Core Courses in Digital Studies
The following six core courses are required for the Master of Arts in Digital Studies of Language, Culture, and History and the joint BA/MA program. A subset of these courses is required for the undergraduate minor and for the Graduate Certificate in Digital Studies.
Digital Studies students in the MA, BA/MA, undergraduate minor, and Graduate Certificate programs are guaranteed a place in the DIGS core courses listed below. Students in other programs may be permitted to enroll if there are any remaining spaces. For this reason, enrollment in DIGS courses requires the consent of the instructor.
The core courses cover the basics of computer programming and quantitative data analysis; the history and theory of computing in the humanities; and data management and data publication in the humanities. Technical topics not covered in these courses are taught in a series of non-credit tutorials throughout the year that students may choose to attend based on their own interests; e.g., high-performance computing (HPC), geographic information systems (GIS), the R language for data analysis, etc.
Note that the word “data” in the course titles below refers to any information that is represented digitally in a computer in the form of binary digits or “bits” (ones and zeroes) and is not restricted to quantitative information. The courses on data management, data analysis, and data publication encompass texts, images, audio, video, geospatial mapping data, 3D models, social media, video games, computer-generated imagery, virtual reality, and every other kind of digital data. Even scholarly articles and monographs, when represented digitally, constitute “data” that can be analyzed computationally to extract information and construct new forms of information.
DIGS 20001/30001. Introduction to Computer Programming with Python. 100 units. Autumn.
This course provides an introduction to computer programming and computational concepts using the Python programming language. Students are also introduced to the use of Visual Studio Code as an industry-standard source code editor. This course is a prerequisite for most of the other Digital Studies (DIGS) courses. Students enrolled in one of the Digital Studies programs (MA, joint BA/MA, undergraduate minor, or graduate certificate) who have previously passed an equivalent college-level course in computer programming with a grade of B (3.0) or higher may petition the Associate Director of Curriculum and Instruction of the Forum for Digital Culture for an exemption from taking this course and permission to take an additional elective course instead. Instructors: Firat Ciftci and Clovis Gladstone
DIGS 20002/30002. Data Analysis I: Introduction to Statistics. 100 units. Autumn.
This course provides an introduction to statistics and computational data analysis using Python and Jupyter Notebook. It is a prerequisite for “Data Analysis II: Data Visualization and Machine Learning” (DIGS 20004/30004) in the Winter Quarter. Topics covered include probability, distributions, and statistical inference, as well as linear regression and logistic regression. Students will gain additional practice in Python coding and will learn how to use Python libraries for statistics and plotting. The textbook for this course is OpenIntro Statistics, which is available online, free of charge. Students enrolled in one of the Digital Studies programs (MA, joint BA/MA, undergraduate minor, or graduate certificate) who have previously passed an equivalent college-level course in statistics with a grade of B (3.0) or higher may petition the Associate Director of Curriculum and Instruction of the Forum for Digital Culture for an exemption from taking this course and permission to take an additional elective course instead. Instructor: Brooke Luetgert
DIGS 20003/30003. Data Management for the Humanities. 100 units. Autumn.
This course introduces concepts and techniques related to the representation and management of digital data with emphasis on the forms of data encountered in the humanities. Topics covered include: (1) digital text encoding using the Unicode and XML standards, with attention to the TEI-XML tagging scheme of the Text Encoding Initiative; (2) digital typefaces (“fonts”) for displaying encoded characters; (3) digital encoding of 2D images, 3D models, sound, and video; (4) database models and querying languages (especially SQL for relational databases and SPARQL for non-relational RDF-graph databases), with attention to methods for integrating and querying the kinds of semi-structured and heterogeneous data characteristic of the humanities; (5) ontologies, the Semantic Web, and related technical standards; and (6) cartographic concepts (e.g., coordinate systems and map projections) and the basics of geospatial data management using Geographic Information Systems. This course has no prerequisite; i.e., prior knowledge of computer programming is not required. Instructors: Miller Prosser and Carmen Caswell
DIGS 20004/30004. Data Analysis II: Data Visualization and Machine Learning. 100 units. Winter.
This course introduces best practices for analyzing large and complex data sets using Python and gives students a basic understanding of machine learning. Topics covered include data visualization, social network analysis, principal component analysis (PCA), and the k-nearest neighbors (KNN) algorithm. The objective is to make students familiar with these methods and aware of their potential in linguistic, cultural, and historical research. Prerequisites: DIGS 20001/30001, “Introduction to Computer Programming with Python” (or an equivalent course in computer programming) and DIGS 20002/30002, “Data Analysis I: Introduction to Statistics” (or an equivalent course in statistics). Instructor: Brooke Luetgert
DIGS 20005/30005. Data Publication for the Humanities. 100 units. Spring.
DIGS 20007/30007. Introduction to Digital Humanities. 100 Units. Winter.
This course surveys (1) the history and theory of digital computing, (2) the ways computers have been used in the humanities, (3) recent theoretical debates surrounding the contested concept of “digital humanities,” (4) the philosophical issues raised by digital knowledge representation and artificial intelligence, and (5) the ethical and public policy issues raised by the pervasive use of digital technology in present-day societies. Prerequisites: DIGS 20001/30001, “Introduction to Computer Programming with Python” (or an equivalent course in computer programming) and DIGS 20003/30003, “Data Management for the Humanities.” These prerequisites may be waived in some cases with the instructor’s consent. Instructor: David Schloen