What to Expect

Course Description

Mondays, 7:20 to 10:00, Fall 2015
402 Research Hall

This course is designed to introduce graduate students to the theories and methods of digital history. Over the last 17 years (check out the syllabus from 1998), the course has prepared a generation of graduate students to do cutting edge historical work in a digital environment, using digital tools and methods. Through the semester we will pursue both the technical and theoretical aspects of digital history. This means that our work will include a combination of readings in the field, assessments of existing digital sites and tools, and hands on work with those tools. In the end, you will be equipped to attack your own digital history projects.

Course Goals and Objectives

By the close of the semester you will have:

  1. formed an understanding of the scope of the field of digital history and the work that has been produced in that field;
  2. gained a familiarity with the scholarly community that works on digital history and their current major debates;
  3. developed a sense of the ways that digital history work fits into the larger concerns of scholarly communication and the digital humanities as a whole;
  4. established a working knowledge the basic tools and methods of digital history;
  5. and established a scholarly digital identity and begun creating your own digital history work.

Readings and Technology Requirements

All of the readings for the course will be provided through this course site or from the Mason Libraries’ databases.

You will need to sign up for a paid server account with Reclaim Hosting at a cost of $25. You’ll use this account to create your own blog and to experiment with tools and software.

You will need to bring a functional computing device (laptop preferred) with wireless access to each class meeting.

Mason uses only Mason e-mail accounts to communicate with enrolled students. Students must activate their Mason e-mail account, use it to communicate with their department and other administrative units, and check it regularly for important university information including messages related to this class. See http://masonlive.gmu.edu for more information.

Grade Distribution

  • Participation and Attendance (10%): This course cannot be successful without the engagement and participation of the members of the class. We have only one evening a week together and a tremendous amount of material to cover so that we meet our learning goals. Therefore, you will be responsible for attending every class period, taking an active part in discussion, and respectfully offering feedback to your classmates.
  • “Works in Progress” Site and Out of Class Conversation (20%): Outside of the classroom, you will be responsible for offering a written response to the weeks’ materials and practicum assignments. You should post all of this work and your reflections (by Saturday before class) on a course blog that you will create for the first class meeting. In particular, it would be nice if your reflections reached out into your other course work to reflect the larger context of your professional interests and train. In addition to posting your reflections each week, you should read and comment on those of your classmates. I would like very much for this interaction to constitute an organic exchange outside of our time together, so I hope that you will eventually do beyond the basics of these requirements. In addition to our face to face discuss, I invite you to use your “Works in Progress” site and twitter as a means to share materials and insights. Our hashtag for the semester will be #cliowired.
  • Leading one week of class discussion with a partner (15%): You will be responsible for leading one discussion with one of your classmates. I will grade the quality of your preparation and your ability to engage your colleagues with the material for the week, including the readings, the tools, and the websites on the syllabus.
  • Major Project #1: ODH-SUG, Level II Proposal (25%)
  • Major Project #2: Digital History Project Proof of Concept (30%)

Late work will not be accepted, and I will not issue incompletes.

Other Useful Stuff

  • Last Day to ADD and DROP (w/ NO $ penalty): September 8, 2015
  • Last Day to Drop (67% penalty): October 2, 2015

University Policies

Academic Integrity

All George Mason University students have agreed to abide by the letter and the spirit of the Honor Code: “not to cheat, plagiarize, steal, and/or lie in matters related to academic work.” If you are uncertain what that policy covers, see the information provided by the Office of Academic Integrity. All violations of the Honor Code will be reported to the Honor Committee for review.

If you are copying and pasting text that someone else wrote, you might be plagiarizing. Pasted or manually retyped text is not plagiarized only when all of the following three conditions are true: 1) the pasted text is surrounded by quotation marks or set off as a block quote, and 2) the pasted text is attributed in your text to its author and its source (e.g., “As Jane Smith writes on her blog . . . “), and 3) the pasted text is cited in a footnote, endnote, and/or a bibliography (e.g., “Smith, Jane. Smith Stuff. Blog. Available http://smithstuff.wordpress.com. Accessed August 1, 2012.”)

Disability Accommodations

Any student who requires special arrangements in order to meet course requirements should contact me to make necessary accommodations (before 8/31 please). Students should present appropriate verification from the Office of Disability Services (703-993-2474). All academic accommodations must be arranged through that office.

Diversity Policy

George Mason University is an inclusive community of learners. Your instructor and all classmates should abide by the University’s Diversity Policy found at http://ctfe.gmu.edu/professional-development/mason-diversity-statement/.

Student Services
Grading Scale

The following grading scale from the Graduate Catalog is in effect for this course.

  • A+ 99-100 4.00
  • A 93-98 4.00
  • A- 90-92 3.67
  • B+ 87-89 3.33
  • B 83-86 3.00
  • B- 80-82 2.67
  • C 70-79 2.00
  • F 69 and below