Class Schedule

Week 1: Thursday January 24: Class Goals and Outcomes

This class will introduce the course and its goals, discuss assignments and introduce the main platforms.

Dian Schons, the SSHGS Pathways coordinator, will hold a Career Conversation focusing on history and history-related jobs and digital skills.

Assignment: Write a short biography that discusses your academic interests and career interests. Select a photograph or illustration for the biography. We will use these next week.

Week 2: Monday January 28: Definitions and Examples of Digital History

We will explore definitions of digital history, looking at distinctions between traditional historical research and writing and history aimed for digital publication. We will explore the various kinds of digital projects and how they apply to history.

Read and React Before Class:

Due: React to Readings #1: What does Digital History Mean to You?

Assignment: Review the list of 1919 Events in preparation for selection next class.

Thursday January 31: Writing for the Web

We will discuss how writing for the public and for presentation on the web differs from writing research papers, how the use of links and media change the way that we read and cite papers.

Read Before Class:


  • Richard A. Marius and Melvin E. Page,  A Short Guide to Writing about History (2015).

Lab: Introduction to WordPress and the Discovering 1919 Site.

Students will create Basecamp and WordPress accounts, learn to create biographical blog posts. Students will select topics for Discovering 1919 blog assignment.

Assignment: Mapping Historography.

Week 3: Monday February 4:  Changing modes of research

Discussion and exploration of the ways historians’ research has changed with the advent of digital tools and search engines. We will look at examples of major open-source resources, genealogical databases, and image databases.

Christina Connor will speak to the class on research databases and locating secondary resources at the George Potter Library.

Read Before Class:

Thursday February 7: Lab: Using Historical Newspapers

We will explore, Proquest Historical Newspapers, the Library of Congress’ Chronicling America, and Fulton Search. We will use Basecamp to organize research.

Read Before Class:

Week 4: Monday, February 11: Digitizing Historical Sources and Metadata

We will discuss the reasons why primary source materials are digitized, and how the methods used relate to the scholarly purposes. Students will be introduced to the basics of scanning, taking digital photographs of historical objects and artifacts, transcription and quality control.

Read for Class:

Due: Source List for Historiography Assignment.

Thursday February 14: Lab: Designing Metadata

Students working in teams will design metadata for historical sources.

Week 5: Monday, February 18: Mahwah Newspaper Project

Students scan and create metadata for newspaper clippings from the Mahwah Museum.

Read Before Class:

Due: Discovering 1919 Blog Post #1 Draft Due.

Thursday, February 21: Digital Mapping and GIS

Geographic Information Systems have transformed the way the historians use maps. We will look at some examples of maps that allow us to present history in new and different ways.

Read Before Class:

  • David J. Bodenheimer, “The Spatial Humanities: Space, Time, and Place in the New Digital Age,” in HDA, Chap. 1.

Lab: Customizing Google Maps

  • Students will add points related to their blog post to the shared Discovering 1919 map.


Week 6: Monday, February 25:

It’s About Time: Creating Digital Timelines

We will discuss how historians use time and timelines to organize and visualize their work.

Lab: Building a Timeline with Timeline JS

Class will build a 1919 timeline using TimelineJS to plot events covered in the Discovering 1919 blog.

Thursday, February 28: Lab: Historiography Story Map

StoryMap JS will be introduced. Students will break into groups and begin building their StoryMap, assigning pages to group members and discussing next steps.

Week 7: Monday, March 4: Analyzing Good and Bad Websites

We will discuss how you can tell the difference between good web-based resources and bad ones.  We will look at audience, intent, mechanics, and documentation.

Prepare Before Class:

  • Search for digital archives of primary sources relevant to our study of 1919. Post the URL of one good and one bad site on Basecamp and be prepared to present them.
  • Search for a history-based website with secondary sources or popular history on topics relevant to our study of 1919. Post the URLS of one good and one bad site on Basecamp and be prepared to present them.

Thursday March 7: Lab: Group Work on Discovering 1919 Site

Building on what we learned about websites, students will identify ways to add pages and widgets to the Discovering 1919 website to better tie together the blog posts.

Week 8: Monday, March 11: Lab: Historiography Story Map Groups/Discovering 1919 site work

Students will work on adding additional events to their story maps and work on developing the Discovering 1919 site.

Thursday, March 14: Research Lab

Prepare Before Class:

Students should post  at least three research issues or questions to Basecamp.

  • Are you having trouble locating  primary sources?
  • Are you having trouble locating images or videos?
  • Are you having trouble with WordPress?
  • Are you having trouble with interpretation?

Week 9: March 18-21: SPRING BREAK

Week10: Monday March 25: Crowdsourcing History

Discussion of how the interactivity of the web enables historians to reach out to their audience, have their audience respond, and tap into the digital community for assistance in the form of crowdsourcing.  Students will practice crowdsourcing, selecting a project to work with for their assignment.


Due: Discovering 1919 Blog Post #2 Draft Due.

Lab: Crowdsourcing

Students will select and  join a crowdsourcing site.

Thursday March 28: Historiography Story Map Lab

Due by end of class: Historiography StoryMaps. Presentations at end of class

Week 11: Monday, April 1: Data Visualization

Discussion about new tools for historical research that rely on distance reading, algorithms, and visualization in order to reach new conclusions.

Read Before Class:

Due: React to Readings: Visualizing History via Perusall

Thursday, April 4: Lab:  Visualizing the Census

Students will work using Social Explorer to analyze census data  and build visualizations that tell us something about what America was like in 1919.

Read Before Class:

Due: Crowdsourcing Presentation

Week 12: Monday, April 8: Infographics Lab

Read Before Class:

Prepare Before Class:

  • Find two infographics that interpret some aspect of history and post them to Basecamp. Look at where they get their data and how they present it. Be prepared to present them.

Lab: Creating Infographics

Students will develop infographics based on research done for the Discovering 1919 site or their Social Explorer Maps, or a combination of both.

Thursday, April 11: Discovering 1919 Site Lab

Students will work on improving the Discovering 1919 site and their blog posts.

Prepare Before Class:

Post three ideas for adding content and interpretation to the site to Basecamp.

Week 13: Monday, April 15: Discovering 1919  Lab

Students will do peer review on selected blog posts and work within themes to connect posts with interpretations or visualizations.


  • Read three posts assigned to you.
    • On overall presentation-appearance, navigation
    • On content – writing style, citations, analysis
    • Is anything confusing? Not well explained? Not supported by fact?

Thursday, April 18: Discovering 1919 Site Lab

Students will work on tasks associated with improving Discovering 1919 Site Lab.

Week14:  Monday, April 22: Making Games out of History / Jeremiah McCall Video and Live Questions and Answers.

Jeremiah McCall will present a video and then engage in a live questions and answers session via teleconference. A discussion of how we use simulations and visualizations of history to teach and entertain, the challenges, and research behind making history come alive.



Bring three questions about simulations and history games for education to class.

Thursday, April 28: Lab:  Video Game Pitch

Week 15: April 29:  (No Class)

  • Students can sign up for time blocks to go over any questions/issues. See Basecamp.

Thursday, May 1:  Problems With Digital History

Discussion about the risks that digital history poses, specifically the challenges to professional authority and the fragile nature of digital media.

Read Three  Before Class and be prepared to discuss:

Due: Reaction Paper — On the Dangers of Digital History

Week 16: Monday, May 6: Discovering 1919 Lab

Student  will have time to work on the Discovering 1919 site, consult with me, and create and assign any last-minute work needed.

May 10:

Due: Final 1919 Blog Posts and Discovering 1919 projects.

May 13: Final Exam

Time: 11:40

Room: Laurel 006.