Welcome to INTR 203:  You Say You Want a Revolution:  Introduction to Digital Humanities!  Throughout this course, you will be introduced to digital humanities ideas and tools as well as up-and-coming digital humanities scholars.

This site will evolve throughout the semester.  Students should check daily for updates.

Course Description

This project-based course introduces non-STEM majors to the use of digital technologies in humanities research and research presentation.  The course is predicated on the fact that the digital turn the world has taken in the last several decades has drastically changed the nature of knowledge production and distribution.  To call this turn a revolution is not an exaggeration.  The class will involve “talking” and “doing,” that is, we will integrate lectures on DH and computer science with demonstrations of fully developed DH projects by guest speakers culminating in thrice weekly lab sessions.  At the beginning of the term, the lab sessions give students hands-on experience with new tools and techniques but later evolve into inquiry-based, student-designed group projects in DH.  Professor Youngman will focus on problems, paradigms and challenges in DH, and Professor Sprenkle will focus on the technologies, tools and languages necessary to solve problems in humanities research using DH tools.

Course Objectives

After taking INTR 203, a student will:

  1. Understand the essentials of digital humanities, including its history and most popular (or most controversial) standards and applications.
  2. Understand the theory and practice of digital humanities.
  3. Be able to use and think critically about various standards, applications, and tools.
  4. Develop technical skills and competencies for understanding and creating a digital humanities project.
  5. Collaborate on research in a field that has traditionally privileged individual scholarship
  6. Become a more skilled writer through an engagement with writing as a continuing process

How is this class different from other humanities classes?

1. There is no final paper.

Instead, you will work collaboratively as a team on a final project that will be presented online and at the Spring Term Fair.

2. You will be required to acquire technical skills.

While we do not assume any particular technical experience at the beginning of the semester, we will expect you to learn a number of skills as we go along. You should feel well-supported in learning these skills.

3. You’ll have to do some things in public.

In digital humanities, we place a premium on experimenting (and sometimes failing) in public so that other people can learn from what we do and offer help if we need it. That’s part of why we’ve asked you to create a blog and a Twitter account. Be sure you’re OK with this before you commit to this class.

4. It is an experiment.

The W&L DH Initiative is working through a number of ideas about how to teach digital humanities. Among them is the conviction that students have the most fulfilling experiences when they are invited to participate in solving novel problems with real-world stakes. Fortunately or unfortunately, involvement in this kind of experience entails some patience with potential quirks, including:

  • an evolving syllabus
  • technical glitches
  • outright failure


Course Information

MTRF 10:10a-12:10p
MTR 1:30p-3:30p

Required Texts: Digital_Humanities (MIT Press 2012) by Peter Lunenfeld, Anne Burdick, Johanna Drucker, Todd Presner and Jeffrey Schnapp

Procedures:  Class will consist of lecture and lab.  The majority of your time will be spent in a hands-on environment creating your group project for presentation at the Spring Term Fair

Attendance: Attendance is mandatory. The schedule, including important dates, is posted at the beginning of the semester. If you anticipate a conflict, notify us at the beginning of the semester and then remind us about a week in advance.

Participation: Participation is part of your grade.  Participation includes attending but, more importantly, playing an active role in lectures and in labs.  Also included in your participation grade is perceived effort and attitude in handling difficulties inherent in an experimental course.


Course grades will be calculated according to the following:

Class Participation / Attendance 10%
Blog Entries – Each student (later in semester as part of a team) will submit 10 entries to the course blog.  These entries of 500 words or more (3 well-developed paragraphs) will consist of reflections on the readings, tools, and projects (see below). 10%
Labs 10%
Team Project

  • Proposal 10%
  • Preliminary data collection, implementation, and analysis 18%
  • Web presentation, including final implementation, results, and analysis 24%
  • Poster 5%
  • Oral presentation 8%
  • Post-project analysis 5%


This course is partially supported by an Associated Colleges of the South R-1 Collaboration grant.

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