Digital Humanities 373
Fall 2016
Tuesday & Thursday, 2:00-3:20 EST

Instructors Cole Woodcox is professor of English and former chair of the Department of English and Linguistics, Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri. Mark C. Long, professor of English and American Studies at Keene State College. A former chair of English, Mark is the Director of the Integrative Studies Program

Office Hours Contact information will be sent to students by email. Office hours will be by appointment. Appointments will be face-to-face or on Google Hangouts

Course Description This course will collect and publish stories that capture the identities, cultures, histories, and environments related to a public liberal arts education. The context for this research will be the 1944 G.I. Bill and public access to higher education and, later, increasing public access to the liberal arts. Similar to the Story Corps project started in 2003, the course will offer undergraduate students enrolled in the course the opportunity to build an online resource that chronicles the stories and life experiences of students, alumni, staff and faculty—a digital resource that captures the history and the prospects of the public liberal arts.

As designers and editors of these digital archives, students will deepen their own sense of place in higher education by making visible the history of the liberal arts at the institution in which they are studying.  COPLAC Storytelling will serve as a digital resource for current students, alumni, educators, administrators, development and admission offices, historians, archivists, and the wider public

Required Texts Readings for this course will be available on the web site. Please see the schedule page for titles and for links to digital texts. Students will also be using materials from their local campus or community libraries

Course Objectives The primary objective of this course is for students to build a web site that will document the life experiences of students, alumni, staff and faculty— a digital resource that will feature the history and the prospects of the public liberal arts. During the semester each student will

  • document the process of learning through engaging weekly project installments on an individual blog
  • produce a layered, web-based narrative using audio and video stories, historical images, maps and documentary evidence of a COPLAC institution
  • appreciate diverse methods and processes of digital storytelling
  • learn to use the available tools to conduct oral interviews
    utilize technological resources in research, data analysis, and presentation
  • collaborate effectively with faculty mentors to integrate campus web site projects with theCOPLAC Digital Project
  • understand copyright and the public domain
  • learn how to create digital object metadata
  • contribute cooperatively and collaboratively with a partner and/or team
  • communicate and collaborate with peers in an online environment
  • develop creative/critical thinking and writing abilities
  • develop oral communication competency

Course Format We will be using the distance learning conferencing tool Blue Jeans. Prior to our first class meeting, students will be contacted by a representative from UNC Asheville’s distance learning team to set up their access to the online course. Students will need access to a computer, microphone, and webcam

Distance learning courses present unique challenges with regard to collaboration and communication. Narrating the planning, research, and implementation processes on your blogs will provide a dynamic context for us to share discoveries and insights as well as challenges and failures. Your individual course blog will also help you and your teachers measure your effort, your creativity, and your progress as a digital scholar. In addition, we will make use of Google Hangout or Skype, and other social media to facilitate our communication, to conduct individual and team conferences, and to share resources

Course Requirements Students are expected to attend all class sessions or view the class sessions online and meet with professors as needed/required, read all assigned texts, and participate in class. Students are also responsible for submitting all project drafts and the final product by the contracted due date. Assignments are considered late if turned in/posted anytime after the appointed due date

To receive a passing grade in the course each student will do the following:

  • Set up and maintain an individual student blog and document the intellectual work in the course in weekly work installments
  • Participate in class discussions of readings, videos, and the process of creating digital narratives
  • Complete sequence of assignments that will include reading, and commenting on the questions raised in the readings; evaluating existing digital projects; learning how to use digital tools (Word Press plug ins); and completing timeline and mapping work as directed
  • Participate in class workshops related to specific digital tools and research skills
  • Write a digital project contract with a detailed timeline that will guide the work in the second half of the course
  • Plan, design, and build a digital project using an open-source content management system (Word Press) that effectively tells the story of the liberal arts at a COPLAC institution
  • Present final web site at the final symposium that will be live streamed for a public audience

Responsibilities and Expectations Students are expected to attend all classes, read the assigned material, and complete all assigned tasks. Class participation will include actively participating in daily discussions and responding to class presentations. For each class for which there are readings / videos, students should also prepare a list of comments on the material (parallels, problems, factual questions, reminders of past readings, connections to ideas from other classes or from experiences outside of school) so that they have those points in front of them for the discussion

We are working on a project together. Each of us is responsible for the success of collective project. And each of us are responsible for the learning of the other members in the seminar. At a minimum, students are expected to attend all class sessions or, in the case of an unexpected absence, to view the class sessions online. Furthermore, students are to read all assigned texts, actively participate in class discussions and respond to classmates (via blogs and in-class). Unexcused absences will result in a conference with the instructors to clarify your responsibilities and our expectations. If absences continue after the conference we will consider asking you to withdraw from the course

Your blog will document the intellectual work in the course. These posts will inform the class about the status of your project, provide a context to discuss the inevitable opportunities and challenges of inquiry, and document the arc of your work over the semester. All blog posts will be written professionally for a broad audience—and each post will be syndicated and appear on the NAPLA course site. At end of the semester you will write a final post reflecting on the process and making a case for your project in terms of your contract

Grades We will offer each student an assessment of his/her work in the class once we have read and discussed the Project Contracts. The midterm (and final) grade will also be determined by the consistency and the quality of the weekly reflections on the individual blogs.

Final grades will be based on the timely completion of the course requirements and the quality of your intellectual work. Unsatisfactory performance will be reported mid-semester to your advisor on your home campus. The seminar instructors, professor Woodcox and professor Long, will determine the final grade and submit to your academic advisor. She or he will then enter the grade using an independent study (or other appropriate course number) at your home institution


Academic Integrity Cheating and plagiarism will not be tolerated. Should you cheat or plagiarize in this class, you will fail, and the seminar instructors will report the incident to the appropriate liaison on your home campus

Accommodations If you receive services through your Office of Disability Resources and require accommodations for this class, please speak with us as soon as possible to discuss your approved accommodation needs. We will need a copy of your accommodation letter. We will hold any information you share with us in the strictest confidence unless you give us permission to do otherwise. If you need accommodations, please consult with your Office of Disability Resources about the appropriate documentation of a disability