 players must be turned to “vibrate” and earphones removed during class time.
Email Guidelines & Etiquette:
My goal is to answer all student emails within 24 hours of receipt; an exception is that I try not to answer emails on holidays. I will let you know in advance if I will be without email access for more than 24 hours. As with all professional correspondence, you should consider tone and audience when writing an email to me or to one of your classmates. Good rules of thumb:
- Always write a brief, specific explanation in the Subject line, such as “Scheduling meeting to discuss blog assignment” or “Question about proper attribution of online source material”
- Always address the recipient politely and formally, such as “Dear Professor” or “Hello Tom”. I guarantee that someone will be more likely to respond (and respond favorably) to that type of address than “Hey, Dude!” or “What’s up, prof?”
- Keep your emails brief and to the point.
- Always count to ten – and then ten again – before sending an email written in anger or frustration.
- Never email me asking, “Did I miss anything important in class?” The answer will invariably be, “Yes!” I will not respond to such emails. By this point in your academic career you should know how to keep yourself informed of course assignments.