Dr Adam Crymble, Digital History Research Centre, University of Hertfordshire, has been working with undergraduate students to develop digital technology capabilities for the study of history. The co-authored ‘Digital in the Undergraduate History Curriculum’ case study describes the methodology and outcomes of integrating digital technologies into the curriculum.
The use of digital methods in historical research is now well established, and part of the common diet for graduate students. However ways of introducing such approaches and their benefits to undergraduates are less well developed. Some might say the methods involve a grasp of computing skills which would be a diversion from training in the basic skills of doing history, and the foundations of historical knowledge, which are the proper aims of undergraduate history.
However it would be foolish to ignore that undergraduates do use digital methods to undertake traditional tasks in their study of history, often strategically and in ways which do not always enhance their understanding. It seems at least possible that by harnessing the familiarity of students with digital technology, and introducing techniques derived from digitally-based historical research, history students can be led into a more productive relationship to use digital technology for the study of history, as well as being introduced to methods which are at the forefront of the discipline today. The aim, therefore, was to explore how this could be done and with what success.
A related issue is identifying what resources are needed to teach digital history at undergraduate level and what skills staff would need.
Digital in the Curriculum : Spotlight on the Digital Case study. / Chowcat, Ian; Colbron, Karen; Crymble, Adam. 12 p.