Becoming Digital Historians

What does it mean to co-create knowledge?  

Why is it important to bring critical skills and analysis into our uses of social media?

How can we best engage online resources for researching histories of American consumer society?

‘Becoming Digital Historians: Co-creating Content Online’ is comprised of a set of assignments that require you to conduct online research and interact with our class blog through writing posts and commenting on existing content.

This set of assessment activities are designed to enhance your ability to integrate social media and online tools into your academic research and better adapt your critical thinking skills to digital content. For this project you will also be asked to  present your work and facilitate class discussion.



Person, Place or Thing blog post (250-300 words + presentation & discussion facilitation) 10%
During the first two months of our course, all students will contribute at least one blog post on a specified person, place or thing in consumer society. These posts will be assessed according to how well they meet—and exceed–the specified guidelines. Your posts are meant to be informative and engaging. In class they will serve to spark discussion, and as a piece of public writing they will inform others, drawing out questions on some of the key figures, objects and moments in America’s consumer history. As the course goes on, more and more posts will be added to the blog, creating a digital resource both for ourselves and for the broader public.

Case Study blog post (250-300 words + presentation and discussion facilitation) 10%
Your case study blog post will follow the same format and guidelines as the post above, only this time it is up to you to select a person, place or thing. What you select will be the focus of your final paper and the post and presentation will serve as a means of gathering feedback and suggestions for the development of your work. Download the Case study blog_presentation grading rubric

Comments and blog engagement (min 3 comments 100 words each) 10%
Part of what turns a blog from a ‘static’ online document of information, to an interactive digital community, is commenting. Thoughtful and reflective comments create conversation, add new knowledge and perspectives, and help grow the linked information environment of the web. During the course you will be required to make a minimum of 3 comments on blog posts put up by your peers. You may also choose to go back to one of your earlier posts and add new information or thoughts. These comments will be assessed according to how well they meet—and exceed–the specified guidelines.


  • Primarily use the ‘visual‘ tab screen for writing and editing your post. If there is a problem with how your post appears or if media won’t appear or upload correctly, you may want to use the ‘text‘ tab. For support on how to fix problems look up your question on google or ask in the wordpress forums.
  • Use the chain link icon to hyperlink or create links to urls (web addresses)  in your text.
  • There are two different ways to insert media images, from a file on your computer or from an image url that you can find through a search engine like google images.
  • To embed content from youtube you can either just paste the video url in the ‘visual’ tab, or copy the ’embed’ code listed under the share function and past that into the ‘text’ tab.
  • Add tags and categories in the boxes on your right. Remember, these are similar to search terms or keywords and should represent the main topics covered in your post.
  • Add a comment to someone else’s post by typing in the comment section below their post. These comments will come through me, the moderator, and will appear once they’ve been approved.
  • To set a featured image go to the box below tags and click on ‘featured image’, then select which image you’d like to appear at the top of your post.
  • For more tips and support go to the wordpress post support page.


Blogging: A good post on student blogging tips and best practices by Barbara Nixon

 Using Google for Research:  A set of tips with screen shots for how to get the most out of your google searches from the University of North Carolina Ashville

Evaluating Web Content for Research: A list of good advice from the University of Edinburgh


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