Updated March 22 2020

Communication and Respect

For the remainder of the semester, we will be meeting virtually to discuss course readings, cover coding concepts, and share updates on final projects. We will ideally be using Zoom synchronously, but given the increased internet usage we may need to find creative solutions to account for variable internet connections. Please let me know if you are concerned about your internet connection or if you’re having difficulties connecting to a call.

In terms of Zoom etiquette, we will be learning what works best for our course meetings. Understandably we will likely interrupt one another and at times struggle to hear each other. I ask that you each try to continue to be respectful and engaged, but again if you have concerns, please let me know.

Rule of thumb from here on out is to over-communicate!

Outside of our meetings, course communication will continue to primarily be through our Slack Channel on cdhprinceton.slack.com. Office hours will now be virtual as well. You can join my Zoom room (link is available on Slack) Tuesday afternoons 4-5pm EST or Wednesday mornings from 9-10am EST, but I am also happy to meet at other times as requested.

Attendance and Life Happens (Covid-19 Policies)

When we first started this course, I tried to design policies that would be flexible enough for most life events. However, a global pandemic is more than I anticipated! Given the severity of the situation, I want to give some guidance and reassurance about how the course will proceed.

First, I am hoping we can get through the remainder of the syllabus, but I also realize that we need to plan in case we become sick or are unable to attend class. In the scenario, where I am no longer able to teach due to COVID-19, I will do my best to find substitute instructors through the CDH with the goal of completing your final project. If you or someone close to you becomes ill and you are no longer able to attend class or complete the final project, I will in consultation with you determine a final grade based on your existing work and if requested advocate for you to be able to move the course to pass/fail (I’m assuming Princeton will probably make this available for most courses).

Depending on the urgency of your situation, I realize that communicating with your instructor is a low priority, but please get in touch when you can to let me know if anything comes up. After our discussion on Tuesday March 24, I will likely end up altering some of the policies for for attendance and participation grades to take into account the fact that we may have more absences and difficulties connecting with Zoom. As a first measure though, I will not have any attendance policy besides just asking you do your best to let me know before class if you will not be attending.

If you are thinking of missing class because you are overwhelmed with your workload, please instead take an information overload day. On these days you will be excused from the assigned readings and in-class discussion. Instead you will be expected to actively listen to the discussion and then consult with the instructor about how to make up any relevant assignments at a later date. I realize the reading load and assignments for this course are significant and that you are balancing a number of other commitments at the same time, so information overload days are intended to help you manage your stress.

The idea for information overload days comes from Ryan Cordell’s Building A Better Book Syllabus https://f19bbb.ryancordell.org/policies/

Disability Accommodations

If you have a disability, I encourage you to discuss your accommodations and needs with me as early in the semester as possible. I will work with you to ensure that accommodations are provided as appropriate. If you suspect that you may have a disability and would benefit from accommodations but are not yet registered with the Office of Disability Services, you can find the relevant information at https://ods.princeton.edu/student-services/registration-and-self-identification.

Workload Expectations and Extensions

On average, you should plan to budget 3-5 hours for weekly readings and 2-3 hours for coding assignments. If you have concerns over the amount of assigned readings or any of the homework, please feel free to discuss them with me. If for whatever reason you need an extension, please come speak with me and we can try and arrangement depending on other assignments. I am always happy to extend due dates depending on your other commitments, but I also want to make sure that you are learning appropriate time management and project management skills.

Required Texts and Resources

Almost all the readings will be available online through either our course website or Blackboard, with the exception of Ted Underwood’s Distant Horizons: Digital Evidence and Literary Change (University of Chicago, 2019). The book should be available at Labyrinth Books across the street https://www.labyrinthbooks.com/product/9780226612836 or on Amazon, etc.

Guidelines for Readings

Assigned reading should be completed prior to a course meeting. Readings listed under additional readings are supplemental and are there if you want more information on the topic.

Questions to consider will completing the readings include:

  • What is the main argument of the reading? Is there an argument? What is interesting or evocative or infuriating?
  • How does the author support the argument?
  • How would you connect the reading to previous readings? Don’t focus on detailing everything the author says, but instead try to summarize in a few lines their central points and how they relate to the other readings from that week.

For guidance on sample questions for weekly readings, please see the assignments guidelines.

Guidelines for Coding

Coding assignments should be submitted via Github, unless indicated otherwise. Most coders work collaboratively, often engaging in pair programming, a method of talking through code problems together. This course encourages you to pair program and work together to learn from each other’s solutions. However, be aware that copying and pasting code might get you through one week, but the concepts in this course move quickly and build upon each other, so do your best to try and complete the assignments each week. Questions are encouraged both in person and online.

Academic and Self Integrity

You are required to adhere to the Princeton University Honor Code https://ua.princeton.edu/contents/undergraduate-honor-system. In short: don’t cheat. If you need help, see the instructor.

Depending on your background, you might have already covered some of the course materials earlier or have more aptitude for certain aspects of the course. I would encourage you to try and challenge yourself through either undertaking some of the additional readings and/or requesting more advanced coding assignments. Digital humanities is such a broad area of research that the sooner you take ownership for your learning, the further you will go.