Matter of Course: Preparing History for a Digital World
Students in HIST-3073H learn how to present history to the public in new medium
From the fashion of the Victorian-era to the soldiers on the front lines of World War I, human history has long been inked onto the pages of books or put on display in museums. In History professor Dr. Michael Eamon’s class, students are given the opportunity to explore how history is communicated in an increasingly digital world.
The course teaches students about the various aspects of research, creation, and public diffusion of history in an electronic environment. For the final project, students are asked to compose an analysis of an historical event using the information and skills learned in class.
“I just love this course because it really gets students thinking about how the past is relevant today and what they can do to make history known,” says Professor Eamon. “So many students put together great essays, analyses on how digital issues affect our world.
“What really excited me was when Moira, Maya, and Mallory came together with digital exhibitions. They decided to take it a step further and create a digital environment to teach history.”
Each exhibition brings forward one of three key pillars taught in Prof. Eamon’s course – content, functionality, and passion – essential ingredients in creating an exhibition that contributes to historical knowledge and is relevant.
Victorian-era virtual fashion show
Moira Friske, Champlain College
After completing a placement working on a Victorian-era fashion accessory exhibition with Upper Ottawa Valley Heritage Centre, Moira decided that her final project in Prof. Eamon’s class was the perfect opportunity to upload the physical exhibition to the digital realm.
Moira was fascinated by the amount of information she was able to bring into her virtual presentation of the exhibition and presented the artifacts in a new light with detailed notes and links to further information.
“I would recommend this course because it’s something that you get to learn that not everyone takes the opportunity to learn. You get to see this other side of history that’s really, really interesting to see how it connects with the public and how understanding and knowing history is super beneficial for everyone to understand.”
Explore Moira's exhibit on Victorian-era fashion.
Middle Ages in a digital realm
Mallory McCallum, Peter Gzowski College
Mallory developed a dynamic website exploring the Great Famine of 1315 – 1322 in the British Isles. Using a variety of physical resources, Mallory explored the factors that led to the famine and the impact that it continued to have long after. Her desire to present the information in an engaging format led her to design a site that was both visually engaging and informative – a process that allowed her to discover new interests in presenting the information virtually.
“It was very nice to be able to explore a different format. I really enjoyed it. I think it’s a good course to take because it provides so much knowledge on different areas of history. I have such a deeper understanding of computers now, which is nothing I ever thought I’d be interested in learning about.”
Explore Mallory’s exhibit on the Great Famine of 1315.
World War I through the eyes of Frank
Maya Burgess-Stansfield, Lady Eaton College
Maya created a website inspired by the life of her great-granduncle, Frank, who fought and died in World War I. Equipped with historical documents from her grandparents, Maya pieced together Frank’s history – placing his day-to-day in the context of what was happening in the world around him.
“It was really cool to be able to work with primary sources and see the relevance of digital media. As a history student, it’s good to know how to incorporate primary sources and historical records into a medium that is still relevant and present – to keep that alive.”
See the battlefront from Frank’s perspective in Maya’s exhibit.