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FOAR705 – Digital Humanities

2017 – S1 Day

General Information

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Unit convenor and teaching staff Unit convenor and teaching staff Lecturer
Adela Sobotkova
Contact via Email
W6A 510
TBA
Lecturer
Brian Ballsun-Stanton
Contact via Email
W6A 510
TBA
Lecturer
Shawn Ross
Contact via Email
W6A 510
TBA
Brian Ballsun-Stanton
Credit points Credit points
4
Prerequisites Prerequisites
Admission to MRes
Corequisites Corequisites
Co-badged status Co-badged status
Unit description Unit description
This unit explores cross-disciplinary approaches to research that fall under the rubric of ‘digital humanities’, the aim of which is to use technological tools to solve domain problems. We will begin by asking what forms digital humanities research takes, specifically how digital humanities approaches can help answer particular research questions. Since the digital humanities include such a wide range of approaches, students will learn how to frame questions, find appropriate tools and solutions, acquire the knowledge required to deploy those solutions, and present results in an accessible way.
Topics covered by the course include:
-Defining ‘digital humanities’ -Overview of major approaches and tools -Framing questions -Selecting appropriate approaches -Finding and learning appropriate tools -Managing data -Project management -Digital presentation and visualisation -Digital outreach and social media -Digital publication and data sharing This unit is cross-disciplinary, introducing approaches used by or useful for research in (e.g.) history, archaeology, language and literature, anthropology, sociology, cultural studies, political science, etc. Students are encouraged to bring their own disciplinary perspectives to the course, and will explore how their own research can benefit from digital methods.

Important Academic Dates

Information about important academic dates including deadlines for withdrawing from units are available at http://students.mq.edu.au/student_admin/enrolmentguide/academicdates/

Learning Outcomes

  1. Identify useful digital approaches and apply them to your research, integrating these approaches into your MRES thesis planning.
  2. Imagine, scope, and implement new approaches to your research in collaboration with technologists, developing the ability to translate between the domains of humanists and technologists in the process.
  3. Characterise and critique the digital cultures associated with open source, hacker, and e-research / academic computing / digital humanities movements.
  4. Discerningly utilise web services / applications and social media tools to enhance your academic career.
  5. Learn how to discover and learn new digital tools.

General Assessment Information

General Assessment Information

Unit Requirements and Expectations

You are all HDR students undertaking an MRes-level postgraduate seminar at a research university with an international reputation. As such, we expect a high level of commitment, diligence, and engagement.

Students must achieve an overall mark of 50% or above to complete this unit satisfactorily. A mark of less than 70, however, represents cause for serious concern in an HDR program.

Assignment submission

All written work will be submitted digitally, using a platform we will determine early in the unit (probably not iLearn). Feedback will be provided using the same platform.

Please ensure that others can understand and contextualise your assessment submissions (e.g., who you are, what issue you are addressing, what you are arguing).

Extensions and Special Considerations

All weekly work is due by noon the day before seminar.

Likewise, the eResearch proof-of-concept major project is due by noon the day before the final seminar in Week 13.

Please avoid asking for extensions as missing deadlines complicates the work of markers and puts you behind. If you have to ask for an extension, please request it before the deadline, and only request the extension if you face serious crises that can be documented in some way (e.g. with a medical certificate). ‘Getting behind with your work’ or 'I ran out of time’ are not excuses.

Special Consideration Policy http://www.mq.edu.au/policy/docs/special_consideration/policy.html

Applying for Special Consideration Students applying for Special Consideration circumstances of three (3) consecutive days duration, within a study period, and/or prevent completion of a formal examination must submit an on-line application with the Faculty of Arts. For an application to be valid, it must include a completed Application for Special Consideration form and all supporting documentation.

The online Special Consideration application is found at: http://www.arts.mq.edu.au/current_students/undergraduate/admin_central/

Extensions can only be granted in exceptional cases and may only be sought in consultation with the unit convenor and with support of documentary evidence. If you anticipate any difficulty in meeting assigned due dates then it is important that you contact the course’s convenor as early as possible.

Please avoid asking for extensions as missing deadlines complicates the work of markers and puts you behind. If you have to ask for an extension, request it before the deadline, ‘Getting behind with your work’ or 'I had other deadlines' do not count.

Written assessment tasks submitted after the due date without good reasons will be penalised by a deduction of 2% per day (including weekends) of the mark gained. After five days, a mark of 0% will be assigned.

Written assessment tasks submitted without proper referencing, i.e. little or no page numbers or no bibliography will receive an automatic fail.

Marking Rubric

Your eResearch Proof-of-concept project will be assessed using a rubric, which will be made available to you ahead of time. 

Assessments

  1. MRes thesis proposal and eResearch Proof-of-concept. A proof-of-concept eResearch implementation advancing your provisional thesis project.
  2. Information technology implementation and reflection. Each week you will teach yourself a new digital tool, collectively recording the process and reporting on the experience. 
  3. Seminar participation. Each week you will discuss readings or resources, make a brief presentation about your progress since the previous week, or both. Late in the semester you will make a more formal (but brief) presentation of your project.

Assessment Tasks

Name Weighting Due
eResearch Proof-of-concept 60% Week 13
IT use & reflection 25% Weekly (weeks 1-10)
Seminar participation 15% Weekly (all weeks)

eResearch Proof-of-concept

Due: Week 13
Weighting: 60%

Your principal task for the semester is to develop a proof-of-concept implementation of one or more eResearch approaches in support of a (provisional) MRes thesis proposal. As such, you will need to develop a working proposal, identify and select appropriate tools and techniques, learn the necessary tools, and implement them on a small scale to demonstrate their viability (or rule out their usefulness). Finally, you will critically reflect on the process and results, charting a way forward as you continue your MRes. The rest of the unit supports this assessment.

Note that simply using software to manipulate digital objects (i.e., using office productivity, image / video editing, or other consumer software in an ad hoc manner) is insufficient for this task. You must develop an approach that enhances or transforms your research - and be able to explain how it does so.

Due by noon the day before the final seminar in Week 13.


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • Identify useful digital approaches and apply them to your research, integrating these approaches into your MRES thesis planning.
  • Imagine, scope, and implement new approaches to your research in collaboration with technologists, developing the ability to translate between the domains of humanists and technologists in the process.

IT use & reflection

Due: Weekly (weeks 1-10)
Weighting: 25%

Each week you will complete discrete tasks using digital tools. Work in groups to learn the tools, but by the end you should all have individually completed the task. You will be provided with some general guidance, but not given specific instructions. You will collectively find the help you need online and work together to complete the implementation, building your capacity to learn new tools in the process. As you undertake the task - whether you are successful or not - collectively record the process (to help you repeat it later), successes, difficulties, and frustrations you experienced, and we will debrief during the next seminar. You will be provided with a shared space for this journal; collectively you only have to work out and record the process once, and your commentary on the process can also be a joint effort. Early in the semester you may be asked to use and review existing tools or resources, but as the semester progresses you will increasingly be asked to implement or instantiate tools yourself.


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • Identify useful digital approaches and apply them to your research, integrating these approaches into your MRES thesis planning.
  • Imagine, scope, and implement new approaches to your research in collaboration with technologists, developing the ability to translate between the domains of humanists and technologists in the process.
  • Discerningly utilise web services / applications and social media tools to enhance your academic career.
  • Learn how to discover and learn new digital tools.

Seminar participation

Due: Weekly (all weeks)
Weighting: 15%

Each week you will discuss readings or resources, make a brief presentation about your progress since the previous week, or both. Late in the semester you will make a more formal (but brief) presentation of your project.


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • Identify useful digital approaches and apply them to your research, integrating these approaches into your MRES thesis planning.
  • Characterise and critique the digital cultures associated with open source, hacker, and e-research / academic computing / digital humanities movements.
  • Discerningly utilise web services / applications and social media tools to enhance your academic career.

Delivery and Resources

Unit structure

For the first half of the semester, each weekly seminar is divided into two parts:

  1. eResearch culture
  2. Digital tools

Each week you will engage with existing eResearch tools or projects, which you will present during seminar. You will also work towards developing your own online presence and toolkit, and begin keeping keeping your reflective journal related to the tools you use (we will debrief about problems, opportunities, successes, and failures in class). 

Beginning with Week 4, we will collaboratively decide what to pursue in more depth, and you can suggest what tools we should explore. 

NB: All weekly activities must be complete and available online by noon the day before seminar.

Unit Guide

Students should check the Unit Guide for deadlines and instructions. The best way to start on a path to success it to read and understand it. Once you have read this Unit Guide, please email us a picture of a dinosaur.

Unit Schedule

Week Digital Culture / seminar presentation Digital task / written reflection / in-class debriefing eResearch proof-of-concept
1

Look at several mature eResearch projects. Choose one for review.

Lists of possible projects can be found in (for example) Digital Humanities course outlines (e.g., at Emory or Virginia Tech), and elsewhere online.

Be prepared to present one project during seminar in Week 2. 

The form and content of this review is up to you, but you might one to consider one or two of the following questions as a starting point (do not try to answer them all - less is more!).

  • Why did the author(s) instantiate this project as a digital project instead of using a more traditional medium? What about this project makes it 'eResearch' or 'Digital Humanities'?
  • What does this project tell us about its subject that a 'traditional' research project could not?
  • What are the strengths of the project? 
  • What are the shortcomings of the project?
  • How could the project be improved?

Remixed from: Quinn Warnick (2015). 'Analysis of a Digital Humanities Project'.

Develop a professional, academic web presence / social media plan. 

Resources to get you started:

Write a Social Media Plan (gov.au) 

Prepare a Social Media Plan (uchicago.edu)

Social Media Strategy for Higher Education (slideshare)

Reflect on your experience, noting problems or opportunities.

 
2

Next, browse some Digital Humanities publications (or other eResearch publications related to your discipline if you are in the Arts or Social Sciences) and locate / read one or two scholarly article(s) discussing eResearch infrastructure.

Now, revisit your eReserach project from last week, and examine what infrastructure they use. Be prepared to present this information in Week 3.

As you examine your chosen projects, record what sort of software infrastructure they run on (the types of software as well as the specific packages / libraries used). Note whether this software is proprietary or open source.

Consider one or two of the following questions:

  • Why are some academic projects successful with their infrastructure choices and what differentiates them from failed projects?
  • Why do so many eResearch projects use OSS tools?
  • Might you want to use OS software? Why, and in what cases, would / should you use proprietary software? 

Establish your own working environment infrastructure and document your choices in context of common choices from your discipline:

  • Mint or Ubuntu or a cloud instance on NeCTAR: your choice of OSS distro.  (Describe your preferred interaction methods)
  • Writing Environment
    • ​Google Drive?
    • LibreOffice?
    • Vim?
    • Sublime Text?
    • GitHub?
  • ​Analysis environment
    • ​Google drive?
    • DBMS?
    • LibreOffice?
    • Linux command line tools?
  • GitHub (how would you use a dvcs in your research and writing?)
  • Tools appropriate to your discipline
  • Data integrity (backup solutions to protect against data loss on any machine you work on).

(Further details in Week 01)

Reflect on your experience with these technologies.

 
3 Consider the technologies you are evaluating / implementing to undertake this class. We have pushed you towards OSS alternatives to popular proprietary software, and to consider software beyond office productivity suites - often tools developed by and for technologists. How would you characterise your encounter with these tools? In the bigger picture, does infrastructure matter (either to your own work, or to eResearch projects)? Be ready to present your response during seminar in Week 4. Continuation of previous week. Provisional thesis topic and one-paragraph prospectus due.
4 Remaining classes are contingent upon student needs and interests - we will begin discussions about them in class during Week 01.  
5     eResearch approach for Proof-of-concept defined.
6      
7      
8      
9     Informal presentation of PoC elaboration, progress, and problems.
10      
11      
12      
13     Formal, brief presentation of thesis topic and eResearch PoC

 

Learning and Teaching Activities

MRes thesis proposal and eResearch Proof-of-concept

The goal of this course is to accelerate and improve your own research (and other aspects of your academic life) through the judicious application of technology. As such, the centrepiece of the course will be your development of a proof-of-concept implementation of one or more digital tools of your choice in support of a provisional MRes thesis proposal.

eResearch and digital culture readings / artefacts

Each week you will receive readings (usually online resources or digital artefacts), relating to eResearch and/or digital culture, which we will discuss them in seminar.

Digital tool tasks (group work)

Each week you will also be assigned a task to accomplish with selected digital tools. One of the major objects of this course is for you to learn how to discover and learn new tools. As such, we will provide minimal instruction, but you have recourse to a variety of online resources to guide you. You can, and should, work in (virtual or RL) groups on these tasks. You will also be given a shared space to jointly record the process of implementation so that you can repeat it later if it proves useful, and write about your experience (especially any frustrations you have!). We will discuss successes and problems in seminar.

Policies and Procedures

Macquarie University policies and procedures are accessible from Policy Central. Students should be aware of the following policies in particular with regard to Learning and Teaching:

Academic Honesty Policy http://mq.edu.au/policy/docs/academic_honesty/policy.html

Assessment Policy http://mq.edu.au/policy/docs/assessment/policy_2016.html

Grade Appeal Policy http://mq.edu.au/policy/docs/gradeappeal/policy.html

Complaint Management Procedure for Students and Members of the Public http://www.mq.edu.au/policy/docs/complaint_management/procedure.html​

Disruption to Studies Policy http://www.mq.edu.au/policy/docs/disruption_studies/policy.html The Disruption to Studies Policy is effective from March 3 2014 and replaces the Special Consideration Policy.

In addition, a number of other policies can be found in the Learning and Teaching Category of Policy Central.

Student Code of Conduct

Macquarie University students have a responsibility to be familiar with the Student Code of Conduct: https://students.mq.edu.au/support/student_conduct/

Results

Results shown in iLearn, or released directly by your Unit Convenor, are not confirmed as they are subject to final approval by the University. Once approved, final results will be sent to your student email address and will be made available in eStudent. For more information visit ask.mq.edu.au.

Student Support

Macquarie University provides a range of support services for students. For details, visit http://students.mq.edu.au/support/

Learning Skills

Learning Skills (mq.edu.au/learningskills) provides academic writing resources and study strategies to improve your marks and take control of your study.

Student Enquiry Service

For all student enquiries, visit Student Connect at ask.mq.edu.au

Equity Support

Students with a disability are encouraged to contact the Disability Service who can provide appropriate help with any issues that arise during their studies.

IT Help

For help with University computer systems and technology, visit http://www.mq.edu.au/about_us/offices_and_units/information_technology/help/

When using the University's IT, you must adhere to the Acceptable Use of IT Resources Policy. The policy applies to all who connect to the MQ network including students.

Graduate Capabilities

PG - Discipline Knowledge and Skills

Our postgraduates will be able to demonstrate a significantly enhanced depth and breadth of knowledge, scholarly understanding, and specific subject content knowledge in their chosen fields.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Identify useful digital approaches and apply them to your research, integrating these approaches into your MRES thesis planning.
  • Imagine, scope, and implement new approaches to your research in collaboration with technologists, developing the ability to translate between the domains of humanists and technologists in the process.

Assessment tasks

  • eResearch Proof-of-concept
  • IT use & reflection
  • Seminar participation

Learning and teaching activities

  • The goal of this course is to accelerate and improve your own research (and other aspects of your academic life) through the judicious application of technology. As such, the centrepiece of the course will be your development of a proof-of-concept implementation of one or more digital tools of your choice in support of a provisional MRes thesis proposal.
  • Each week you will receive readings (usually online resources or digital artefacts), relating to eResearch and/or digital culture, which we will discuss them in seminar.

PG - Effective Communication

Our postgraduates will be able to communicate effectively and convey their views to different social, cultural, and professional audiences. They will be able to use a variety of technologically supported media to communicate with empathy using a range of written, spoken or visual formats.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Imagine, scope, and implement new approaches to your research in collaboration with technologists, developing the ability to translate between the domains of humanists and technologists in the process.
  • Discerningly utilise web services / applications and social media tools to enhance your academic career.

Assessment tasks

  • eResearch Proof-of-concept
  • IT use & reflection
  • Seminar participation

Learning and teaching activities

  • The goal of this course is to accelerate and improve your own research (and other aspects of your academic life) through the judicious application of technology. As such, the centrepiece of the course will be your development of a proof-of-concept implementation of one or more digital tools of your choice in support of a provisional MRes thesis proposal.

PG - Critical, Analytical and Integrative Thinking

Our postgraduates will be capable of utilising and reflecting on prior knowledge and experience, of applying higher level critical thinking skills, and of integrating and synthesising learning and knowledge from a range of sources and environments. A characteristic of this form of thinking is the generation of new, professionally oriented knowledge through personal or group-based critique of practice and theory.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Identify useful digital approaches and apply them to your research, integrating these approaches into your MRES thesis planning.
  • Imagine, scope, and implement new approaches to your research in collaboration with technologists, developing the ability to translate between the domains of humanists and technologists in the process.
  • Characterise and critique the digital cultures associated with open source, hacker, and e-research / academic computing / digital humanities movements.
  • Learn how to discover and learn new digital tools.

Assessment tasks

  • eResearch Proof-of-concept
  • IT use & reflection
  • Seminar participation

Learning and teaching activities

  • The goal of this course is to accelerate and improve your own research (and other aspects of your academic life) through the judicious application of technology. As such, the centrepiece of the course will be your development of a proof-of-concept implementation of one or more digital tools of your choice in support of a provisional MRes thesis proposal.
  • Each week you will receive readings (usually online resources or digital artefacts), relating to eResearch and/or digital culture, which we will discuss them in seminar.
  • Each week you will also be assigned a task to accomplish with selected digital tools. One of the major objects of this course is for you to learn how to discover and learn new tools. As such, we will provide minimal instruction, but you have recourse to a variety of online resources to guide you. You can, and should, work in (virtual or RL) groups on these tasks. You will also be given a shared space to jointly record the process of implementation so that you can repeat it later if it proves useful, and write about your experience (especially any frustrations you have!). We will discuss successes and problems in seminar.

PG - Research and Problem Solving Capability

Our postgraduates will be capable of systematic enquiry; able to use research skills to create new knowledge that can be applied to real world issues, or contribute to a field of study or practice to enhance society. They will be capable of creative questioning, problem finding and problem solving.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Identify useful digital approaches and apply them to your research, integrating these approaches into your MRES thesis planning.
  • Imagine, scope, and implement new approaches to your research in collaboration with technologists, developing the ability to translate between the domains of humanists and technologists in the process.
  • Learn how to discover and learn new digital tools.

Assessment tasks

  • eResearch Proof-of-concept
  • IT use & reflection
  • Seminar participation

Learning and teaching activities

  • The goal of this course is to accelerate and improve your own research (and other aspects of your academic life) through the judicious application of technology. As such, the centrepiece of the course will be your development of a proof-of-concept implementation of one or more digital tools of your choice in support of a provisional MRes thesis proposal.
  • Each week you will receive readings (usually online resources or digital artefacts), relating to eResearch and/or digital culture, which we will discuss them in seminar.
  • Each week you will also be assigned a task to accomplish with selected digital tools. One of the major objects of this course is for you to learn how to discover and learn new tools. As such, we will provide minimal instruction, but you have recourse to a variety of online resources to guide you. You can, and should, work in (virtual or RL) groups on these tasks. You will also be given a shared space to jointly record the process of implementation so that you can repeat it later if it proves useful, and write about your experience (especially any frustrations you have!). We will discuss successes and problems in seminar.

PG - Engaged and Responsible, Active and Ethical Citizens

Our postgraduates will be ethically aware and capable of confident transformative action in relation to their professional responsibilities and the wider community. They will have a sense of connectedness with others and country and have a sense of mutual obligation. They will be able to appreciate the impact of their professional roles for social justice and inclusion related to national and global issues

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Characterise and critique the digital cultures associated with open source, hacker, and e-research / academic computing / digital humanities movements.
  • Discerningly utilise web services / applications and social media tools to enhance your academic career.

Assessment tasks

  • IT use & reflection
  • Seminar participation

Learning and teaching activities

  • Each week you will receive readings (usually online resources or digital artefacts), relating to eResearch and/or digital culture, which we will discuss them in seminar.
  • Each week you will also be assigned a task to accomplish with selected digital tools. One of the major objects of this course is for you to learn how to discover and learn new tools. As such, we will provide minimal instruction, but you have recourse to a variety of online resources to guide you. You can, and should, work in (virtual or RL) groups on these tasks. You will also be given a shared space to jointly record the process of implementation so that you can repeat it later if it proves useful, and write about your experience (especially any frustrations you have!). We will discuss successes and problems in seminar.

PG - Capable of Professional and Personal Judgment and Initiative

Our postgraduates will demonstrate a high standard of discernment and common sense in their professional and personal judgment. They will have the ability to make informed choices and decisions that reflect both the nature of their professional work and their personal perspectives.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcome

  • Discerningly utilise web services / applications and social media tools to enhance your academic career.

Assessment tasks

  • IT use & reflection
  • Seminar participation

Learning and teaching activities

  • Each week you will also be assigned a task to accomplish with selected digital tools. One of the major objects of this course is for you to learn how to discover and learn new tools. As such, we will provide minimal instruction, but you have recourse to a variety of online resources to guide you. You can, and should, work in (virtual or RL) groups on these tasks. You will also be given a shared space to jointly record the process of implementation so that you can repeat it later if it proves useful, and write about your experience (especially any frustrations you have!). We will discuss successes and problems in seminar.

Changes from Previous Offering

Assignments and assessment have been simplified since last year. The unit has been broadened from Digital Humanities to eResearch more broadly.

Getting technical help

In this unit, we are asking you to 'learn how to discover and learn' digital tools. As such, many of your weekly 'IT implementation' assignments will come with few or no instructions from us. Rest assured, however, that instructions and help are available.

With that in mind, do not contact us with technical questions until you have completed - and documented - the following process:

  1. Avail yourself all help provided of the creators of the tool or technology.
  2. Search online (including the Stack Exchange Network, YouTube, etc.)
  3. Ask your classmates.

If you are still unsuccessful after going through this process, then you should:

  1. Replicate the error or failure (don't just try once!).
  2. Document exactly where and how your implementation failed, including any errors, in your 'reflection'.

We will review failures and errors before class, and either contact you or (more likely) walk you through the problem in class.