School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures Undergraduate Course Proposal Form Please note

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The University of Edinburgh

College of Humanities and Social Science

School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures

Undergraduate Course Proposal Form
Please note:

  • All boxes must be completed, none to be left blank. Use ‘N/A’ if needed.

  • Help fields have been added to provide guidance.


Digital Humanities for Literary Studies

2. Rationale

This is not a CCAM requirement but is a Board of Studies requirement, in which the reason for introducing the course and the need for it must be explained to the satisfaction of the relevant school committee.

Digital Humanities is an area in which there is increasingly scholarly interest, not only among universities more generally (some of which are now offering entire undergraduate programmes and Masters courses in the subject), but also internally within Edinburgh: witness the Digital Day of Ideas symposia that have been held over the past few years, the creation of a permanent lectureship in the subject, and the increasing number of courses across the humanities which make use of digital resources or methods in one way or another, and which are well received by students. (This is to say nothing of the rising number of scholarly journals, professional associations, conferences and so forth in the area.) At the moment there is no undergraduate course offered in Digital Humanities: this course is designed to fill that gap, and also to function as a way of gauging where undergraduate students’ digital literacies are weakest – and strongest – as further courses in this area (eg. Digital History) may be developed by colleagues in the future.

3.Business Case


Please confirm the course has been discussed and approved as per your subject area practice

4. Library Resources


This box can be left blank. Your reading list will be considered by the Library rep and approval given at the Board of Studies.


5.1 School

Literatures, Languages and Cultures

5.2 College


5.3 Course Type

Choose from:

Standard, Dissertation, Sandwich, Placement, Year Abroad, Project

5.4 Availability

Choose from:

Not Available to Visiting Studies; Available to All Students; Part Year Visiting Students Only


Not Available to Visiting Students

5.5 Credit


SCQF Levels 7 – 10 for UG

5.7 Credits

Choose from: 10; 20; 40; Other (please specify)

SCQF Level 10 (Year 4 Undergraduate)


5.6 Normal Year taken

4th year

5.8 Home Subject Area

English Literature

5.9 Other Subject Area

Unless the course is also being taught by another school, enter N/A


    1. Mode of Study

Choose from: Classes & Assessment incl. centrally arranged exam; Class & Assessment excl. centrally arranged exam; Exam only; Class only

5.11 Course Level


Class & Assessment excl. centrally arranged exam

5.12 Summary Description

An informative short description of the course should be provided, the description will appear in the course catalogue within the DRPS.

Digital Humanities is a field of study in which scholarly applications of technology are used to perform analyses and generate insights that would be difficult or impossible to achieve without the help of technology. This course will introduce students to a number of digital tools that will aid them both in their studies and their lives beyond university, and will help them to use these tools in a critical way. The approach taken to DH in this course is grounded in literature, linguistics and book history. We will examine computer-mediated communication, and will consider the development of digital texts in the light of earlier technologies such as the printing press. We will focus on two kinds of approaches that are particularly prominent within digital literary studies – computational text analysis and digital mapping – and we will explore, and critique, examples of projects which use these tools. The hands-on nature of the course is such that students will have the opportunity to learn how to use these applications for themselves, and will need to devote time each week to participating in the class’s virtual community through regular, informative contributions to the course blog. As the main assessment for the course, students will produce a digital project which conforms to the same high standards of scholarly rigour as an assessed essay, but which is attentive to the specific imperatives of the online environment in relation to genre, design and format.

6. Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)

6.1 Pre-requisites

These will probably be specific courses, although in certain circumstances, this might include alternative courses, e.g. Course A or Course B.

Students must have passed: ( English Literature 1 (ENLI08001) OR Scottish Literature 1 (ENLI08016)) AND ( English Literature 2 (ENLI08003) OR Scottish Literature 2 (ENLI08004))

6.2 Co-requisites

Where they exist, these will be specific courses


6.3 Prohibited combinations

Course(s) which cannot be taken with this proposed course and counted towards a graduating curriculum

6.4 Other requirements

This is unlikely to include additional requirements but might outline alternative qualifications, e.g. entry to honours in certain specified programmes



7. Information for Visiting Students

Any relevant information for visiting students should be entered here. This should include prerequisites.

8. Course delivery Information

8.1 Delivery period

S1, S2 or Full Year

8.2 Learn enabled

Y or N (N results in no Learn site for this course)

8.3 Quota

The rationale for Pre hons quotas should be approved annually by CHSS. Seek guidance from your HoD.



8.4 Days & Times of whole class sessions


9. Detailed description

9.1 Course Description

If you have a longer description of what the student will experience in doing this course, enter it here. If so it should aim to capture the student experience.

9.2 Breakdown of learning & teaching activities

Enter a value for each category (values under certain categories may be zero). A 20 credit course equates to 200 hours; 40 credits to 400 hours (these values will be automatically calculated by attributing hours leftover after teaching/assessment to ‘independent learning’).

For more information see:

Lectures: 0

Seminar/Tutorials: 0

Dissertation/Project Supervision Hours: 0

Supervised Practical\Workshop\Studio Hours: 30

Fieldwork Hours: 0

External Visits: 0

Online Activities: 20

Feedback/Feedforward: 1

Formative Assessment Hours: 5

Summative Assessment hours: 40

Scheduled Revision Sessions: 0
Other Study: 104

9.3 Additional information

Any further information, not captured elsewhere about the learning and teaching activities or assessment.

Note on the class time: The course will consist of ten 3-hour workshops, and will be timetabled to fit in with the requirements of other courses in the department. Autonomous Learning Groups will be set up and activities will be carefully planned so that preparation exercises done in ALGs will contribute to students’ class participation activities. It is unusual for Honours options to run as three-hour classes, but there are good reasons – practical and pedagogical – for this. As these classes are hands-on lab-style workshops rather than conventional seminars, more time is needed to allow for students to practise using the tools, and also to allow for technical problems, software installation, forgotten passwords and so on, as well as much of the conventional content of a seminar such as discussion of readings. The experience of the course organiser in teaching similar courses in the pass is that having a longer slot for class in fact saves students time in the long run, as the instructor is there in the classroom to help them if they run into technical problems, as opposed to a situation where they are attempting to use a tool or a site at home and have to spend many additional hours trying to solve the problem themselves. In their written feedback from past classes, students have in fact requested a longer slot that the normal two hours.
Note on the non-anonymous summative assessment tasks: There is a solid pedagogical rationale for the decision to make the summative assessment non-anonymous. In the digital humanities, there is a strong ethos of public scholarship – comprising support for open access publications and open source software – which has translated across to the pedagogical realm, and which has resulted in efforts to design assessments whose end results are publically available online. Rather than writing essays that only they and their markers will read, for instance, students produce scholarship that can be viewed by anyone with access to the internet and that will continue to be visible after the course is finished. Many pedagogical benefits flow from this approach. First, the work becomes instantly more meaningful if it is out in public: students can imagine it being seen by anyone with access to the internet, and also can be led to see themselves as participants in a scholarly conversation. This is particularly valuable at postgraduate level: I know of several scholarly blogs of extremely high quality that are produced by postgraduate researchers. Second, the digital artefacts students produce can serve as compelling illustrations of their abilities, for example on their CVs or as evidence of their achievement in applications for further study. Third, students are frequently motivated to complete the work to a high level as it can be seen not just by their peers but by the world at large. Fourth, asking students to produce scholarly content in a digital context allows them to demonstrate that they understand how to shape their work to make it appropriate to a digital format, which accords with learning objective 4) above. Fifth, an important part of the course involves getting students to consider their digital presence: the information available about them online. Giving students the opportunity to produce some serious, scholarly digital material can be an important resource in helping them to construct a digital identity that will serve them well after their studies are over. For these and other reasons, it is important for the assessments to be linked to students’ real-world identities.

9.4 Weighting of summative assessments

Breakdown of summative assessment between different types (coursework, exam, etc.), with percentage weighting

There are three summative assessments for the course:
1. Oral presentation (20%)

2. Class participation (30%)

3. Digital project (50%)

9.5 Exam information

Exam diet

Paper name

Hours: minutes



Choose from:

December; April/May


Resit information

Can be used to record details like changes of assessment method (especially from coursework to exam) in case of resits.

The resit diet will be set as ‘August’ by default.


10. List of Learning Outcomes

List the Learning Outcomes. Please refrain from using discursive text, but think about them as actual outcomes that relate to the activities of the course and, in particular, to the assessment. The outcomes should also be ‘active’ in that they will involve intellectual activity – the student will ‘show’, ‘demonstrate’, ‘analyse’, etc.

LO 1

Students should be able to use a selection of digital tools with practical applications for their study and their life beyond the university, including tools for textual analysis, web publishing platforms, applications that facilitate collaborative working, and georeferencing tools.

LO 2

Students should be able to think critically about what they are doing when they read, write, search for information and engage with others in an online environment, using the tools of critical reading and writing they have already begun to develop through their study of English literature.

LO 3

Students should be able to produce writing in a number of genres, and to understand their writing as something that can be a contribution to knowledge and that is done with an audience in mind.

LO 4

Students should be able to articulate some of the benefits and the drawbacks of using digital tools to approach literary analysis and the study of the humanities more generally.

LO 5

Students should be able to situate developments in digital technology of the past several decades within the broader historical context of textual technologies.

LO 6

Students should attain a high degree of digital literacy, including the ability to evaluate online sources, navigate efficiently through large amounts of information, and critically interrogate the way they use the internet to get information, produce content and interact with others.

LO 7

LO 8

LO 9

LO 10

11. Detailed Assessment Information

11.1 Formative Feedback Event (Nature and Timing)

This regulatory requirement is not captured either by CCAM or DRPS. The nature and timing of it (including return of feedback) should be indicated, although be careful not to be too precise here. The appropriate place for total precision is in the course booklet, or equivalent document.

Students will be offered formative feedback throughout the term on the discursive writing they produce for the class social media accounts, in the form of comments and responses by the class tutor.

The workshop format of the class also enables the class tutor to give students formative feedback in class while they are learning to use the tools for the final digital project, which includes performing different types of analysis and assembling the results into a form appropriate for a digital context. Some of this work will be done in the class itself, precisely so that the class tutor can correct mistakes and fix technical errors as they arise, which is an important part of the formative feedback for the students’ work on their digital project.

11.2 Elements Of Summative Assessment (With Weightings)

More detailed version of 9.4.

1. Oral presentation: to be delivered in class individually or in a group depending on class numbers (20%)

2. Class participation: contributions to class blog, map posts, class twitter stream etc (30%)

3. Collaboratively built digital project: scholarly content made accessible to a generalist audience (50%)

11.3 Relationship Between Assessment and Learning Outcomes

Map the numbered LOs against the assessments. This could also include formative assessment.

LO 1: Project, Class participation, In-class activities

LO 2: Project, Class participation, Presentation

LO 3: Project, Class participation, Presentation

LO 4: Project, Class participation, Presentation, In-class activities

LO 5: In-class activities, Class participation

LO 6: Project, Class participation, Presentation, In-class activities

11.4 Relationship to Programme Assessment Spine/Plan

Awaiting further guidance

11.5 Main Graduate Attributes

This involves a very basic sort of mapping of the main graduate attributes in relation to the course pedagogy and assessment types.

This does not require detailed mapping of particular parts of the course or its assessment to individual attributes. A simple listing of the relevant attributes will suffice.

This goes into the ‘Transferable Skills’ section of CCAM. In that box, please use the heading ‘Main Graduate Attributes’ as part of the free text insertion. This will then appear in the DRPS.

A. Research and Enquiry (Graduates of the University will be able to create new knowledge and opportunities for learning through the process of research and enquiry): developed through readings and in-class activities; tested by class participation activities, presentation and project.
B. Personal and Intellectual Autonomy (Graduates of the University will be able to work independently and sustainably, in a way that is informed by openness, curiosity and a desire to meet new challenges): developed through class participation activities and presentation.
C. Communication (Graduates of the University will recognise and value communication as the tool for negotiating and creating new understanding, collaborating with others, and furthering their own learning): developed through presentation, class participation activities and project, which ask students to communicate their ideas and understanding in different formats (eg. speaking aloud vs. informal digital writing vs. formal digital writing).
D. Personal Effectiveness (Graduates of the University will be able to effect change and be responsive to the situations and environments in which they operate): developed through the class participation activities, especially those designed to help students understand their digital presence in a fast-changing online environment, and also the collaborative work required to complete the project.

12. Organisation

Course organiser

Dr Anouk Lang

Course secretary

Mrs Anne Mason

Exam Board Convenor

Marking Scheme

Choose from:

Common Marking Scheme - Honours Grade Only

Common Marking Scheme - Honours Mark/Grade

Common Marking Scheme - UG Non-Honours Grade Only

Common Marking Scheme - UG Non-Honours Mark/Grade

Taught in Gaelic?


Additional costs

None: all software used is free, and all texts are available online

13. Additional Information

14. Keywords

These can be useful for database organization and searching

digital humanities, computational analysis, computational linguistics, GIS, digital mapping, digital scholarship, new media, digital media, blended learning

15. Course proposal information

Course proposer

Dr Anouk Lang

Url for supporting documentation

16. School Specific Requirements

1. What is Digital Humanities? Introduction to the field

2. Computational tools for text analysis 1

3. Computational tools for text analysis 2

4. Computer-mediated communication

5. Versioning

6. Historicizing textual technologies 1

7. Historicizing textual technologies 2

8. Geospatial technologies 1

9. Geospatial technologies 2

10. Scholarship in the digital age: data, privacy, presence

Reading List (Please breakdown into ‘compulsory’ and ‘recommended’):
Darnton, Robert. “Google and the Future of Books.” New York Review of Books 12 February 2009. Web. 13 Dec. 2013.

Drucker, Johanna. ‘Pixel Dust: Illusions of Innovation in Scholarly Publishing’. Los Angeles Review of Books (2014). Web. 22 Jan. 2014.

Duguid, Paul. “Material Matters: The Past and Futurology of the Book”. The Book History Reader. 2nd revised ed. Ed. David Finkelstein and Alistair McCleery. Abingdon: Routledge, 2006. 494-508. Print.

Flanders, Julia. “The Productive Unease of 21st-century Digital Scholarship.” Digital Humanities Quarterly 3.3 (Summer 2009). Web. 13 Dec. 2013.

Grafton, Anthony. “Future Reading: Digitization and its Discontents.” The New Yorker 5 November 2007. Web. 13 Dec 2013.

Gregory, Ian, and David Cooper. “GIS, Texts, and Images: New Approaches.” Poetess Archive Journal 2.1 (2010). Web. 13 Dec 2013.

Hayles, N. Katherine. “How We Read: Close, Hyper, Machine,” ADE Bulletin 150 (2010): 62-79. Web. 13 Dec. 2013.

Hindley, Meredith. “Mapping the Republic of Letters.” Humanities: The Magazine of the National Endowment for the Humanities 34.6 (2013). Web. 13 Dec. 2013.

Hitchcock, Tim. “Big Data for Dead People: Digital Readings and the Conundrums of Positivism.” Keynote Address at CVCE Conference: Reading Historical Sources in the Digital Age, 4-5 December 2013. 9 Dec. 2013. Web. 13 Dec. 2013.

Juola, Patrick. “Authorship Attribution.” Foundations and Trends in Information Retrieval 1.3 (2006): 233–334. Web. 21 Oct. 2011.

Keim, Brandon. ‘Why the Smart Reading Device of the Future May Be … Paper.” Wired 1 May 2014. Web. 8 May 2014.

Kirsch, Adam. “Technology Is Taking Over English Departments.” The New Republic 2 May 2014. Web. 8 May 2014.

Kirschenbaum, Matthew. “What Is Digital Humanities and What’s It Doing in English Departments?” ADE Bulletin 150 (2010): 1-7. Print.

Leary, Patrick. “Googling the Victorians.” Journal of Victorian Culture 10:1 (Spring 2005): 72-86. Web. 13 Dec. 2013.

Madrigal, Alexis. “How Netflix Reverse Engineered Hollywood.” The Atlantic 2 Jan. 2014. Web. 18 Nov. 2014.

McCarty, Willard. “What is Humanities Computing? Toward a Definition of the Field.” Address at Reed College, 2 Mar 1998. Web. 13 Dec. 2013.

Michel, Jean-Baptiste et al. “Quantitative Analysis of Culture Using Millions of Digitized Books.” Science 331.176 (2011): 176-182. Web.

Nunberg, Geoffrey. “Farewell to the Information Age.” The Future of the Book. Ed. Nunberg. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1996. 103-138. Print.

Piez, Wendell. “Something Called ‘Digital Humanities’.” Digital Humanities Quarterly 2.1 (2008). Web. 13 Dec 2013.

Rockwell, Geoffrey. “What is Text Analysis, Really?” Literary and Linguistic Computing 18.2 (2003): 209-219. Web. 13 Dec 2013.

Schmidt, Ben. “Reading Digital Sources: A Case Study in Ship’s Logs.” Sapping Attention 15 Nov. 2012. Web. 13 Dec. 2013.

Serlen, Rachel. “The Distant Future? Reading Franco Moretti.” Literature Compass 7.3 (2010): 214-225. Web. 13 Dec 2013.

Sinclair, Stèfan. “Computer-Assisted Reading: Reconceiving Text Analysis.” Literary and Linguistic Computing 18.2 (2003): 167-74. Web. 13 Dec 2013.

Underwood, Ted. “Where to Start with Text Mining.” The Stone and the Shell 14 Aug 2012. Web. 13 Dec 2013.

Underwood, Ted. “Why Digital Humanities Isn’t Actually ‘The Next Thing in Literary Studies’”. The Stone and the Shell 27 Dec. 2011. Web. 13 Dec. 2013.

Vanhoutte, Edward. “The Gates of Hell: History and Definition of Digital | Humanities | Computing.” Defining Digital Humanities: A Reader. Ed. Melissa Terras, Julianne Nyhan, and Edward Vanhoutte. Farnham: Ashgate, 2013. 119–156. Print.

Other relevant critical material will be made available on Learn.

Bartscherer, Thomas, and Roderick Coover, eds. Switching Codes: Thinking Through Digital Technology in the Humanities and the Arts. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2011. Print.

Bodenhamer, David, John Corrigan, and Trevor Harris, eds. The Spatial Humanities: GIS and the Future of Humanities Scholarship. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2010. Print.

Bolter, Jay David, and Richard Grusin. Remediation: Understanding New Media. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1999. Print.

Davidson, Cathy N. Now You See It: How the Brain Science of Attention Will Transform the Way We Live, Work, and Learn. New York: Viking, 2011. Print.

Gold, Matthew K., ed. Debates in the Digital Humanities. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2012. Print.

Gregory, Ian, and Paul S. Ell. Historical GIS: Technologies, Methodologies, and Scholarship. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007. Print.

Jockers, Matthew Lee. Macroanalysis: Digital Methods and Literary History. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2013. Print.

Kirschenbaum, Matthew G. Mechanisms: New Media and the Forensic Imagination. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2008. Print.

Lang, Anouk, ed. From Codex to Hypertext: Reading at the Turn of the Twenty-First Century. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2012. Print.

Moretti, Franco. Graphs, Maps, Trees: Abstract Models for A Literary History. London: Verso, 2005. Print.

Ramsay, Stephen. Reading Machines: Toward an Algorithmic Criticism. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2011. Print.

Schreibman, Susan, Ray Siemens, and John Unsworth, eds., A Companion to Digital Humanities. Oxford: Blackwell, 2004. Web.

Shirky, Clay. Here Comes Everybody. London: Penguin, 2009. Print.

Siemens, Ray, and Susan Schreibman, eds. A Companion to Digital Literary Studies. Oxford: Blackwell, 2008. Web.

Terras, Melissa, Julianne Nyhan, and Edward Vanhoutte, eds. Defining Digital Humanities: A Reader. Farnham: Ashgate, 2013. Print.

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