This course, which satisfies the university’s foundation IT requirement, prepares you to use and understand a wide variety of current and emerging digital technologies—everything from basic office collaboration tools to more complex services such as databases and digital maps. This course teaches the fundamentals of information technology within the context of a history course rather than as a set of abstract principles or discrete skills tied to particular software packages. You are not required to have a background in history, just an open mind, and a willingness to experiment with online tools.
In addition to the university’s five foundational IT learning outcomes:
- You will learn to understand basic information technology concepts and technologies and be able to analyze newly experienced sites and technologies.
- You will learn to evaluate information online, understand some of the ethical challenges of digital technology, and balance the trade-offs between technical efficiency and data security.
- You will explore the key issues, analyses, critical debates, opportunities, and potential drawbacks in using new media in the service of a research project.
- You will learn to use the more sophisticated features of digital tools and media. You will also learn to use these tools to help you support a historical argument. You will publish a digital work of historical scholarship and create a digital portfolio of your work.
To achieve these learning goals we will use a combination of reading, writing, exploring, and experimenting with digital tools and materials. You will learn some foundational material, but in most weeks you will attempt to make or do something historical using your newly-learned skills.
Persistence and a willingness to try many approaches will be a key to doing well in this course. For many, this work with digital tools will be a new experience, and it is important to remember that a crucial part of learning is failing. Not every exercise may go successfully, and we may make mistakes. If we reflect on those mistakes, we can all learn from them.