The Chinese University of Hong Kong Department of History Department of History
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HIST4702 Digital History

Semester 1 (2022-2023)

Lecture TimeThursday, 10:30 - 12:15

VenueRoom 302, Lee Shau Kee Building (LSK 302)


Lecturer Stuart MCMANUS (

Teaching Assistant MONTERO Claudia Isabelle Violeta (

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.  


*If class is in person, please bring your laptop/electronic device to every class*


  1. (8/9) Introduction: What is Digital History?

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



  1. (15/9) What is data? Introduction to EXCEL

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


  1. (22/9) Visualization with Tableau I [decide topic for final project]

Reading: Do Tableau tutorials:  

Students might also want to browse


  1. (29/9) Visualization with Tableau II [create sub-groups]


Reading:  Become a Tableau Jedi; browse:


  1. (6/10) Text Mining with Voyant I

Reading: ; OCR for Neo-Latin.


  1. (13/10) Text Mining with Voyant II

Learn all major voyant tools:!/guide/tools


  1. (20/10) Creating a Web Presence (not .com) 

Reading “Basic usage & Customizing”


  1. (27/10) Digital Mapping with QGIS I

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


  1. (3/11) Digital Mapping with QGIS II

Reading: QGIS Lessons 2.3-2.4 ;


  1. (10/11) 3-D Modelling I

Register for SketchUp Free ( and watch tutorial: ; study


  1. (17/11) 3-D Modelling II

Watch: ; Do free trial of Kubity Go


  1. (24/11) Video Creation (Openshot)

Reading: Openshot tutorial:

Teaching Evaluation at start of class.


  1. (1/12) Reflections & Final Project Troubleshooting
Assessment & Assignments

10% 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. 

N.B. Students will also be expected to attend at least three meetings of the digital humanities seminar (advertised on the Faculty of Arts website), as well as office hours on at least one occasion.


10% Weekly Response Paper

10x 200-word response papers for weeks 2-12.  These should answer the question: “How is this week’s tool(s) useful for creating or disseminating historical insights?”  Please answer with reference to the specific skills you have learned from doing the tutorials. Post on Blackboard forum.  Due by Thursday 9am each week (absolute deadline). 


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; rare books about China in the CUHK Library, 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). 

Due date December 9, 5pm.



The Programming Historian (


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.


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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