Digital Humanities

23 May 2018

Cloud created by:

Maryja Strickland
9 May 2018

Date: Wednesday 23 May 2018

Time: 10:00 – 12:00

Place: Library Seminar Rooms 1 and 2


You are warmly invited to the next eLearning Community event: Digital Humanities

Digital Humanities is the critical study of how digital technologies and methods can be applied to foster humanities scholarship and scholarly communication (Humanities Computing) and of how Humanities methods and perspectives can be applied to analyse and critique digital platforms, artefacts and phenomena (Digital Cultures). The Digital Humanities at The Open University Research Collaboration (DH_OU) brings together projects across various disciplinary areas that receive funding from a range of government agencies and private sources, including the AHRC, the ESRC, JISC, the British Academy, the Museums, Library and Archives Council, and Google. DH_OU research outputs reach a wide audience, including interested members of the general public as well as academic peers and students. The programme below focuses on the student connection, with some examples of how our Digital Humanities research connects with teaching, but we will also look more widely at ways in which developments in digital tools and resources impact on our humanities curriculum and pedagogy.


  • 10:00    Introduction to Digital Humanities at the OU: Francesca Benatti, Research Fellow in Digital Humanities, FASS, co-director of DH_OU

This presentation will discuss how Digital Humanities projects at the OU make use of digital tools and software to interpret and analyse humanities research questions, allowing scholars to approach old problems with new means, or to ask new questions that cannot be asked with the traditional means of humanistic enquiry. Examples of the applications of these approaches in teaching will be shown through the Level 3 English module A335 Literature in Transition and through a demonstration of the online text analysis tool Voyant (


  • 10:25    Using the Reading Experience Database (RED) to support independent study at Level 3 in English: Edmund King, Research Fellow in English, School of Arts & Cultures, FASS

The Reading Experience Database ( is the world’s largest digital repository of British readers’ engagements with texts across history. One of the country’s pioneering digital humanities resources, it now has more than 34000 crowd-sourced records of individual reading experiences, stretching from the 15th century to the end of the Second World War. During the production of A334, English Literature from Shakespeare to Austen, care was taken to embed this resource in independent study. Drawing on actual independent study activities in A334, this presentation will describe how unit authors have encouraged students to engage with RED and how this engagement can in turn support learning outcomes and undergraduate research.


  • 10:50      Coffee break 
  • 11:10    Teaching Art History in a digital age: Leah Clark, Lecturer in Art History, School of Arts & Cultures, FASS

Open Arts Objects ( is an innovative project that provides free open access films and teaching materials to support the new A-level in Art History. This project is part of the current strategy within the OU to develop a series of public facing initiatives that can help inspire wider and diverse constituencies to enjoy and understand art works and visual culture.


  • 11:30      The revolution in how the OU teaches history, plus finding video content for teaching material - some search engines: Chris Williams, Senior Lecturer in History and Open Media Fellow, FASS

Since 2010 the OU’s approach to teaching history has been transformed through the use of digital and online resources. This session provides an overview of the skills escalator for independent study that has been created from undergraduate through to MA-level study, and concludes with a brief survey of search engines that can be used – and not just by historians – to locate video content for use in teaching.


As always you are welcome to attend for all or part of the event. We will aim to stick to timings to enable you to do that.

If you are planning to attend in person, please email  so we can order enough refreshments.  Do contact us if you have any questions. Please also pass on details of this event to any of your colleagues who might be interested in attending.

This event will be streamed live via Stadium on Wednesday 23 May 2018 and recorded for those unable to attend at the time.

Details of previous events, slides etc., can be found on our Cloudworks page and recordings of many of our past events are also available via Stadium.

The replays from this eLC Community Event can be accessed via Stadium.

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