WHA 2014 Six-Shooters Session – Robert Jordan

Prior to the Six-Shooters session at this year’s WHA conference, I would like to introduce myself and some of the work I’ve been doing over the last year or so. I am a third-year instructor in the History Department of Colorado State University, specializing in Mexican history and digital history. Digital history, especially as expressed through spatial visualizations, plays a prominent role in both my research and teaching, as I believe that traditional methods of historical inquiry and publication can be greatly augmented by the incorporation of digital tools. I have utilized a number of digital tools and publication platforms in my classes, including: Twitter, Neatline, Voyant Tools, Tiki-Toki, Wikipedia, Gephi, Open Refine, Tumblr, ArcGIS, Google Earth, WordPress, SketchUp, and 3-D printing, among others.

While teaching the first undergraduate digital history course ever offered at CSU in the spring of this year, my students trained and published a wide variety of information on the history of the university and campus life. Digital timelines, maps, slideshows, and network graphs were created to be later hosted by CSU’s university webpage and mobile app. The creation of these multimedia, highly visual presentations of local, public history challenged my students with a hands-on, collaborative project which pushed their limits but provided invaluable experience for the job market and/or graduate school. I look forward to discussing the challenges during the planning and execution of this project, the pedagogical outcomes for my students, and the future of scholarly innovation inside and outside the history classroom.

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