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Practicum Assignments

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on March 15, 2015 at 11:35:22 am


This page is a supplement to the main Assignments page for this course.  Detailed here the the individual practicum assignments for classes 3-8.


Course "practicums" are hands-on, small-scale exercises that ask students to experiment at a beginner's level with the tools of the digital humanities. Classes 3-8 in the course each include a practicum that should be completed before class. Typically, a practicum asks students to try out a digital tool and method, then to leave an interesting "souvenir" on a page they create on the Student Work site for this course. The "souvenir" can be as simple as a screenshot of, or link to, something created (or found) during the exploration.  (Practicums are required to pass the course, but are not graded.) 



General Instructions for Leaving a "Souvenir" of Practicum Exercises


(i) Perform the practicum exercise

(See the instructions for the individual practicums below).


(ii) For each practicum, create a page on the Student Work site for this course through the PBWorks editing menu bar: "Pages & Files" > "New" > "Create a Page":


PBworks - Create a Page


(iii) Name the page "Your Name - Name of Practicum - Exercise" (e.g., "Alan Liu - Google Ngram Viewer Exercise"), and place it in the folder on the site for that practicum (so that we can easily find all the student pages for a practicum together):


PBworks - Name Page and Assign to Folder


(iv) When your new page is open, select the "Edit" tab in the top menu.  Add your textual or other content.  Be sure to "save your work as you go: 


PBwworks - edit


(v) By default, editing is done in GUI or graphical user interface that shows you approximately what the final result will be.  However, you can also edit in the source-code view by toggling "source" in the editing interface:


PBworks - source code view


(vi) You can upload images and other media from your computer to the site using the "Images and files" tab in the editing interface.  Once the images are uploaded, then you can add them at your cursor location while editing a page by clicking on the link for the image in the sidebar:


Pbworks image uploader



Class 2 Practicum Assignment - Google Ngram Viewer

 Go to Class 2 on Schedule

  1. Experiment with the Google Ngram Viewer.  Try a few experiments with different terms, numbers of terms, and the parameters that can be configured (for the latter, see About Ngram Viewer) (see also Cheat sheet of parameters that can be set in using the Ngram Viewer).  When you find an interesting or intriguing result, think about what would be your next step if you were a researcher looking into the topic.
  2. Create at least one souvenir of your experimentation in the form of a print-out that you bring into class to show-and-tell.

    P.S.: You may also find it fun to try the Bookworm:Movies viewer (which performs similar analytics on language in films based on their subtitles).  See also Bookworm:Simpsons for all 25 seasons of The Simpsons.



Class 3 Practicum Assignment - Explore Digital Humanities Tools

Go to Class 3 on Schedule

  1. Experiment with at least one tool in the instructor's DH Toychest--e.g., Voyeur (Voyant) Tools, AntConc, Overview, Poem Viewer, Sentiment Analysis, Umigon, ManyEyes, or any of the tools in the TAPoR site.  When you have found something that seems interesting and have produced a trial result, think to yourself how you could use the tool to do research or creative work.
  2. Leave at least one souvenir of your experimentation on the course Student Work site (create a page called "Your Name - Explore Digital Humanities Tools Exercise" and put it in the folder Practicum - Explore Digital Humanities Tools).


Class 4 Practicum Assignment - Make a "Story Map"

Go to Class 4 on Schedule

  1. Choose one of the following two options:
    1. Option 1: Using the StoryMap JS online tool from the Northwestern U. Knight Lab, show how you could tell a good story (or argument) based on a life, literary work, historical event, contemporary event, or social phenomenon (or even an abstract/theoretical concept).  StoryMap creates flow maps (interactive maps that zoom from location to location with associated images/text called up at with each point: example).  (When asked by StoryMap "What type of story do you want to create?", choose the "map" option, which allows you to use a ready-made zoomable map of the world.)  Your goal is to demonstrate how mapping can add value or a different perspective to the telling of a story--e.g., a biography or autobiography, a short story or novel, a film or TV episode, the story of a band or musician, etc.  Your map-story need only contain a few points with associated images and text--enough to mock up what you would do with more time.  Try to do something interesting that allows us to think about how mapping interacts with or differs from textual narrative, what it adds and what it takes away, etc. (Note: the StoryMap JS tool is free, but it requires that you have a Google account because it uses Google Drive.)
    2. Option 2: Using StoryMap JS, upload your own map, image, or photo to use as an interactive, zoomable visualization on which to tell a story or argument.  (When asked by StoryMap "What type of story do you want to create?", choose the "Gigapixel" option."  This is an option that requires a few more technical steps; but it opens up many more imaginative possibilities--e.g., the ability to tell a story/argument by moving around a fictional map, a historical map, a photograph of a landscape, a group portrait, a painting, etc.: example).
      1. First, you need a map or image.  See the DH Toychest  > Data Collections and Datasets for sources of permission-free maps and images that you can use.  For example, you can get many thousands of resources from the David Rumsey Map Collection (historical maps) or the Folger Library Digital Image Collection (both use a platform called the Lava browser that has an "export" function producing a downloadable zip file of each image).
      2. Then you need to process the map or image into a "tiled" form by using Zoomify through Photoshop (how-to), the Zoomify program, or another means (instructions).  (See also a video tutorial.)  If you do not have access to Zoomify (the standalone program costs a small amount of money), then you can ask the instructor to Zoomify your map or image for you.  The Zoomify process creates a folder (with subfolders) of tiled or sectioned parts of your image.
      3. Then you need to move the folder containing the Zoomified, tiled version of your image to your Google Drive, share the folder publicly, and note the "hosting" base URL by which Google Drive can serve up the folder on the Web (instructions).
      4. Finally, in StoryMap create a new storymap by choosing the "Gigapixel" option and inputting the hosting base URL and also the size in pixels of your original image. (See video tutorial.)
      5. Once the storymap is created, you can add locations with images/text on a slide-by-slide basis.
    3. Other tools for mapping can be found in the DH Toychest > Tools > Mapping.  If you want to create an analytical map with overlays of information instead of a flow map, you might want to try WorldMap.
  2. Leave at least one souvenir of your experimentation on the course Student Work site (create a page called "Your Name - Story Map Exercise" and put it in the folder Practicum - Make a Story Map).  Ideally, put the link to your StoryMap in the folder so that we can look at it in class.



Class 5 Practicum Assignment - Text Encoding

Go to Class 5 on Schedule

The purpose of this encoding exercise is to engage in just enough elementary encoding of text or other media in HTML to allow all students to engage in discussion during Class 5 about the underlying premises, concepts, and structure of text encoding.)

  1. Create a new page for yourself on the Student Work site called "Your Name - Text Encoding Exercise," and put it in the folder called "Practicum - Text Encoding"
  2. When your new page is open, select the "Edit" tab in the top menu.  Then click the "Source" button in the editing interface menu to toggle from the GUI (graphical user interface) editing view to the source-code view that allows you to do plain-text encoding. (You can always toggle back to the GUI view for a quick check on your work or as a cheat-sheet for basic encoding of HTML features.) Be sure to "save" your work as you go.

     PBWorks - Source Code

  3. Using the source-code view as much as possible, create a simple web page with any content, images, and links you wish (subject, of course, to good taste and copyright laws).  The page should include at least the following features:
    1. Text formatted in basic ways (as headers, bold, italics, etc.)
    2. Text in paragraph structures
    3. Text in lists
    4. Links
    5. A table
    6. An image


For tutorials and beginner guides to HTML go to the instructor's DH Toychest and look at the section on the Tutorials page on "HTML & CSS." Important: students who are beginners should not be intimidated by this assignment. Use the tutorials to learn the most basic concepts and try the most elementary encoding.  Your experiment doesn't even have to work; it can "fail" in instructive or interesting ways.  (For students more advanced in encoding, try the other encoding exercises included in the instructor's graduate course in the digital humanities).



Class 6 Practicum Assignment - Text Analysis

Go to Class 6 on Schedule

  1. Play with one or more of the checked tools (red check mark or blue check mark) listed in the course DH Toychest > Tools section > Text Analysis section -- e.g., Google Ngram Viewer, Voyant Tools, TAPoR, Poem Viewer, WordHoard. [Pick a different tool from one you have used before in the course; or use one of your previous tools at a more advanced level.] Alternatively, try the topic-modeling tool called In-Browser Topic Modeling.  When you have found an interesting tool and produced some trial results, think about how the tool might be used to do real research on a topic that interests you.
  2. Leave at least one souvenir of your experimentation on the course Student Work site (create a page called "Your Name - Text Analysis Exercise" and put it in the folder "Practicum - Text Analysis").


[Students need to do only one of the practicums for classes 7 and 8]

Class 7 Practicum Assignment - Playing Literature

Go to Class 7 on Schedule

  1.  Write or sketch a brief idea (1 page or less) for a game approach to literature that you wish existed.
  2. Or, start a branching, interactive fiction using the Inklewriter site.
  3. Leave your idea for #1 or the link for #2 on the course Student Work site (create a page called "Your Name - Playing Literature Exercise" and put it in the folder "Practicum - Playing Literature").

[Students need to do only one of the practicums for classes 7 and 8]

Class 8 Practicum Assignment - Changing Literature

Go to Class 8 on Schedule

  1. Following up on the concepts about digital "deformance" in the readings for this class, choose a very small sample of humanistic material (part of a text, an artwork, etc.) and, using any of the methods and tools you have encountered in the course, mock up a "sketch" (conceptual, visual, digital, or otherwise) representing--at least in part--how it can be "deformed" in a way that has value.  (You may be interested in the Deformance tools collected in the instructor's DH Toychest, but many other tools can be used in a "deformative" way.)
  2. Leave at least one souvenir of your experimentation on the course Student Work site (create a page called "Your Name - Changing Literature Exercise" and put it in the folder "Practicum - Changing Literature").




































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