Final Projects

The Finished Projects

WORDLINE: A text-based glimpse into Carleton’s Second Fifty Years
Pallav Kumar, Dustin Michels, Erika Farmer, and Alice Welna

ZOOBOOK MAPS: Carls from all Paths of Life
Selam Nicola, Blossom Booth, Genesis Rojas, and Quang Tran

THEN AND NOW: A Digital Humanities Project on the Past and Present of Carleton College’s Campus
Maya Kassahun, Tonya Piergies, Clarissa Smith, Ana Yanes

WE ARE THE ARB: Interactive Historical Tours of the Carleton College Arboretum
Eliza Malakoff, Joseph Nardi, Wilson Li, Dake Wang, Malekai Mischke, Joshua Song

The Assignment

The final projects for the course will revolve around the second fifty years of Carleton’s history (1916–1966) as the college nears its sesquicentennial anniversary (that’s the 150). The local setting of our college—its physical environment, its buildings, and its historical and literary archives—constitute our data set. Collectively, we will use new digital technologies to tell stories (well-researched, carefully documented, scholarly sophisticated stories) of how Carleton’s past inhabitants built, inhabited and experienced the spaces that we encounter (or no longer encounter) today.

You and your group will therefore design and execute a DH project using the tools and platforms of your choosing and keyed to your discipline of choice. All projects will make use of local resources, including the holdings of the Carleton College archives, local newspapers from the Northfield historical society, literary works set in the local environment, and environmental data. Part of your research will therefore involve getting out from behind the desk and into the community to gather real world data.

The projects must:
  • Be based on some aspect of Carleton’s history, using primary sources from local archvies
  • Feature at least one of the buildings built in Carleton’s second 50 years (i.e. between 1916 and 1966)
  • Include an interactive visualization or interface to your source data
  • Incorporate a strong narrative, storytelling element leading the user through your data
  • Be hosted on one of your group members Reclaim Hosting servers,
  • and be presented with clear narrative introduction, bibliography and supporting documentation in a web-publishing platform of your choice: WordPress, Omeka, custom HTML, etc.

Here are some suggestions for potential topics to explore

  • social networks in Carleton’s past — where did students come from, who did they interact with and how did they stay connected beyond campus?
  • town/gown — investigating the negotiations between Carleton’s growing campus, the town of Northfield and the surrounding landscape
  • the evolution of a building or buildings on campus and the economic, political and social factors that influenced or resulted from those decisions,
  • the campus that might have been — investigating architectural plans, proposals and planning documents for building projects that never came to fruition,
  • the lived experience of Carleton students — exploring how the built environment of the middle fifty years shaped individual or multiple student lives,
  • a textual analysis of Carleton students’ literary output, or self representations in yearbooks, etc.
  • Invent your own!

(Last year’s projects covering the first fifty years can be viewed here for inspiration and ideas).

Final digital projects could take the form of

Your project will be pitched in week 5, detailed and refined in week 7, published and presented in week 10.

Assignment 1 — The Pitch (Week 5)

Form a group of 3-4 and chose or invent a project.  Collectively write a blog post on the course blog, stating the following:
  • Members of the group
  • The definition of the project topic and objectives for what you plan to produce
  • The proposed methodology:
    • What data do you hope to use and how do you hope to find it?
    • What tools and techniques will you use to gather sources and store your data?
    • What analyses or transformations will you conduct on those data?
    • How will you present the results and integrate the digital assets you create as an interactive final product?
  • The proposed timeline of deliverables
  • And finally, a link to one or more DH projects that you think might make a good model for what you plan to do.

Create a unique tag for your group to tag all your posts going forward.

On your own blogs, write a brief message outlining your personal interests in the projects and what you hope it will achieve, and link to the groups post

Assignment 2 — The Details (Week 7)

Now that you’ve had some time to research and figure out what the possibilities are in terms of sources and technologies, write a blog post on the course blog tagged with your project stating the following:

  • Progress
    • What have you done so far, who have you talked to, what have you gathered, and what have you built?
  • Problems (and proposed solutions)
    • What issues have you run into?
    • Have they forced you to change your initial plan?
    • Do you have a proposed solution or do you need help formulating one?
  • Tools and techniques
    • What applications/languages/frameworks have you selected and how are you going to implement them?
  • Deliverables
    • An updated timeline of deliverables
    • Is you project still on track?

Remember to include citations and/or links to any resources, tools, or information that you reference.

On your own blogs, write a brief message outlining your personal work on the project, your personal plans for the future, and add a link to the groups post


Assignment 3 — Publication and Presentation (Week 10)


Projects will be finished and published BEFORE CLASS on Tuesday, November 17

  • One member of each group should write a blog post giving a brief introduction and providing a link to the final project.

On the last day of class each group will give a Pecha Kucha style presentation on their completed and published project.  The rules of such a presentation are below, with credits for the format going to Ryan Cordell, via Jim Spickard.

A Pecha Kucha 1/1/5 Presentation

In this presentation, you will have exactly 6 minutes and 40 seconds to present your material: 20 slides that auto-advance every 20 seconds. These presentations will follow the Pecha Kucha presentation format. Here are the rules:

  • You will have exactly 6 minutes and 40 seconds.
  • Your presentation will use PowerPoint (or Keynote or Google Presentations), but you’ll be restricted to 20 slides. No more, no less. Period.
  • Each slide must be set to auto-advance after 20 seconds. No clickers, no exceptions.
  • Your presentation must also follow the 1/1/5 rule. You must have at least one image per slide, you can use each exact image only once, and you should add no more than five words per slide.
  • You may trade off between your members however you see fit, but the presentation should be rehearsed and polished.

You should not attempt tell us everything that you might say in a written paper nor explain every nuance of your argument. Instead, you should be looking to give us an overview of the project and highlighting its particular strengths. When designing the presentation, think SHORT, INFORMAL, and CREATIVE. Perhaps surprisingly, the Pecha Kucha form’s restriction (paradoxically) promotes this creativity.