Weekly Readings, Questions, Postings, and Participation (30%)

On a weekly basis, you will be asked to provide questions related to the week’s assigned reading. We will be using these questions to guide class conversations, so please remember to include a page number or other form of reference for web sites, etc. for each question. For some weeks, questions may be replaced by a short-essay length assignment.

Participation in class discussion is of the utmost importance and students will be expected to engage with the readings and their fellow classmates.

An important part of your participation grade will be the presentation of your work at different stages to the class. (see details in Historical Essay section below)

Projects (70%)

The projects of this course are built around three types of assignments: a historical essay, chronographies, and web redesign and information architecture prototyping.

  • Historical essay– Each student will be responsible for researching and writing an essay on a research topic of their choice. These essays should consider the mission of OutHistory.org and should both be compatible with the site’s mission and be written with the public nature of the site in mind. This will affect your style or prose, length of text per page, how you integrate visual and audio media to accompany text, and how you connect to other texts online.
  • Chronographies– Students will compose a chronography for their historical essay in two different versions. Each chronography will be composed of at least eight important dates connected to their research. The first chronography will utilize the Timeline JS platform for the creation of algorithmically composed timelines. Students will be then asked to contemplate the form of these timelines and execute a more creative and less structurally pre-defined approach to the visualization of their dates.
  • Web Redesign and Information Architecture Prototype– Students will work in groups to reenvision OutHistory.org’s site design and information architecture. Starting with an early analysis and course site post, students will familiarize themselves with the site’s mission and consider to what extent it achieves its goal and how design improvements could enhance its effectiveness. Through a draft and iteration process, students will move from initial concepts to early drafts, to a final revised prototype proposal. This project will integrate students’ increasing familiarity with the course’s reading list as well as the work they will be doing laying out and designing their essay and chronographies.

See more specific details and dates of delivery below.

Topic Selection Proposal (600+ words) (5%)

This brief proposal will describe which research topic you intend to pursue for your historical essay. You will be asked to provide a narrative rationale as to why this project matches the mission of OutHistory.org, at least 4 of the minimum of 8 dates for the essay’s timeline, and some sources that you used to guide your decision.

  • DUE MARCH 12

Historical Essay (4000+ words) (25% written + 5% presentation)

Where possible your essay should include images, video, maps, etc. to add to the visual richness of your content. Research will require at least six sources per essay.

These two essays will be composed on the course’s WordPress site. This will allow you to integrate multimedia (including your timelines if you would like) and to think about them similarly to how they would be pubkished on a digital platform like OutHistory.

During the middle of the semester, you will be asked to present your research in process during the April 9th session and assign a reading relevant to your research for your classmates to read. (Presentation 5% of grade)


Chronographies (10%)

Your chronographies will each consist of at least eight dates relevant to the historical essay it accompanies. Your first version, a timeline, will be composed using Timeline JS. This tool uses simple Google spreadsheets to generate a timeline and accompanying embedding code that allows for easy use on platforms such as WordPress and Omeka. A workshop on February 19th will teach you how to use Timeline JS.

The second version of your chronography will be a creative experiment in the visualization of time. This expression of time should be more specifically designed to work with the content of your historical essay and provide a complex representation of the role of time and history in your essay topic. These chronographies can be executed using any form of a digital tool from InDesign to Photoshop to Illustrator to Prezi to Powerpoint or others.


Web Redesign and Information Architecture Prototype (25%)

Your web redesign and information architecture prototype will include the following:

  • Design for the front page of the site that provides navigation for the site in a way that integrates essays, chronographies, archives, and project information.
  • Content navigation view that organizes, categorizes and connects different essays and archive materials in an easily navigable interface.
  • Essay view for one essay topic that includes text, media, and navigation features to other parts of the site, especially to relevant associated essays and materials.
  • Archive object view for one object that includes image, metadata, and its connection to other parts of the site.
  • A wireframe that explains how the above views work together and define the information architecture of the sites different pieces.

Remember that these are first stage prototypes, and it is more important to represent how aspects of your design are laid out, spaced, and sized rather than details such as font, color, etc. These prototypes can be executed using any form of digital tool from InDesign to Invivo to Photoshop to Illustrator to Prezi to Powerpoint or other digital prototyping tools.

A full day of the course will be reserved for the presentation of drafts and final prototypes.


All students’ work is due by midnight May 18, 2019.