Module title: Introduction to Digital Humanities: Theories, Practices and Debates

SCQF level: 11:
SCQF credit value: 20.00
ECTS credit value: 10

Module code: CLP11140
Module leader: Tara Thomson
School School of Arts and Creative Industries
Subject area group: Humanities and Culture

There are no pre-requisites for this module to be added

2019/0, Trimester 1, Face-to-Face,
Occurrence: 001
Primary mode of delivery: Face-to-Face
Location of delivery: MERCHISTON
Member of staff responsible for delivering module: Tara Thomson
Module Organiser:

Learning, Teaching and Assessment (LTA) Approach:
Face-to-face teaching will take place in weekly two-hour seminars (LOs 1, 2, 3, 4) and occasional practical workshops (LOs 2, 5, 6). Seminars will give you the opportunity to discuss your learning from independent study, to engage in critical debate of forefront issues in the field, and to benefit from tutor expertise in relevant theories and practices. Seminars will be interactive and discussion-based, and while they will be tutor-led, substantial input will be expected of students. Practical workshops will facilitate learning of hands-on skills relevant to Humanities study, including online and collaborative content production, digitization, and humanities data visualization, while building basic literacy in relevant mark-up languages. Workshops will be tutor-led, and organised around learning prompts and instructions that will enable students to acquire and practice new skills. We will work with out-of-the-box tools and platforms that are accessible and require no prior experience in computing or digital text analysis. Workshops will be timetabled during relevant weeks throughout the trimester.

The greatest emphasis in the module will be placed on independent learning and study, in the form of assigned reading, independent online learning activities, and independent research, reading and practice.

Learning and Teaching methods on this module are informed by current research in enquiry-based learning for Humanities study and critical digital pedagogy (see Hybrid Pedagogy: A digital journal of learning, teaching, and technology).

Formative Assessment:
You will contribute on a weekly basis to a collaborative online notebook about the module content (LOs 2,3,4,5). Weekly prompts will be provided, and will invite you to engage with tools and practices for digital-based research in the humanities, then reflect on your learning.

Student contributions to the notebook, and associated learning activities undertaken, will be presented and discussed each week in the seminar. Through these discussions, you will receive verbal feedback from both your tutor and peers.

You will be given formal oral feedback on your contributions by the tutor at least once during the module; this feedback will be delivered in a scheduled one-to-one interview in week 6 or 7. You will also be offered an optional interview in week 11, in which you can ask for additional feedback and pitch your final project/essay plan to the tutor for formative oral feedback toward the development of that final summative assessment.

Summative Assessment:
There will be one summative assessment for this module, worth 100% of the module grade (LOs 1,2,3,4,5,6). You will have the option between a) writing a 4,000-word critical scholarly research essay, either on paper or on a digital platform, or b) producing a digital project accompanied by a 2,000-2,500-word written critical commentary with research. The digital project option will enable you to put new skills and methodologies learned on the module into practice, and the scope of the digital element will be agreed with the tutor in advance of the assessment.

Student Activity (Notional Equivalent Study Hours (NESH))
Mode of activityLearning & Teaching ActivityNESH (Study Hours)
Face To Face Seminar 20
Face To Face Practical classes and workshops 8
Independent Learning Guided independent study 172
Total Study Hours200
Expected Total Study Hours for Module200

Type of Assessment Weighting % LOs covered Week due Length in Hours/Words
Essay 100 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 15 HOURS= 0, WORDS= 4000
Component 1 subtotal: 100
Component 2 subtotal: 0
Module subtotal: 100

Description of module content:

This module will provide you with a comprehensive introduction to the exciting field of Digital Humanities, which explores the various intersections between literary and cultural studies, digital media and computing technologies. Digital Humanities (DH) is both a theoretical and methodological field: some DH work is about applying computing methodologies to literary and cultural research, to enable new insights into existing questions for literary studies; the theoretical strands of DH critically examine digital discourses and platforms – including code, interactive text, and social media, among others – from a Humanities perspective. DH critically examines the impact of digital technologies on literature, arts, and culture, with an awareness of both the continuities and discontinuities in reading practices across history, ‘from Codex to Hypertext’.

The module is organised around three topic headings: theories, practices and debates. On the theory portion of the module you will explore critical theories of textuality, reading, and communication in the context of ‘new media’ and information technologies, as well as the production, distribution and consumption of literature, culture, and scholarship in the digital age. You will read key works of cultural and media studies foundational to the field of Digital Humanities, such as Marshall McLuhan’s The Medium is the Massage and Bolter and Grusin’s work on media and ‘remediation’, alongside contemporary theories in posthumanism, technology and discourse, such as N. Katherine Hayles’ How we Became Posthuman and Jerome McGann’s ‘Rethinking Textuality’. Armed with this theoretical framework, you will then explore some of the key practices and methodologies that underpin digital humanities research, including distant reading, data visualization for literary studies, and archival research and digitization. The module then explores debates at the forefront of the field, focused on access and accessibility, cultural representation, equality and the digital divide, and the ways that reading communities are constructed and interpellated via digital media, literature, culture and scholarship.

Learning Outcomes for module:

Upon completion of this module you will be able to:
LO1: Synthesise knowledge and understanding of core topic areas, foundational and new theories, and practices in the Digital Humanities
LO2: Critically reflect on the relationship between theory and practice in the Digital Humanities
LO3: Engage in critical debates at the forefront of the Digital Humanities
LO4: Analyse digital artefacts, discourses, interfaces and methods through a humanistic lens
LO5: Display mastery of selected digital tools and methods used in Digital Humanities research
LO6: Generate ideas independently and exercise appropriate judgment to produce written and project work that challenges traditional disciplinary boundaries

Indicative References and Reading List - URL:

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