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Durham University

Postgraduate Module Handbook 2021/2022

Archive Module Description

This page is for the academic year 2021-22. The current handbook year is 2022-23

Department: English Studies

ENGL45530: Digital Humanities: resources and techniques

Type Open Level 4 Credits 30 Availability Not available in 2021/22


  • Students must hold a good BA degree in English or a related subject to be eligible for entry onto the MA programmes in the Department of English Studies


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • To introduce students to a range of digital resources and computational methods for use in humanities research and in cultural heritage
  • To consider appropriate humanities methodologies with which to critique digital phenomena
  • To investigate how digital resources are designed, used and preserved


  • Will consider a range of digital technologies and their application to humanities research and cultural heritage organisations. Topics will include: the history and development of DH; text markup, encoding and analysis; the analysis and anatomy of digital projects, including the nature of digitisation; DH in art and visual culture; user studies and interface design; philosophy and digital studies; digital techniques in museums and cultural heritage (including field trips to the Oriental Museum and special collections); DH and music; DH beyond the English speaking world- international DH and non-roman scripts; Sustaining and preserving digital materials
  • Will discuss the history of DH as an Anglo-American dominated field, and the development DH in a global context, including India and South America, and the debates about multi-lingual DH.
  • Will consider diversity issues both in DH and the IT industry, in the context of trolling, online harassment, and hate speech on digital platforms.
  • Students will take part in hands-on practical sessions using digital tools, but this will not require pre-existing coding skills
  • Every seminar will include reflection on a case study digital project or research programme as a means of framing discussion. This will include guest presenters from different departments in Durham, including colleagues from libraries and special collections.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • On completion of this module, students will possess:
  • Knowledge of a range of digital techniques and resources relevant to humanities research and the cultural heritage sector
  • Insight into the complex interactions between computation techniques and method and humanities research, and the factors which influence choice of methods
  • The ability to critique and evaluate digital phenomena within their wider societal context
Subject-specific Skills:
  • critical skills in the reading and evaluation of digital resources and phenomena
  • knowledge of a range of digitization and computational analysis techniques
  • a critical awareness of the human and societal context of the use of digital technologies and applications
  • an awareness of the importance of digital preservation and the role of libraries and memory institutions in providing access to digital culture and heritage
  • skills of effective communication, argument, and evaluative methodology for digital objects
  • awareness of conventions of scholarly presentation, and bibliographic skills including accurate citation of sources and consistent use of scholarly conventions of presentation
  • command of a broad range of vocabulary and an appropriate critical terminology
  • awareness of the role of the digital in supporting, or threatening diversity, equity and inclusion
Key Skills:
  • Students studying this module will develop:
  • an advanced ability to analyse critically;
  • an advanced ability to acquire complex information of diverse kinds in structured and systematic ways;
  • an advanced ability to interpret complex information of diverse kinds through the distinctive skills derived from the subject;
  • expertise in conventions of scholarly presentation and bibliographical skills;
  • an independence of thought and judgement, and ability to assess acutely the critical ideas of others;
  • sophisticated skills in critical reasoning;
  • an advanced ability to handle information and argument critically;
  • a competence in information-technology skills such as word-processing and electronic data access;
  • professional organisation and time-management skills.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Students are encouraged to develop advanced conceptual abilities and analytical skills as well as the ability to communicate an advanced knowledge and conceptual understanding within seminars; the capacity for advanced independent study is demonstrated through the completion of two assessed pieces of work.
  • Typically, directed learning may include assigning student(s) an issue, theme or topic that can be independently or collectively explored within a framework and/or with additional materials provided by the tutor. This may function as preparatory work for presenting their ideas or findings (sometimes electronically) to their peers and tutor in the context of a seminar.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Seminars 9 fortnightly 2hrs 18
Independent student research supervised by the Module Convenor 10
Preparation and Reading 272
Total 300

Summative Assessment

Component: Coursework Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay 1 3000 words 40%
Essay 2 3000 words 60%

Formative Assessment:

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University