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 crime in Chicago’s history. This project will demonstrate your ability to take a lot of information — including data, patterns, trends, or other information from the Chicago Homicide Database and any other evidence you find through your primary source research — and craft an answer to your research question. You will make an argument about the meaning of your findings and communicate that argument in a compelling digital project.
Your final project has two components:
Your project proposal will be due on April 18th before class and should address three key components:
- Your research question: What are you studying? Why? What do you hope to understand?
- The main primary sources you plan to use to complete your project. Please annotate with 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 in your home style (ALA, MLA, Chicago) and include the website, collection, or archives where each is located.
- Note that the Chicago Homicide Project Database should be one of your primary sources. Give a brief annotation of how you intend to use the data there.
- 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 in your home style (ALA, MLA, Chicago) for each source.
Please publish your proposal as a blog post and submit your post URL to me via the Assignment Submission Form. I will accept early submissions, but anything emailed to me after April 18th at 7:30pm triggers the course late policy and will points accordingly. I will only grade proposals submitted through the Assignment Form.
Final Project (40%)
You’re going to build out your project into a cohesive digital project site on your course portfolio. 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 data visualizations — graphs, maps, charts, or similar graphical elements—created by you based on your original research 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 your home citation style;
- Design & presentation 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” or “Reflection” page that offers a personal 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. Please include 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.
The grading rubric is available here.
There is no final exam. However, you will need to submit your final project URL via the Assignment Submission Form by Wednesday, May 9th at 10:15pm to let me know that your project and class portfolio are complete. Projects received after 11pm on May 9th will be considered late and will lose points per the course policy regardless of the quality of work.
I will not grade final projects unless you officially turn them in using the Assignment Submission Form.
Last updated: April 10, 2018 at 9:16 am