A minor in Digital Humanities prepares one to deal with our changing world and “technology” from an interdisciplinary perspective. It provides students with a contextual and methodological understanding of the Internet, new media tools, and the emergence of digital information relative to database and social networking developments.
Along with learning how to navigate new technologies from a range of critical, cultural, and rhetorical perspectives, students learn “hands on” technical skills, such as digital mapping and text-encoding, and have the opportunity to work collaboratively and on independent projects. Becoming “digitally literate” is a core component of the minor.
The minor in digital media requires such courses as DIG 2000 Introduction to Digital Media, DIG 2030C Digital Video Fundamentals, DIG 2109C Digital Imaging Fundamentals, DIG 2500C Fundamentals of Interactive Design, and various elective technical courses that focus on computer operations, media software design, digital media production, information management, animation, and video game creation.
A minor in digital humanities is interdisciplinary in that it introduces students to the history and philosophy associated with technology and applied skills in courses like HUM 3830 Introduction to Digital Humanities and DIG 3171 Tools for Digital Humanities. In addition, it also offers courses that integrate writing, theory, and critical evaluation such as CRW 3713 Writing for Video Games, ENC 3417 Literacy and Technology, PHI Advanced Ethics in Science and Technology.
Depending on the classes taken, you would first learn about the “field” of “digital humanities” and the types of issues and questions that it engages. One major one concerns “representation” and how texts and objects get represented or used on the Internet. Who makes these decisions and on what basis? How are visual images and language used rhetorically or to communicate meaning? There is a process that is necessarily collaborative—that can lead to good results or disastrous ones.
Skills would range from learning, for example, how to use a high resolution scanner and Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software to create electronic text and images for website and database content to what it means to plan with IT professionals a feasible backup plan for data. In addition to learning project planning and management skills, you would also learn how work with open source platforms such as Omeka and create metadata for objects and collections, i.e., learn some basic humanistic applications of database as a “genre.” Depending on the class, you might also become adept at using Adobe Photoshop or Flash, CSS and HTML or wikis, or how to use an XML editing tools called oXygen. Other classes would focus on social media use and still others on composing, coding, and constructing websites, or how to archive them so their data is not lost. In all cases, classes in the minor seek to develop one’s ability to apply critical thinking, reading, and writing to current and emerging uses of Internet “technology” and new media.
Matthew Kirshenbaum and Doug Reside (2013) have written that “New textual forms require new work habits, new training, new tools, new practices, and new instincts.” Studying and getting “hands on” experience with the creation and use of digital objects, archives, databases, etc will prepare you to understand a changing digital culture, its impact on users, and how to better adapt to those changes in the future.
Several years back, Nancie, for example, knew little about “technology.” Today, after learning about the digital humanities at UCF, she is a senior editor of an online consumer health information site in New York City called Everyday Health. She credits her learning here at UCF with giving her the skills and confidence to tackle writing and editing in a collaborative, online environment.
A minor in digital humanities signals to an employer that you have historical, theoretical, and practical knowledge of how people use the Internet and various technological tools or software. It also tells them that you have an interest in how knowledge gets produced and communicated in the modern world, and helps strengthen one’s credentials for careers in research, editing, content management, communications, teaching, and publishing.
In short, a minor in digital humanities is a good complement to a major in history, philosophy, English, digital media, and other majors. For graduate study in this area, please see the College of Arts and Humanities Ph.D. program in Texts and Technology and its areas of study.