The Chinese University of Hong Kong Department of History Department of History
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HIST4700SM Topic Studies in Public History:
Introduction to Digital History

Semester 1 (2020-2021)

Lecture TimeTuesday 4:30pm-6:15pm

VenueLHC 104
(Y.C. Liang Hall 潤昌堂)


Lecturer Stuart MCMANUS ((852) 3943 7858 /

Teaching Assistant WANG Yongxi (

Course Description

Course Description


The use of digital methods to either ask historical questions or display historical data is growly rapidly.  This course introduces students to the exciting world of digital history, including digital mapping, visualization, digital curation, and some basic programming. These are skills that students will be able to apply to a range of historical problems, and will also be useful in a variety of future careers.  


Grade Descriptors


Grade A Outstanding performance on all learning outcomes.

Grade A- Generally outstanding performance on all (or almost all) learning outcomes.

Grade B Substantial performance on all learning outcomes, OR high performance on some learning outcomes which compensates for less satisfactory performance on others, resulting in overall substantial performance.

Grade C Satisfactory performance on the majority of learning outcomes, possibly with a few weaknesses.

Grade D Barely satisfactory performance on a number of learning outcomes.

Grade F Unsatisfactory performance on a number of learning outcomes, OR failure to meet specified assessment requirements.




*If class is in person, please bring your laptop/electron devise to every class*


  1. Introduction: What is Digital History?

Reading: Watch introductory video and read the various parts of “Concepts in Digital Humanities:


  1. What is data? Introduction to EXCEL

Reading: 3B, (just read, do not do exercises);

Sections 1.1, 1.2,. 1.3, 2.1, 2.2, 3.1, 4.1, 4.3 of Beginning Excel


  1. Visualization with Tableau I

Reading: Do Tableau tutorial 1-13:


  1. Visualization with Tableau II (+ Palladio)

Reading:  Do Tableau tutorial 13-21: ; explore Palladio (Start > Sample Data)


  1. Digital Mapping with QGIS I

Reading: explore the following resources: Google MyMaps , Timeline .  Do QGIS Lessons 2.1-2.2


  1. Digital Mapping with QGIS II (+basic 3d modelling)

Reading: QGIS Lessons 2.3-2.4 ; Register for SketchUp Free ( and watch tutorial:     


  1. Text Mining (voyant)

Do Text Analysis tutorial ; and  These video tutorials might also be useful:


  1. Digital Curation (wordpress, omeka and neatline)

Reading: Omeka, and examine ; WordPress tutorial


  1. Video Creation (Openshot)

Reading: Openshot tutorial:


  1. Apps for History (MIT App Inventor)

Reading: do 3 out of 5 tutorials


  1. Programming for History I – Scratch & C

Reading: Watch weeks 0 & 1 videos 


  1. Programming for History II – Python

Reading: (lessons 1-10)


  1. Final Project Troubleshooting
Assessment & Assignments



20% Attendance and Participation in Lecture

Students are expected to attend and contribute to lectures. Students are also expected to do the set reading ahead of class and do any set homework exercises.  Although students will become expert in only one or two digital methods, they must learn the rudiments of all the methods covered. 


30% Discussion in tutorial (7.5% each tutorial)

In each of the tutorials, each of the subgroups will collectively present their ideas/progress (in the form of a PowerPoint with relevant data/visualizations/etc.) and seek feedback from other students.   Each tutorial will be devoted to a different stage of project management: planning, build-up, implementation, closeout. 


50% Final Group Project

Students will complete a coherent group project on one of four topics of their collective choice (Africa and China from antiquity to the present; history of Shatin, history of Macau, pandemics in Asian history, western books in CUHK library [if in person]).  Depending on numbers, students will be divided into small groups, each responsible for a different element, e.g. data/visualizations, maps, app, video, website (+overall coordination), programming component (if someone particularly wants to learn this), etc. Students should communicate regularly and I suggest you set up a Whatsapp group for this purpose.  Each group will keep a project diary (also called learning log) of which methods they learned, how many times/how long they communicated, collaborated, how they organized their time/effort/etc.   Grade will be based on both the collaboration/teamwork process (20% based on learning log) and the final product (30% based on the project).



The Programming Historian <>

UCLA Intro to Digital History <>

Honesty in Academic Work

Attention is drawn to University policy and regulations on honesty in academic work, and to the disciplinary guidelines and procedures applicable to breaches of such policy and regulations. Details may be found at

With each assignment, students will be required to submit a signed declaration that they are aware of these policies, regulations, guidelines and procedures.

  • In the case of group projects, all members of the group should be asked to sign the declaration, each of whom is responsible and liable to disciplinary actions, irrespective of whether he/she has signed the declaration and whether he/she has contributed, directly or indirectly, to the problematic contents.
  • For assignments in the form of a computer-generated document that is principally text-based and submitted via VeriGuide, the statement, in the form of a receipt, will be issued by the system upon students’ uploading of the soft copy of the assignment.

Assignments without the properly signed declaration will not be graded by teachers.

Only the final version of the assignment should be submitted via VeriGuide.

The submission of a piece of work, or a part of a piece of work, for more than one purpose (e.g. to satisfy the requirements in two different courses) without declaration to this effect shall be regarded as having committed undeclared multiple submissions. It is common and acceptable to reuse a turn of phrase or a sentence or two from one’s own work; but wholesale reuse is problematic. In any case, agreement from the course teacher(s) concerned should be obtained prior to the submission of the piece of work.

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