Blogging

At the end of each week, complete a blog post on the week’s readings and exercises to the course blog. You will complete six of these over the course of the quarter. I expect more than just a summary of the readings. Think about the kinds of questions they raised for you, the themes and issues that emerged across the readings, and how those readings might relate to the previous week’s readings. During some weeks you’ll also have homework exercises that get you hands-on with a tool. If that’s the case, your post should put the readings in conversation with the tool(s) used during the week. Blog posts are due by Saturday at midnight.

Discussion questions

Each week we have readings, you will be required to submit a set of at least three discussion questions based on the readings that address the topics and themes of the readings. Discussion questions should be posted to the course blog and will be due by midnight on the Sunday before class.

Class participation

Come to class prepared to discuss the texts and share ideas about the readings and digital tools or methods you worked with over the course of the week. Participation points are determined by your contribution to the discussion, in addition to the discussion questions you submit to CourseWork. Doing careful readings of the texts, raising questions about what you’ve read, and contributing thoughtfully to class discussion will ensure success.

Presentations

In Week 8 and Week 9 you will be presenting on your research. In Week 8 you will present to the class your progress on your digital project. In Week 9 we will hold a public electronic poster session on our digital projects in the Wallenberg Learning Theater.

Book review

You will be required to acquire one book from the list below and write a three page book review. Remember that this is not a summary of the text. Rather, you will engage with the ideas, arguments, themes, and interpretation offered by the author(s). The book review can be submitted at any time in the quarter and can be resubmitted as often as you would like if you are not happy with the grade you are given. The final book review, however, is absolutely due on November 24.

Course project and presentation

The core of the course will be an original digital history project. You will complete a historical analysis using digital methods we cover in the course and can approach the history of Silicon Valley in many ways. Perhaps your group is interested in creating an interactive map of historical technology companies in order to understand the growth of industry in the Bay Area. Maybe you are interested in analyzing the text of the Palo Alto Times in order to understand how the newspaper discussed high technology industrialization over time. You might be interested in creating an interactive exhibit using photographs, video, and text that explains some element of Silicon Valley’s history. Maybe you’re interested in the public history of Stanford and want to explore why certain buildings are named after people important in the history of Silicon Valley and the role they played in the Valley’s history. The topic of the research is up to you. We will be examining many entry-level tools in this course that will lend themselves to historical research, and your projects will explore both the history of Silicon Valley as well as testing the digital method’s usefulness to offering new perspectives and explanations.

The final project should be substantial and engage with both the history and the methods learned in the course. The project can be limited to a single method – perhaps mapping is the best approach, for example – but should engage with the historical material in a significant way. If your project tends to focus on a particular person, for example, don’t just recount the person’s life. Thoughtfully examine their contribution to the history of Silicon Valley, analyze and interpret the historical evidence, and draw conclusions. The final project is due at the electronic poster session on December 1.

Evaluation

Assignments in the course will receive these weights. For collaborative work, your grade will be determined both by your individual contribution and by the overall quality of the project.

assignment weight
digital research project 40%
presentation of project 10%
readings and discussions 30%
book review 10%
blogging 10%