MHC 401 Honors Thesis Colloquium

Spring 2014: Digital Research Methods
T 3:00-5:40 PM


Lindsey M. Freer
Twitter @lindsey_freer
office hours: Tuesdays and Wednesdays by appointment


Jenny Kijowski
Twitter @jennykijowski
office hours: Tuesdays and Wednesdays by appointment

Course Description

This semester of the Honors Thesis Colloquium is designed to expose you to emerging digital research methods in the humanities and social sciences, provide you with the skills to develop a digital project that expands the reach and scope of your thesis research, and encourage you to think critically about public engagement with scholarly research in the 21st century. Using methodologies culled from digital scholarship across the disciplines, we will collectively and broadly re-orient ourselves in relationship to our own research, seeking a more capacious vision of the ways in which our newly acquired expertise might have the greatest impact. We will then consider how your individual thesis projects might not only feed back into the expansion of those scholarly conversations and communities from which they were first derived, but the strategies by which each of you might most effectively bring your work into the public eye. This process of experimentation and discovery will not only mirror current debates in the academy over best research practices in the technological age, it will also hone your own skills as you prepare to take on the postgraduate world.

Required Materials

All of the reading material for this course can be found on the Readings page—some as links, some as direct downloads. Some downloads may be password-protected; the password will be given to you in class. Please also bring in $15 for a ticket to BEGINAGAIN.

Course Policies

  • Attendance is required. Please plan on being present every week, except in cases of absolute emergency. If you’re not going to be in class, please let me know.
  • I have a thing about starting on time. Despite my best efforts to be chill, latecomers drive me absolutely bonkers. Issues like this one are easily exacerbated with such a tiny class. Please be in class and ready to go at 3 PM.
  • Laptops are required each week for awesome class activities, unless otherwise directed. Try to keep your use of electronic devices limited to what is most appropriate; I abhor the under-the-table texting thing, which is never as hidden from view as you might think.
  • Teamwork: We are a small group, and we’re going to divide up the reading and other labors of the course in order to cover more ground. This means your attendance and participation is essential to everyone’s success. If you can’t be present in a given week, and you were assigned a unique reading, please post notes to the class eportfolio in advance of the session you will miss.
  • Cite your sources: keep track of where text, images, audio, and video come from, and publicly cite these digital sources in your writing and creations as relevant. Don’t steal ahem, “borrow” stuff that is labeled “all rights reserved”—if you’d like to use it, contact the creator and explain that you’d like to use it for educational purposes, or seek out Creative Commons-licensed sources as an alternative. In general, be a decent person and make your digital research footprint clearly visible; your sources would probably appreciate recognition. Finally, clearly distinguish between your own voice and the voices of others in everything you produce for this class—we don’t want any accidental acts of plagiarism.
  • Be in touch. If you need help, if something is limiting your ability to participate, if you want to share materials or ideas—contact Lindsey and Jenny early and often!


  •  A revised written thesis. Your written work from the fall semester should be revised and expanded with your advisor’s guidance. Complete your revisions by 18 February.
  • A digital thesis project. Designed and implemented in consultation with Lindsey, Jenny, and your peers, this project should substantively expand the reach and scope of your written thesis project. The platform and tools for this project are up to you to choose. The final version of your digital project is due 20 May.
  • A public presentation of your research. Develop a 10-15 minute presentation of your research project, and give this presentation to at least one audience. Everyone will present at the annual Macaulay Research Event, in May (exact date TBD). Those accepted will present at NCUR, 3-5 April.
  • Class participation.We’re a small team, but together we can accomplish great things! Please actively participate on the class eportfolio, and come to each week’s session prepared to discuss and debate. Ongoing.
  • A digital reading journal. This semester, you’ll keep an online reading “journal” (or “map,” or “timeline”) in some sort of digital space:, Tumblr, Twitter, Google Doc, Dipity, Tiki-Toki, a Macaulay eportfolio, or whatever platform best suits you. (If you have trouble choosing a tool for this assignment, check in with Lindsey or Jenny.) This should be a space separate from any other digital presence you might have. It doesn’t necessarily have to have your full name attached, but it should be publicly accessible. Think of it as a combination scrapbook and/or freewriting space. Items to include: quotes from your reading that pique your interest, questions you have, related multimedia, ideas you want to bring up in class, links to yours and others’ posts on the class eportfolio, whatever else seems relevant. Add content at least once a week, complete by 20 May.

Weekly Schedule

our weekly schedule can be found on its own page.