THATCamp CHNM 2013–Teaching Digital History

Schedule and Links for THATCamp CHNM 2013 Workshop on Teaching Digital History

Jeff McClurken, University of Mary Washington


  1. Introduction

  2. Digitally inflected versus digitally centered history courses

  3. Overview of my own Digital History course

    1. Goals

    2. Class structure

    3. Projects

  4. Finding syllabi for other digital history courses

  5. Discussion of key issues for creating a Digital History Course

    1. Digitally inflected content class or digital history class

      1. (Related) — Class size? Class level (what year)?

    2. Group vs. individual projects

    3. Student technical skills

      1. Link to student skills pre-assessment survey that I use

      2. Another sample survey from Caleb McDaniel (Rice)

    4. What tools will you offer them to use?

      1. Single tool vs. multiple vs. toolbox

    5. Finding the right sources/projects/approaches

    6. Grading the digital history project

    7. Explaining to your colleagues (and your students) why this is relevant

  6. Workshop your own classes (in small groups)

    1. Discuss your priorities/goals

    2. Address the major choices discussed in issues section.

    3. By the end, try to have a

      1. Title

      2. Key goals (2-3)

      3. Major assignment and/or project and/or structure for the course

      4. Decision on Individual vs. group projects

      5. Brief justification for why your department/school needs this class.

    4. If time, share with neighboring groups.

  7. Final thoughts

Session Links (Add your own in the comments)


  1. Examples of digitally inflected courses

    1. US History in Film, History of American Technology & Culture, History of the Information Age

  2. Adventures in Digital History — HIST 471C3

    1. 2008 Course Site; 2010 Course Site; 2012 course site

  3. Class components

    1. 2012 Class Syllabus

    2. Digital Tool Kit

      1. “digital toolbox” for students to use – UMWBlogs (WordPress), Omeka ( — hosted), timeline authoring tools such as  Simile Timeline (also available as a WordPress plugin) and Neatline (for Omeka), basic video/audio editing tools, YouTube, Vimeo, Flickr.

    3. Sample Group Contract

      1. My ProfHacker piece on using Student Contracts

  4. 2008 Projects

    1. Historical Markers Project

    2. UMW Alumni Project

    3. James Farmer Project

    4. James Monroe Papers Project

  5. 2010 Projects

    1. UMW Images Project

    2. Life and Legacy of Mary Ball Washington

    3. James Monroe’s Letters as Minister to France

    4. City of Hospitals: Fredericksburg in the Civil War

  6. 2012 Projects

    1. James Monroe Museum Political Cartoons

    2. James Farmer Lectures Project

    3. UMW Buildings Project

    4. Southeast Virginia Historical Markers Project — A New Locale

  7. My blog posts on the course (and other digitally inflected courses)


  8. Student Reflections on Digital Projects/Blogging

    1. Be sure to check out Elle W.’s detailed semester account and the Mud Pit’s wrangling with WordPress at UMW (with a little teasing of the professor at the end…), while the post title says it all about this student’s reaction to the end of the semester and of blogging in this FSEM course.

  9. Other Digital History Courses

    1. Lisa Spiro’s presentation on and collection of 134 Digital Humanities syllabi (60+ are history courses)

      1. DH Education Zotero Group

    2. George Mason University

      1. Clio Wired 1, 2, 3, for graduate students

        1. Clio Wired — Theory and Practice of Digital History: Dan Cohen; Sharon Leon.

        2. Clio 2–History and New Media (Paula Petrik)

        3. Clio 3–Programming for Historians (Fred Gibbs)

          1. Reflection on Clio 3’s inaugural offering by Gibbs

        4. Teaching & LEarning History in the Digital Age — Mills Kelly

      2. Undergraduate digital history — The Digital Past — Dan Cohen, Amanda French, Sharon Leon

    3. Other courses

      1. Digital History Seminar at UVA by Scot French and Bill Ferster (2007)

      2. Digital Historian’s Toolkit at Stanford by Cameron Blevins (Fall 2012)

      3. History in the New Media at NYU by Cathy Hajo

      4. Digital History Masterclass at Rice by Caleb McDaniel (Fall 2012)

        1. McDaniel’s Civil War class at Rice, which produced an Omeka exhibit

        2. See other digitally inflected classes of McDaniel’s on his site.

      5. Intro to the Digital Humanities at Worcester State by Tona Hangen (Winter 2012)

        1. See other digitally inflected classes of Hangen on her site.

      6. Digital History at IUPUI by Jason Kelly (Spring 2013)

      7. Wheaton College Digital History Project — Several of Kathryn Tomasek’s classes have added to this project.

      8. Undergrad/Grad “introductory” course and graduate seminars offered at University of Nebraska offered by Doug Seefeldt and Will Thomas,

      9. Digitally inflected Introduction to Public History course at UNC-Chapel Hill (Anne Whisnant)

  10. Links related to our discussion topics

    1. Example of Individual Projects contributing to greater whole

    2. My ProfHacker post on Students as Tech Mentors

    3. History Engine is an ongoing project requiring low technical skills, individual project (that contributes to larger whole).

    4. History Harvest — From Will Thomas and UNL — allows classes to go into their community to collect, digitize, and curate local primary source materials.

    5. Jointly created rubric for grading DH project

    6. Blog Consent Form from Caleb McDaniel’s classes (example)


  1. Other articles relevant to teaching a digital history class

    1. Jeremy Boggs, Three Roles for Teachers using Technology

    2. Brian Croxall, Teaching Digital Humanities

    3. Amy Cavender, Integrating a Digital Project into a Class (Part 1 & Part 2)

    4. Tanya Clement, Digital Literacy for the Dumbest Generation – A Working Bibliography of Undergraduate Programs Inflected by the Digital Humanities in 2010

    5. Leslie Madsen-Brooks on Students as Curators

    6. From Writing History in the Digital Age, edited by Kristen Nawrotzki and Jack Dougherty —

      1. The Wheaton College Digital History Project: Undergraduate Research in a Local Collection (Kathryn Tomasek)

      2. Towards Teaching the Introductory History Course, Digitally (Tom Harbison and Luke Waltzer)

      3. Learning How to Write Traditional and Digital History (Adrea Lawrence)

    7. From Hacking the Academy, edited by Dan Cohen and Tom Scheinfeldt —

      1. Boone Gorges, On the communal v. the individual student voice

      2. Mills Kelly, You Were Warned, on Mills Kelly’s class on The Last Pirate

    8. Teaching DH 101 — NITLE Webinar with recording


  1. Tools

  1. Digital Publishing Tools

  2. Geography & Geospatial Visualization Tools

  3. Research/Bibliographic Tools

  4. Data Visualization Tools

  5. Collaborative Writing Tools

  6. Video/Audio Resources for Class

  7. Multimedia Editing Tools

  8. Social Media Tools

    1. Articles on Teaching with Social Media

  9. Other Tools/Concepts

  10. Digital Literacy/Fluency, Learning Outcomes and Assessing Technology’s Impact