Do I need to know [thing] to take this course?

No! You don’t need experience with coding, website design, spreadsheets, data, or any programming languages. You just need a willingness to learn, and sometimes work through frustration if something doesn’t work (we will talk about strategies for this in the first week!).

I assume that you’re a history major or graduate student, which means that you already have skills like taking good notes, thinking carefully and critically, and noticing important details. You’ll use all those skills in this class, and we’ll build on them to learn new things!

Do I need a fancy new computer to take this course?

No, but you do need a fairly reliable computer that you can install software on. We’ll be using 2 free software packages that are fairly light-impact, so you don’t need an extremely new or fast computer to use them. However, this class may be frustrating if your computer often stops working on you or already runs slowly. You will not be able to complete this course if you only have access to a tablet, phone, or chromebook type computer.

What will I learn in this course?

We’ll learn the basics of acquiring, preparing, and handling historical data; some ethical and methodological concerns that historians have in working with data; basic web publishing; the theory and basic practice of visualizing data; analysis of specific kinds of data like relationships and spatial information; the basics of a a couple of programming languages like python and javascript; and how to write a data-driven argument.