Based on the Introduction to Digital Humanities (DH101) course at UCLA, taught by Johanna Drucker (with David Kim) in 2011 and 2012, this online coursebook (and related collection of resources) is meant to provide introductory materials to digital approaches relevant to a wide range of disciplines. The lessons and tutorials assume no prior knowledge or experience and are meant to introduce fundamental skills and critical issues in digital humanities.
Concepts & Readings section resembles a DH101 syllabus, each topic is presented as a lesson plan. Concepts are discussed broadly in order to make connections between critical ideas, hands-on activities, readings and relevant examples. These lesson plans contain lots of individual exercises to be done in class that allow the students to become familiar with the most basic aspects of digital production (html + css, design mockup, metadata schema, etc.). These in-class assignments are geared towards fostering the understanding of the concepts introduced in the lessons: seeing how ‘structured data’ works in digital environments; working with classification and descriptive standards; learning to “read” websites; thinking about the epistemological implications of data-driven analysis and spatio-temporal representations; and, most broadly, recognizing both the ‘hidden’ labor and the intellectual, subjective process of representing knowledge in digital forms. Assignments often only require text editors, commonly available (or free) software, writing and critical engagement and collaboration.
The Tutorial section focuses on tools used in the course. These tutorials are meant to serve as basic introductions with commentaries that relate their usage to the concepts covered in the lectures. The exhibits, text analysis, data visualization, maps & timelines, wireframing and html are required individual components of the final project. Students become familiar with all of these digital approaches throughout the course in the weekly lab/studio sessions, but they are also asked to delve further into a few areas in consultation with the lab instructor to choose the right tools for the types of analysis and presentation they have in mind. The goal is not only the successful implementation of the tools, but also the recognition of their possibilities and limitations during the process.
Using the cumulative and collaborative final project model of DH101, the Student Projects section represents one approach of incorporating all of the above for a more substantial and ‘packaged’ undergraduate project. The process begins with a research topic chosen by the student(s), and the group develops subtopics and the required components, culminating as the “scholarly resource site” that provides useful introduction for the topic. This section also contains suggestions for evaluation and expected time/labor for completion.
In compiling these ideas and resources from DH101, we emphasize the flexibility of these concepts and methods for instruction for any course with varying levels of engagement with digital tools. We hope to also continue to add other approaches as they emerge. We invite suggestions and submissions from instructors and students, including syllabi, tutorials, and case studies.
These materials are authored. If you use them, please cite them as you would any other publication. They are freely available for use, but if you cut, paste, and incorporate them into your own lessons, be sure to include a link and citation of this resource. If you would like to change, correct, or add to anything in this coursebook, please contact us. We would like to keep this current and useful.
Johanna Drucker, 2013