In this course, we are going to spend quality time working with various digital tools and thinking about the myriad issues (legal, ethical, technical, historical) that these tools bring to light. Over the course of the semester, each of you will use your newly-found digital skills to create and publish an original digital history project due at the end of the semester (in place of a final exam.)
This project will allow you to explore a research question of your choosing about a sensational trial from any period in United States history prior to 1960. This project will demonstrate your ability to use digital tools to help you analyze evidence, craft a historical argument, and communicate your findings to a larger audience.
Your final project has two components:
Proposal (10 points)
Your project proposal will be due on 11/7 before class and should address three key components:
- Your research question: What are you studying? Why? What do you hope to understand? (2 points)
- The main primary sources you plan to use to complete your project. Please include a brief description of each source or collection of sources so that I have a good idea of what you plan to use as the basis for your historical analysis. Please completely cite all sources and include the website, collection, or archives where each is located. (4 points)
- The best secondary sources available on your project topic. Please provide a brief description of their arguments and their importance to informing your analysis going forward. You must include a full bibliographical citation for each source. (4 points)
Final Project (40 points)
You’re going to build out your project on your class portfolio using WordPress. Each project must contain:
- A written narrative (approx the equivalent to 4-6 double-spaced pages of text, ~ 1000-1500 words). This narrative must include an introduction to your topic (including the argument you are making and a well-constructed thesis statement) and any relevant context and evidence you’re using to support that argument;
- At least two historical images that you have the legal right to republish;
- At least two visual elements—map, graph, timeline, chart or other similar graphical element– that help support your argument;
- Footnotes or clear citations of the evidence (original sources) and/or scholarship (secondary sources) that you used to support your argument or provide historical context, including links to any that are available online;
- A separate bibliography page of all sources used, organized by Primary and Secondary sources and formatted in Chicago Style;
- Design elements (theme, color, font, etc) that are aesthetically appropriate for your project;
- Navigation and menus that help guide the reader logically through the site.
- Your name; and
- An “About” page that offers a reflection on the project process itself. It should include your rationale for organizing the site the way you did, any challenges you faced in your research and how you overcame them, and anything else you think I should know to grade your project.
These are minimum requirements. Beyond these, it is up to you to decide what else your site needs to contain and how you should present those elements in order to make and support a coherent historical argument. *Please note that if you chose to include a timeline as one of your digital elements, you may not re-use your timeline from earlier in the semester — you must create a new one with a different focus.
There is no final exam. However, you will need to email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) by Monday 12/19 by 7:20 pm to let me know that your project and class portfolio are complete. Projects received after 7:35pm that night will be considered late and will lose points per the course policy regardless of the quality of work.
In order for me to complete final grades, you are going to have to grant me temporary administrative access to your class portfolio (you can delete me once final grades are in PatriotWeb). We will cover this assignment and the administrative rights extensively in class.