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So you want to incorporate DHSS into your classroom, but don’t know where to start?

If you are a faculty member who is interested in Digital Humanities and Social Sciences but are worried about the technological learning curve associated with doing “digital” work, do not fear! This Instructor’s Guide was developed as part of an Academic Innovation Fund grant at York University to support faculty with little to no experience with the Digital Humanities and Social Sciences to bring DHSS methods and pedagogies into their courses in ways that support experiential and e-learning. In this way, this Guide was designed to explore the meaning-making potential of DHSS over just the technological. In this Instructor’s Guide, we’ve provided nine different assignment guides that can support the explicit use of digital tools and technologies in the classroom and augment the instructional and assessment practices that instructors already engage in.

Digital Humanities and Social Sciences (DHSS) is an umbrella of convergent practices that enhance and expand the work of Humanities and/or Social Sciences through the explicit intersection of Humanities and Social Science research and pedagogies with digital tools and technologies.

This intersection can invite new or deeper ways to engage in data collection, organization, analysis, and argument development through the use and/or development of digital tools and technologies.

DHSS practices can experientially develop students’ technical, intellectual, and administrative competencies needed in our increasingly digital society, as well as invite skills of critical reflection, collaboration, and engagement in ways that do not neatly fit into a competencies model. By being explicit in our use of digital tools and technologies, we can invite students to build and innovate, analyze and create, and become better thinkers and doers in our interdisciplinary and multiliterate world.

It is not daunting to engage in DHSS, because, whereas 20 to 30 years ago, DHSS had a heavy, even singular, focus on computing or programming, today’s greater use and understanding of digital tools and technologies allows those who are unable or uninterested in programming to engage in DHSS by instead focusing on the enhanced meaning making possibilities that can be engendered with and through digital tools and technologies.

With these ideas in mind, this Instructor’s Guide was developed by novices in the field of DHSS for novices in the field of DHSS to bring the meaning making potential of DHSS into more classrooms.

This Instructor’s Guide is split into three sections: Theory, Practice, and Assignment Guides.

In the Theory section, we’ve provided a longer description of DHSS, an introduction to thinking about DHSS in your classroom, a description of the project that contributed to this Guide, an outline of the pedagogical commitments that frame this work, and other resources and readings to support further study of DHSS.

In the Practice section, we’ve provided six steps for incorporating DHSS into your teaching practiceChoosing an  assignmentselecting appropriate materials, exploring examples with your students, providing clear expectations, engaging in the work, and assessing final products. In this section there is also an essay by historian Denise Challenger reflecting on bringing DHSS into a non-DHSS course and a list of DHSS tools that may be helpful for your practice.

In our Assignment Guides section, we’ve provided nine unique Assignment Guides for different DHSS assignments. These written are in a narrative, rather than didactic style, to introduce assignments, or activities, such as an archive, an exhibit, oral history digital stories, metadata creation, mapping primary sources, proving/disproving an argument, transcription and data visualization, and historical and public education-style image analysis. In this section we have also provided links to other DHSS assignments.

To navigate this Pressbook, you can read linearly by clicking the arrows to the left or right or you can click “Contents” on the top left of each page to skip around to the areas that best suit your needs.

Our expectation is that a reader will jump around to find bits and pieces of support to suit where they are in their thinking. As such, this Guide has many links between the different sections to help you read through different lines of thinking.

Author’s Note

Until December 20, 2018, this Instructor’s Guide will be in piloted to faculty and staff at York University. 

During that time, there may be changes, additions, or deletions that will make the Guide a more effective tool for professors and instructors to bring Digital Humanities and Social Sciences (DHSS) into their classrooms. If you have suggestions or see changes that could be made, please let us know.

Workshops and consultations will also be running during this time. To book a workshop and/or a consultation for added pedagogical support please email Cutrara@Yorku.ca before December 20th.

-Samantha Cutrara