CMS.633 | Spring 2015 | Undergraduate

Digital Humanities

Instructor Insights

Course Overview

This page focuses on the course CMS.633 Digital Humanities as it was taught by Dr. Kurt Fendt in Spring 2015.

This course examines the theory and practice of using computational methods in the emerging field of digital humanities. It develops an understanding of key digital humanities concepts through the study of contemporary research, in conjunction with working on real-world projects for scholarly, educational, and public needs.

Throughout the course, students engage in discussions about readings, do hands-on projects, explore digital humanities tools and techniques, and learn from guest speakers who work in museums, libraries, and research settings. Additionally, students annotate readings using the tool Annotation Studio.

Course Outcomes

Course Goals for Students

  • Learn how computational methods are used in the field of digital humanities
  • Understand key digital humanities concepts, such as data representation, digital archives, information visualization, and user interaction
  • Examine contemporary research in the field
  • Create prototypes, write design papers, and conduct user studies to engage in real-world digital humanities projects

Curriculum Information


There are no prerequisites for the course. Some programming and design experience is helpful but not required.

Requirements Satisfied



Every spring semester

Instructor Insights

Dr. Kurt Fendt, Principal Research Associate in Comparative Media Studies/Writing and Executive Director of HyperStudio – Digital Humanities at MIT (Image by Jonathan Sachs Photography. © MIT).

In the pages below, Dr. Kurt Fendt and teaching assistant, Andrew Kelleher Stuhl, describe various aspects of how they taught CMS.633 Digital Humanities.


The students’ grades were based on the following activities:

  • 40% Final project, including a design paper and a prototype
  • 20% Short projects
  • 15% Presentations and project updates
  • 15% Class participation
  • 10% Annotation Studio

Student Information


14 students

Breakdown by Year

Mostly Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors

Breakdown by Major

Variety of majors

Typical Student Background

This course attracted a wide range of students. Many of the students were interested in the course because it offered them an opportunity to work on design-based projects. Some students, who came from comparative media studies or other humanities majors, were excited to do some hands-on technical work. Other students, who routinely engage in technical work in fields like computer science, were interested in filtering that technological proficiency through a critical lens. Students in this latter group also saw this course as an opportunity to learn about an assemblage of tools and then to use that knowledge to create something original in their fields that could advance their research interests.

How Student Time Was Spent

During an average week, students were expected to spend 12 hours on the course, roughly divided as follows:

In Class

  • Met 1 time per week for 3 hours per session; 14 sessions total.
  • Class sessions included reading discussions, demonstrations of tools and techniques, and hands-on project work time.
  • Some class sessions featured guest speakers.

Out of Class

  • Sudents completed project work and used Annotation Studio to annotate readings.

Course Info

As Taught In
Spring 2015
Learning Resource Types
Projects with Examples
Instructor Insights