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Practicum Assignments

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on March 15, 2015 at 3:34:02 pm


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 - Text Encoding"), 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



Practicum 1 Assignment - Text Encoding

For Class 3

The purpose of this encoding exercise is to engage in just enough elementary encoding of text or other media in HTML to allow students to think 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," and put it in the folder called "Practicum 1 - 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).



Practicum 2 Assignment - Finding Digital Texts

For Class 4

  1. Browse the online document/image collections listed in the instructors DH Toychest > Data Collections and Datasets > Document/Image Collectsions section. in order to get a sense of what digital texts are available. Concentrate on texts that are no longer in copyright or texts that can be used under a Creative Commons license; and that are available in plain-text or HTML format).  Be sure to look especially at the larger, general purpose text collections that contain downloadable plaint-text, HTML, or XML files to see what is there--e.g.:
    1. EEBO-TCP Texts
    2. Internet Archive (click on "Download" link on a book page for download format options)
    3. Open Library
    4. Oxford University Text Archive
    5. Project Gutenberg
  2. Example the corpus of nearly 2,731 nineteenth-century British novels in plain text format gathered by the Stanford Lit Lab from Project Gutenberg and the Internet Archive and shared with the UCSB English Department: list of authors and novels (Excel spreadsheet); full-texts of the novels in plain-text.
  3. Collect either an example list of works that can be worked with in plain-text format or an example passage(s) from the works; and leave it as a souvenir of your experimentation on the course Student Work site (create a page called "Your Name - Finding Digital Texts" and put it in the folder "Practicum 2 - Finding Digial Texts").



Practicum 3 Assignment - Text Analysis 1

For Class 5

  1. Browse the text analysis tools (especially those with checkmarks red check mark or blue check mark) listed in the instructor's DH Toychest > Tools section > Text Analysis section.
  2. Using a collection of texts (perhaps one you assembled from the previous practicum), experiment with one or more of the tools that allow you to work with your own texts.  Leave at least one souvenir of your experimentation on the course Student Work site (create a page called "Your Name - Text Analysis 1" and put it in the folder "Practicum 3 - Text Analysis 1").


Practicum 4 Assignment - Text Analysis 2

For Class 6

  1. Use Antconc and Voyant (see Voyant documentation) on a collection of texts that you have gathered in plain-text format.
  2. Leave at least one souvenir of your experimentation on the course Student Work site (create a page called "Your Name - Text Analysis Exercise 2" and put it in the folder Practicum 4 - Text Analysis 2).


Practicum 5 Assignment - Topic Modeling

For Class 7

  1. Read through (and if you wish try) the lesson plan in Shawn Graham, Ian Milligan, Scott Weingart, "Topic Modeling By Hand" (from The Historian's Macroscope - working title. Under contract with Imperial College Press. Open Draft Version, Autumn 2013).
  2. Experiment with David Mimno's online In-Browser Topic Modeling and/or the downloadable Topic Modeling Tool (both based on the MALLET topic modeling suite)
  3. Download, install, and experiment with the full MALLET topic-modeling suite, which runs from the command line. (See The Programming Historian Tutorial "Getting Started with Topic Modeling and MALLET" for instructions on installing and running MALLET).  Copies of MALLET are also installed on some of the workstations in South Hall 2509 (see software inventory for machines in SH 2509).  An ideal experiment is to topic model a small collection of multiple texts (e.g., several articles that you have extracted as plain text and put in a folder) or a "chunked" plain-text version of a long text (e.g., a novel with separate files for each chapter).
  4. Leave at least one souvenir of your experimentation on the course Student Work site (create a page called "Your Name - Topic Modeling" and put it in the folder Practicum 5 - Topic Modeling).


Practicum 6 Assignment - Social Network Analysis

For Class 8

  1. Work through Par Martin Grandjean's Gephi tutorial ("Introduction to Network Visualization with GEPHI").  (For other Gephi help resources, see instructor's DH Toychest > Tutorials> Network Visualization) [Ideally, you will be able to install and run Gephi on your own computer. However, there will also be installations available for use in South Hall 2509.)
    1. If you want to install Gephi on your own machine:
    2. (You may also be interested in an article explaining the frequently used "ForceAtlas2" layout option for Gephi visualizations.  The article is technical, but gives a sense of what would be involved in unlocking the "black box" of concepts behind such algorithms: Mathieu Jacomy, et al. , "ForceAtlas2, a Continuous Graph Layout Algorithm for Handy Network Visualization Designed for the Gephi Software" [2014])
  2. Try to understand the logic/format of the two .csv files used in Grandjean's Gephi tutorial (one that identifies the "nodes" and the other the "edges," or relations between nodes).  Then choose a very limited work or works that would be of interest to humanities scholars (e.g., a chapter in a novel, a scene in a play or film, an hour of a Twitter timeline from a conference) and create your own nodes and edges .csv files (which can be created in a plain-text editor or exported from a spreadsheet or even work processor).  Use your.csv files in Gephi to create a visualization.  (If you wish, you can create just a hypothetical set of nodes and edges "as if" you were analyzing something even though you don't have time to do that for real at present.) 
  3. You may also be interested in downloading, unzipping, and opening or importing in Gephi some of the other Gephi datasets available from Wiki.Gephi.org in a variety of formats (.gexf and .gml)
  4. Leave at least one souvenir of your experimentation on the course Student Work site (create a page called "Your Name - Text Analysis Exercise 2" and put it in the folder Practicum 6 - Social Network Analysis).


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.



[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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