Final Project

Tools and Techniques for Making it New

DH is shorthand for Digital Humanities, a relatively new element in English and other humanities departments.  It involves many different areas of concern, from the study of video games and other electronic media, to all of the ways that technology (through data visualization, online archives, podcasts, and even course websites) is becoming more and more a part of our daily lives as students, citizens and scholars.   Most inspiring for my own interest in this new arena of concern is the drive to MAKE things, and to branch out beyond traditional “english class” outcomes (e.g., the 10 page research paper).

Our emphasis at first will be on various ways you can use digital tools available on the web to develop new ways of looking at both texts and their contexts. We’ll also talk about possible options for your DH Creations.   You are welcome to work in groups or alone.

Some of you might want to go “unplugged” for this project, producing something more hand-made (artisanal) or traditionally academic (a ~10-page research paper).  That’s fine.  But the end result will still be something that we can find a way to showcase online–to make it “digital” and therefore more sharable with the wider world.

Refer to the schedule for the timeline that will keep us all on track.  We will work through the following steps:

Due Friday, February 28: Blogged Proposal for quiz grade–about 200 words. Please include

  • A  description of your topic or idea.
  • An explanation of what you will need to learn about and research as you build your project. This part is essential as no one’s project exists in a vacuum.  If you choose to put certain modernist poems to music, for example, you must situate your work within the long history of similar mash-ups.  Music and song, the lyre and the lyric, go way back.  If your project involves a series of poetic imitations, you might look to other poets whose aesthetic seems to be similarly informed by the target figure.  You are not merely joining a tradition in this case, but joining a tradition of joining a tradition (sounds very meta, I know). If you choose to look at poetry and the visual arts, again, you will be joining a rich and ongoing conversation between artists, painters and scholars.  The library, in short, is unavoidable! Many of your projects will have to be framed by a particular research conversation that sets the stage for your work.
  • A description of what tools you might use.  This might involve timeline software, mapping programs, charting tools, music production software, presentation software, blog/webpage design programs, or simply software that will allow you to transforma paper into an interactive online flip-book.
  • If you’d like to propose a group project, please make that clear; or if you’ve already formed a group, indicate group members. Use the “Final Project” category for these posts

Final Due Date: The Final Project is due on the day of your presentation. You should aim for 4-6 critical sources for each person in your group (a project involving two people should include 8-12 sources).

All final projects will include a broad introduction describing your project and motivations for undertaking it and discussing the mode of presentation you chose. This introduction should be based on the proposal you have been revising throughout. We will embed the project (if it is a timeline or flipbook or Prezi or other presentation) or link to it (if it is a web page).

If you are composing a more traditional paper, you can treat this as a traditional conference setting where you read your paper, or, if you want something more dynamic, I recommend doing a pecha-kucha style presentation. You can read about both forms on my website for intro to literature here.

Grading Rubric: I will evaluate your projects in relation to three basic categories

  • Inception (10%): The quality of your (or your group’s) original idea as you presented it in your proposal and as you clarified and refined it in subsequent conversations with me.
  • Follow-through (50%): The quality of the final product in terms of the information you present for the class or the argument you develop.  For this project, it is not necessary that you make an original argument, but it is important that you help us see or understand something in a new way.  I will base this part of the grade on:
    •  Completeness: Did you follow through with what you proposed?  Does the project itself represent a significant amount of thought and work–what one might expect from a project worth 20% of your grade?  Because each project is so different, I cannot come up with a more stable definition of “completeness.” Just know that group projects are expected to be more expansive than individual projects, and each group or individual will provide me with an informal report of what kinds of work went into the project (learning technologies, juggling groups efforts, finding library resources, etc.).  Your informal report will supplement and inform my own assessment of the final product.  
    • Research: Is your work situated within, or explicitly connected to, a broader research conversation or poetic practice?  If you are mapping the movements of modernist poets, for example, I expect you to have done sufficient research in the authors’ biographies so as to compile as complete a record as possible.  If you are doing a sequence of modernist interpretations / imitations, I expect you to situate that work within a history of responses to modern poets and to justify and explain your own poetic response.  
  • Presentation (40%): The presentations themselves will be very important, and they include two parts: 
    • In-Class Presentation:  You will have between 5-6 minutes to succinctly explain and present your project if you work individually, and 8-10 minutes if you worked in a group.  It is important that you use this time fully and wisely. Organization and practice are very important.  (20%). If you have questions about how to present (strategies relevant to your project) let me know and we will work something out. 
    • Online portion: You will also be asked to share your work on the course website / blog.  This might involve a brief explanation of your project with a link to where we can view it, it might involve a project embedded within a blog post itself, or it might arrive in the form of an extended blog post if you decided to write a critical paper or have significant research that frames your project.  Here, I will be looking at how you handled the technical and organizational aspects of presenting work in an online format. (20%)