This course is designed to expose the student of Caribbean history to the symbiosis and conflict of academia and the digital world – the world of online resources and communication. This course will examine the theoretical and practical elements of digital history (the expressions of history online) and the potential and shortcomings of such resources. In this assessment of the digital world’s continuous and ever-changing impact on the humanities, students will be introduced to the major themes, issues and developments surrounding the research, writing, assessment and presentation of history online.
The course is divided into three major areas
- Understanding Digital History, which provides a basis for understanding all aspects of online history; defines the digital historian, as well as the major developments, shortcomings and benefits of the medium, and explores the issues involved in the exploration of history online and the impact on the developing world;
- Preserving And Writing History Online, which explores in detail the ways in which the online world has been used to showcase history, and
- Constructing Digital History through which the student will gain firsthand experience and knowledge of the options, benefits and problems associated with developing online history resources.
The course investigates the growing employment and the efficacy of such resources in general, and, specifically, in the Caribbean context. The course is designed to encourage the new generation of Caribbean history students to begin exploring this aspect of history and building a Caribbean History online community and resources.
It is important for students of history in the 21st century to be exposed to online history in a professional academic setting, and to acquire the tools necessary for proper use, assessment and construction of historical resources online. Students of the Humanities tend to be the last to be exposed to such online resources that have the ability to greatly enhance their area of study and their understanding of the modern age on human relationships, society and communication. Therefore, it is incumbent upon The University of the West Indies and the History Department to always be at the forefront of education and thus to usher students of history into the digital age, in order for them to be internationally competitive and competent in both traditional and modern capacities. A course in digital history will prepare students of history for careers in research, teaching or digital preservation, thus making them highly employable. It will also encourage them to take their history outside of the classroom to a wider audience of the Caribbean and the international community, thus always ensuring their relevance and contribution to an evolving world.
Students must have basic level computer skills and access to the internet outside of the university.
PURPOSE OF THE COURSE:
This course is designed for second year level history students, though it is relevant to any student of the Humanities who intends to function within the discipline in the modern age. All students of the Humanities, and particularly History students, will require the understanding and skills taught in this course to fully comprehend and engage in this significant, inevitable and absolutely essential evolution of their field. Thus offering the course early in the history programme is both logical and necessary.
This course will
- Help students understand what is meant by the digital humanities and the digital historian.
- Expose students to methods of understanding and using historical resources through the web and other interactive means.
- Introduce the online world to the Caribbean historian and thus to Caribbean historical research, preservation and study.
- Encourage the expansion of Caribbean historical content and resources on the internet.
- Help students to understand the impact of the digital world on history and on the society.
- Provide them with practical experience and professional guidance on creating history on the web in a reliable and internationally accountable style.
- Teach the skills necessary to evaluate online history content.
The main goals will be accomplished by:
- Exposing the students to readings about the internet, digital humanities, digital history and the theories and issues surrounding the field, including those specific to the Caribbean.
- Tracing, through specific internet websites, the various expressions of the Humanities and History online.
- Providing general criteria for judging an academic website.
- Providing students with opportunities to practise, through web review writing, how to correctly evaluate a website.
- Training students through web exercises how to identify, qualify and trace relevant historical web content over the internet and to properly reference internet text.
- Exposing students to programmes for designing websites, constructing interactive components, and writing history online.
- Guiding students through the beginning, middle and latter stages of creating a Caribbean history website using an online website creation programme.
By the end of the course, students will be able to:
- Use the internet to research, teach and preserve history.
- Define digital humanities, digital history, archiving, online libraries, web search techniques, blogging, networking and interactive tools and explain their role in the presentation of history.
- Define the terms ‘designing’ and ‘developing’ a website.
- Access and assess the academic literature and issues surrounding the digital humanities.
- Assess websites and other web resources in a manner that is consistent with historical professionalism and academic rigour.
- Design and develop an online digital history resource.
- Apply referencing appropriate to online writing.
- Explain copyright issues specific to online writing.
- Assess the impact of this new presentation of history in the West Indian History community and the Caribbean at large.