Doing Digital History with Undergraduates

2:00pm - 3:00pm EDT May 14, 2014

How can you mobilize digital skills and tools in the service of learning? Learn from historians as they share their successes and failures in crafting authentic inquiry-based experiences through digital mediums in the undergraduate classroom. (Times EDT)

As students increasingly draw upon digital content as a primary source of information, how might they be taught to be both discriminating consumers as well as producers of online information? Doing history rather than teaching history is not a new approach, but the “doing” part of researching, writing, and publishing now includes drawing upon and creating digitized resources. Join NITLE subject-area specialist Michelle Moravec, Aaron Cowan, assistant professor of history at Slippery Rock University, and Kathryn Tomasek, associate professor of history at Wheaton College, as they explore the following questions, provide concrete examples from their own work, and examine the opportunities and challenges of integrating digital humanities into the undergraduate curriculum.

  • Does the use of digital tools change the way that undergraduates learn to “do history”? If so, in what ways?
  • How might teachers with limited institutional support incorporate digital tools and methods in their classrooms?
  • What might be the benefit of teaching these methods beyond the upper level history course?
Recommended Reading

Please review and explore these resources to prepare for active engagement with your fellow seminar participants.

Seminar Leaders

Michelle Moravec has 20 years of experience in liberal arts education focusing on curricular transformation. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles, and has taught at both large public institutions as well as small liberal arts colleges. She has also served in various academic administrative roles involving co-curricular programming and grant writing. Dr. Moravec’s particular interests lie in translating the traditional abilities of humanities students into 21st-century skills. She is most interested in helping students and faculty combine a range of existing digital humanities tools to create digital humanities projects.

Aaron Cowan received his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Cincinnati. Since 2008, he has served as assistant professor of history at Slippery Rock University, a mid-sized state university in western Pennsylvania. Dr. Cowan teaches modern U.S., urban, and public history, and supervises the department’s internship program. In addition to his teaching duties, Dr. Cowan is also founder and director of the Stone House Center for Public Humanities, an initiative launched in fall 2013 that seeks to expand community engagement with the humanities through interdisciplinary collaboration, service-learning initiatives, and digital media. The CPH is based in the Old Stone House, a reconstructed 19th-century stagecoach tavern owned by the university.

Kathryn Tomasek is associate professor of history at Wheaton College. She holds an M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. A former member of the NITLE Advisory Board, she currently serves on the American Historical Association’s ad hoc Committee on Professional Evaluation of Digital Scholarship by Historians. Dr. Tomasek has been exploring the use of digital tools to enhance student’s learning since she arrived at Wheaton College in 1992, and she began to use transcription and markup with eXtensible Markup Language conformant to the guidelines of the Text Encoding Initiative in 2004. Through the Wheaton College Digital History Project, students in her courses do original research with documents from the founding period of the college. Dr. Tomasek’s research project, Encoding Financial Records, received a Start-Up Grant from the Office of Digital Humanities at the National Endowment for the Humanities in 2011.

Event Hashtag

Participants are encouraged to share their thoughts on Twitter via this event’s hashtag: #nitle


Those interested in introducing or refining their use of digital tools, skills, and assignments into history courses should attend this seminar. Attendance by institutional teams is encouraged; individuals are also welcome to participate.

Please register online by Monday, May 12. Participation in NITLE Shared Academics is open to all active member institutions of the NITLE Network as a benefit of membership and as space allows. No additional registration fee applies.


For more information about this event, please contact Georgianne Hewett at

NITLE Shared AcademicsTM models a new approach to liberal education – made possible through strategic collaboration, driven by shared knowledge, and supported by emerging technologies. Campuses learn how inter-institutional academic exchange works by actively participating in it, building the knowledge and experience to re-architect liberal education.