Final Project

History 390
Final Project

Due via email by 12:00, June 20

In this course we are going to spend a lot of time working with various digital tools and thinking about issues (legal, ethical, technical, financial) that these tools bring to the fore. Now you are going to get to use what you’ve learned to create a final product.

The goal of this project is to examine one aspect of the history of one of the following area national parks:

Mount Vernon
Gunston Hall (not really a national park, but that’s ok)
Prince William Forest Park
Manassas National Battlefield Park
Shenandoah National Park
World War II Memorial (in DC)
FDR Memorial (in DC)
MLK Memorial (in DC)
Harpers Ferry National Historic Park
Arlington House (Robert E. Lee)
Pope-Leighey House (also not a national park, but so what)

Your examination of some aspect of the history of one of these parks will require you to go to that place and examine it in the analog world. Some of these parks can only be reached with a car, others can be reached via Metro, so if you don’t have access to a car, pick one of the Metro-accessible parks, or con/bribe a friend into driving you. It’s the summer. You should be outside. Oh, and while you’re there, take some pictures, at least one of which includes you in a clearly identifiable part of the park so I know you were actually there No PhotoShopping yourself into the picture. Seriously. I’ll notice.

In addition to visiting your park in the analog world you will create a portfolio of digital products (maps, charts, visualizations, text) that is clear, easy to read/follow, and compelling. And this portfolio of digital products must make some sort of historical argument about some aspect of the history of your park.

Because there are more people in the class than there are parks, some of you will be working on the same park. Feel free to work together, with this proviso – you must produce different projects on different questions.

Every final project must include each of the following:

  1. Two or more interactive maps showing substantive geographical data or other geospatial elements related to your topic.
  2. Two or more graphs, charts, or other visualizations that tell a story with data about your topic. These must be charts/visualizations that you make not charts/visualizations you find elsewhere and use.
  3. Two or more analyses of texts related to your topic using text mining tools.
  4. The equivalent of three double-spaced pages of text, i.e., 750+ words. This text should consist of a historical argument supported by or commenting on your digital materials and putting them into historical context, as well as a plan for the security and preservation of your project over time. This written portion of the project must be posted on your blog.

All the claims you make in this portfolio of products should be supported with properly attributed evidence. As you are compiling everything, think carefully about your audience (not me, some hypothetical audience out there on the web) and ask yourself if they can make sense of the argument you are making via the materials you have created? If the answer is no, think harder about what you are going to create and eventually turn in.

You should post all items on your blog and email me the link when the project is posted. However, you may not be able to post some items to your blog, either for technical reasons or because some items are governed by copyright. If that is the case, just be sure to get me your project in the form that makes the most sense by the deadline. No matter what, you must post at least the written portion of your project on your blog.

I am more than happy to look at early drafts of your work. Just don’t write to me with 36 hours to go and expect that I can rescue you from a bad case of procrastination. If you want feedback, you need to give me time to examine it and think about it.

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