Spring 2019 Syllabus

Digital Humanities Methods and Practices

Spring 2019 59880 – MALS 75500 |   Cross-listed with MALS 75300.

Dr. Andrea Silva @andiesilva Tuesdays 6:30pm-8:30pm CUNY Graduate

Center, Room 3207

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Course hashtag: #dhpraxis19


Course Description

Digital Humanities Methods and Practices is the second course in a year-long sequence of two three-credit courses introduces students to the landscape of digital humanities tools and methods through readings and classroom and online discussions, lectures offered by prominent scholars and technologists, hands-on workshops, and collaborative projects. Students enrolled in the two-course sequence will complete their first year at the GC having been introduced to a broad range of ways to critically evaluate and to incorporate digital technologies into their academic research and teaching. In addition, they will have explored both the general field of Digital Humanities and a particular area of digital scholarship and/or digital pedagogy of interest to them, produced a digital project in collaboration with fellow students, and established a digital portfolio that can be used to display their work.

During the Fall 2019 semester, students explored the landscape of the digital humanities, considering a range of ways to approach DH work and proposing potential DH projects. In the spring, we will put that thinking into action by refining and producing a small number of those projects. This praxis-oriented course will ask students to organize into teams and, by the end of the semester, produce a project prototype. Upon completion of the course, students will have gained hands-on experience in the conceptualizing, planning, production, and dissemination of a digital humanities project. Student work for this course will demonstrate a variety of technical, project management, and rhetorical skills. One of our goals is to produce well-conceived, long-term projects that have the potential to extend beyond the Spring 2019 semester. A range of advisors will be matched to support the needs of each individual project. Successful completion of the class will require a rigorous commitment to meeting deadlines and benchmarks established at the beginning of the course.

The class will hold a public event at the end of the semester where students will launch their projects and receive feedback from the DH academic community.

Learning Objectives

Students will…

  • gain hands-on experience in the planning, production, and dissemination of a digital humanities project
  • work collaboratively in teams to produce all aspects of their chosen project, including proposal, data management plans, prototype, and outreach
  • occupy specific roles within their teams in accordance with their strengths and desires for
  • justify key technical, scholarly, and interpersonal decisions especially as they relate to humanistic values through team-based lab journals, public blogging on our course site, and oral presentations;
  • learn to acquire and develop new skills

Requirements and Structure Weekly Class Sessions

This is a praxis-based course, so most of our class sessions will be devoted to team

meetings, project work, informal and formal presentations, and consultations with Graduate Center Digital Fellows. Weekly readings will be assigned on an as-needed basis. Students are expected to be working independently and collaboratively every week on their projects and project plans.

Progress Reports and Social Media Presence

Each team will produce at least one public, process-oriented project report each week, to be posted on our shared course blog and tagged with a project-specific tag. Reports should catalogue project activities, discuss the progress that’s been made, explore tricky problems, reach out to the general public with questions, and cultivate interest in the project. Group posts are due by midnight each Wednesday. Students are encouraged to read and respond to group posts with suggestions, feedback, and constructive criticism.

Each team should also create a social media presence for their projects and use such accounts to share information and build an audience for the project.

Individual Lab Journals

Each student will keep an individual journal that should be used to catalogue weekly activities and progress, explore sticky questions, share personal reflections, and work through problems. Journals can be posted publicly or privately to the course blog. They are due by midnight each Sunday.

Project Requirements

  • Projects should relate to the digital humanities as explored through the Fall semester.
  • Project plans should address all aspects of the project life cycle, from development to deployment to testing to launch to
  • Projects must be made publicly available and project code must be open source and accessible
  • All code must be logically organized and clearly
  • A prototype of the project must be realized by the end of the
  • Projects will be launched publicly at the final class of the

Project Report and Personal Reflection

  • A final project report (15-20 pages) must be submitted by each team at the end of the semester.
  • Each student in the class will also submit a paper (3-5 pages) that details their contributions to the project and how the experience of working on it fits into the arc of their professional development and


  • 75% — team project grade
  • 25% — individual grade, based on lab journals, faculty consultations and your contributions to the team


All students should register for accounts on the following sites: CUNY Academic Commons, Twitter, GitHub, and Zotero (the library staff offers several very good intro workshops on Zotero that you are encouraged to attend). Additional recommended project management tools to be discussed later in term include Slack, Basecamp, and Trello.

Although you do not need to register for any accounts using your real or full name, you should consider using the same username across platforms for the sake of consistency and long-term searchability. We will publish a good deal of public writing this term, so please write with care and special attention to not just spelling and grammar but also tone. Avoid publishing anything you might want to delete later, as it is hard to trust that anything in the internet can really ever be erased.

Required Books

You are not required to purchase any books this term. Assigned readings are provided in the schedule.

Academic Accommodations & Accessibility

Qualified students with disabilities will be provided reasonable academic accommodations if determined eligible by the Graduate Center’s Disability Services Office. Prior to granting disability accommodations in this course, the instructor must receive written verification of a student’s eligibility from the DS Office, which is located in room 7301 at the GC and which can be reached by emailing . It is the student’s responsibility to initiate contact with the office and to follow the established procedures for having the accommodation notice sent to the instructor.



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