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Wednesday, June 22 • 11:15 - 12:15
CON01.05b - Digital History and Graduate Education: Measuring Effects on Student Success

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“Digital Humanities” (DH) has become a buzzword in the last decade. Numerous articles address its perils and promises, and a wave of academic job advertisements for PhDs with DH expertise began appearing in 2012. Beyond anecdotal evidence, however, there is little proof that DH methodology makes graduates better scholars or more marketable. In 2015-2016, we conducted a survey of graduate alumni in History at one Canadian University regarding their experience with digital history methods and practice during and after graduate training. Digital history is one branch of the Digital Humanities, and it refers to the use of computers, software, and other electronic technologies to teach, simulate, preserve, access, research, present and publish interpretations of the past. (We use “DH” to refer to the broader field of Digital Humanities only.) This session will present the results of that survey, explore their implications for future practice, and reflect on the strengths and weaknesses of the study’s design. Initial data indicate that many alumni report very high job satisfaction, are working in history-related employment, and believe that digital history courses were valuable components of their education. This presentation will also address whether digital history methods empower graduate students as learners, teachers, and scholars. In the midst of what appears to be a major methodological turn, it is vitally important to assess whether new DH methods strengthen students’ education and career prospects or not.


Michelle Hutchinson-Grondin

Michelle Hutchinson-Grondin is a Research Assistant in the Department of History at Western University, where she completed her PhD in History in 2015. Dr. Hutchinson-Grondin's doctoral research focused on the history of sexual education in Ontario in the mid-20th century.

Laurel Shire

Laurel Clark Shire is Assistant Professor of History and Co-Director of the Digital History Lab at Western University. She received her PhD in American Studies from the George Washington University in 2008.

Wednesday June 22, 2016 11:15 - 12:15 EDT
UCC 58

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