Blog Posts & Small Assignments

Week 2 (due 12 pm Monday February 1)

Digital History project review

Choose one site above that you did not review in class, and write 3-4 paragraphs reviewing the project, applying the guidelines and criteria from the JAH and The Public Historian. 
At a minimum, your review should include:

  • The project’s type and purpose, with a brief description
  • Who created and maintains the project
  • The project’s “category” as classified by the above guidelines
  • At least one paragraph addressing questions raised under the “Content” section of the NCPH & JAH guidelines
  • At least one paragraph addressing questions raised under the “Form” section of the NCPH guidelines
Learning Reflection

Write a short (100-150 words) blog post reflecting on what you’ve learned thus far in our class, and any skills you think you have developed. If you wish, you may also add a discussion of any concerns or anxieties you have about the material so far.

Both blog posts should be posted by Monday, February 1 at 12:00 pm.

Week 3 (due 12:00 pm Monday, February 8)

  • Join the class Zotero group using the link emailed to you.
  • In preparation for our work refining and expanding the Butler County Poor Farm digital project, you’ll be building a collaborative library for background and contextual research.
  • Use library databases (America: History and Life and JSTOR are good starters), the Bailey Library catalog, and WorldCat, locate sources relevant to helping us understand the history of poor farms and poverty relief in 19th and 20th-century America.  Remember you might need to vary terms and vocabulary – using terms like “poorhouse” “poor relief” “almshouse” “county farm” etc. Sources should be secondary sources of good academic quality.
  • Save at least one source that seems valuable for our project to the group Zotero library; for that source, make at least one note that explains why you selected that source and how it might be useful to the project (this should be more than “it is about poor relief”). If someone has already added your source, you’ll need to find another.
  • Add a tag for your source with your last namethis is important in order to receive credit for the assignment!
  • Write a blog post (approx. 250 words or so) reflecting on 1) what you’ve learned this week about historical research in the digital age, incorporating material from at least two readings and 2) consider how you might improve your own research practices with the new knowledge and tools you’ve learned. If it’s helpful, you can consult our collaborative Google Document from Tuesday’s discussion.

Week 4 (due 12:00 pm Tuesday, February 16)

Omeka Practicum

For this practicum, we will set up the content management system (CMS) known as Omeka, and you will build a small collection on some historical topic of interest to you.

  1. First, review Omeka documentation on Site Planning Tips and How You Might Use Omeka. You might also want to keep the User Manual handy
  2. Be sure you have installed Omeka on your Reclaim server and have the SimplePages plugin installed in Omeka. See my screencast Installing Omeka Plugins if you need help doing this.
  3. To build your first collection of items, you’ll develop a collection on the theme of “The Story of Me.” Thus you’ll want to select items that relate to the history of your life thus far. Think carefully about objects, images, etc. that tell various aspects of your story.
  4. Add at least 10 items to Omeka related to your topic. For each item, provide a file (usually a photo of the object, but audio and video are also great) Fill in as much metadata as you can, but at a minimum each item should include Title, Description, Creator, Date, and Item Type. You should include at least 2 Item Types (ie, written document, a photograph, an audio recording, etc.)
  5. Create at least 1 collection that includes several items along a common theme. Example: a collection titled “The Middle School Years”
  6. Share your Omeka site URL by writing a short blog post of approximately 150-200 words that describes your collection, and why you selected the items you did. Don’t forget to embed the link in the post!

Week 6 (due 12:00 pm Tuesday, March 2)

History 411
Data Visualization Practicum Instructions

Follow the instructions below carefully, and in the order listed.

Part I

Part II

  • Access the Butler County Poor Farm Records Data
    • Note: use the above link, as I have updated and organized the data a bit more than when you accessed it during class.
    • Note that I have created some additional sheets which provide demographic data counts for each year
  • Create a visualization of some part of the Poor Farm data, using either Google Sheets or Datawrapper.  You may either use the larger collection of data or one of the categories of demographic stats I created on the sheets.
  • Export your chart, either as an embeddable link or a PNG/JPG image, to your WordPress blog. (see this helpful guide to embedding an interactive chart in your WordPress site). Write a short blog post (around 150 words) about what your visualization can tell us, and any questions it might suggest.

Part III

  • Visit the Magazine of Early American Datasets
  • Select a dataset (or more than one) to experiment with (datasets with many records are better than ones with few)
  • Create a chart, graph or other visualization using Google Sheets or Datawrapper.
  • Export your chart, either as an embeddable link or a PNG/JPG image, to your WordPress blog. (see this helpful guide to embedding an interactive chart in your WordPress site) Write a second short blog post (around 150 words) about what your visualization can tell us and any questions it might suggest. You can also share any challenges you faced in creating either of the visualizations.

Be Creative!

You can do the minimum on this assignment, and that’s fine – but I want to challenge you to get creative and try to make something impressive. On Tuesday, we’ll share visualizations and, to promote a little friendly competition, prizes will be awarded for outstandingly beautiful, complex, or all-around awesomeness – disasters that show creativity but didn’t quite work are also eligible!

Week 10: “Deep End of the Pool” Mapping Challenge (due Thursday, April 8)

Week 11: Playing the Past blog post (due Thursday, April 15)

Below are a few online games dealing with historical topics. Play at least two, and write a 250-word blog post addressing these questions:

  • did the experience of “playing the past” add anything to your understanding of the historical topic?
  • could you envision improvements that would have enhanced the experience
  • what are the advantages of this kind of engagement with the past?
  • does the medium of gaming risk trivializing history? why or why not?

Blog post should be completed by class time on Thursday, April 8.

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