Fall 2016 Course Descriptions

COMP 5-01 Introduction to Digital Humanities

M. Beaulieu
MW 1:30-2:45, Eaton Hall 333
G+ Block

The Humanities is increasingly making use of computerized methods in gathering and interpreting research data. Simultaneously, the world has seen a dramatic increase in the dissemination of numerical claims-—the products of data science--in forms ranging from infographics in newspapers to interactive visualizations on social media and other web sites. This course covers selected topics in computing approaches for the Humanities. The aim is to equip Humanities students with basic awareness and skills in using digital research methods and applying that knowledge to understanding and interrogating the numerical claims produced by data scientists. Additionally, the course aims to provide experience with a variety of computational tools to approach Humanities research 9 questions, topics, and datasets. All examples and the applications of the computational tools will be drawn from the Humanities. We hope to empower Humanities students to understand and interpret research conducted with computerized methods. After this course, they should be familiar with the steps involved in working with data. They will be prepared to ask questions of numerical claims they encounter in publications and online. Where did the source data come from? How was it processed? Why was it visualized in this way and how might the visualization help or hinder appropriate interpretation? They will also be prepared to engage in research together with data scientists and thus form better teams. Non-Humanities students will be better equipped to engage with Humanists by getting a sense for the needs of the field. They will also gain awareness of the different topics explored in the Humanities (such as language, history, prosopography, geolocalization, etc). Students will develop an interest in these disciplines and add them to a well-rounded curriculum. Further, students will benefit from exposure to and hands on experience with real world applications of data science techniques in the Humanities. The format of the course will be modeled after introductory Computer Science (CS) courses at Tufts. The course is open to all Tufts undergraduates and will be counted as a Humanities credit.

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