2. Assessment

How we will measure your development.

This course intends to uncover a broad swathe of the current body of practices, approaches, and perspectives that currently are known as ‘digital humanities’. It does this by introducing you to certain techniques and habits of thought through a year long project to write and publish a textbook for the digital humanities, aimed at the second or third year undergraduate level. Thus, your grade will be composed:

  • 20% Open Notebook Research
  • 20% Collegiality and Generous Thinking
  • 60% The Landscape of DH in Ottawa
    • 20% Research
    • 20% Service
    • 20% Teaching


You are in no way obligated to do any of the public-facing work of this course under your own name. Pseudonyms are ok. You do not need to explain why you want to use a pseudonym to me. At all times, keep your own personal safety online front and centre: my experience of the internet, and of academic culture, will have been different from yours, and my goal is to listen more than I talk when it comes to these issues.

Open Notebook Research

You will be creating your own academic presence online using a static site generator and your Github account. You will use the site you create to keep track of your reading notes and your annotations. Before each meeting, I expect you to annotate the readings with an eye to what I call ‘the 3ws’ of DH: what is ‘weird’ (eg, unfamiliar to your experience or disciplinary home), ‘wonderful’ (eg, makes you see your research, your discipline, and so on, in an exciting way), or ‘worrying’ (eg, something that shakes a core assumption, something that seems problematic to you). You can use Jon Udell’s Hypothesis facet viewer to collect and download your annotations to put into your notebook. You should also pull together from your annotations a brief narrative about what (and how) you’ve read, before each meeting.

Please make all annotations as part of the DHCU group. After you get an Hypothesis account, you may join our DHCU group here. The Quick Start Guide For Students takes you through the process of signing up for and using Hypothesis.

We will set up our open notebooks in our first meeting. We will use either Hugo Academic or Jeyll-Now. There are other options too that we could explore.

To recap:

  • annotate the readings according to the 3w’s (at a minimum)
  • collect your annotations and copy them to your notebooks
  • and write a brief narrative making sense of your notes

This aspect of the course is graded exceptional / pass / fail.

Collegiality and Generous Thinking

Generous Thinking [begins] by proposing that rooting the humanities in generosity, and in particular in the practices of thinking with rather than reflexively against both the people and the materials with which we work, might invite more productive relationships and conversations not just among scholars but between scholars and the surrounding community. - Kathleen Fitzpatrick

To demonstrate generous thinking and collegiality, I want you to be attentive to your peers’ annotations and notebooks, and engage with them thoroughly, whether by responding to an annotation, drawing the connections with other bodies of thought or artefacts, or by annotating someone else’s notebook. Ancillary to this, I also want to see you searching for opportunities to wonder aloud about how your discipline and dh might engage in the kind of generous thinking that Fitzpatrick describes. Another possibility to meet this aspect is to engage on Twitter or DH Slack insofar as it makes sense or is safe for you to do so. (DH Slack is a Slack space populated by academics, librarians, grad students, post docs, enthusiasts. Well worth your time).

Collegiality also entails attending and being prepared for all of our meetings.

This aspect of the course is graded exceptional / pass / fail.

Mapping the Landscape of DH in Ottawa

Our meetings do double duty. They are not just for exploring the different facets of the digital humanities, learning various techniques, and exploring others’ work. They are also to figure out just what is going on in DH in Ottawa, in advance of DH2020. The content, organization, and production of this project (what exactly is a ‘map’?), and the management of this project, will be up to all of you. The grading breaks down as follows:

  • 20% Research research to write an accurate and up to date text
  • 20% Service the work involved in project management, organization, ‘back-end’ production
  • 20% Teaching writing and testing and telling the story (as appropriate)

Each of you is expected to do your equitable (nb: not necessarily ‘equal’) share.

Equity vs Equality Credit: United Way of the Columbia-Willamette
(Credit: United Way of the Columbia-Willamette)

This aspect of the course will be graded based on a self-assessment and final interview.

finger Next: Schedule

finger Detour: DH Projects in the Wild

Cover image: Helloquence, Unsplash