Digital history has been a major part of my work as an academic. As I was entering graduate school, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln was hiring Will Thomas in a bold new move to embrace a new direction of Digital History. Will had just published, along with Ed Ayers, the first foray into DH that was published by the American Historical Association. The Differences Slavery Made broke all sorts of formatting expectations and pushed the boundaries in fantastic new ways. As Will came on at Nebraska, I was able to learn from him at first as a professor and later as I moved into my Ph.D. work, as my primary advisor.

The digital humanities, which include digital history and the variety of ways that the liberal arts can be involved in the digital realm, has become standardized enough so we can know what to expect to a degree in DH projects. I have been using DH to teach in all of my classes, from the beginning at Creighton University. I have taught long enough to feel able to incorporate this into a chapter for the forthcoming Quick Hits: Teaching with Digital Humanities from University of Illinois Press.

The ways in which DH can improve both our teaching and work output is astounding. Unfortunately, many of the best DH projects have major funding from outside sources and similar support from the home university. The challenge for those at smaller state schools is to be creative with digital history projects using limited resources. Teaching from DH projects that others have created, or using digital tools from other people is one of those simple options that are available to us. We are supporting others’ work and reinforcing the value of outside projects when we do this.

I have much more to say about teaching with DH. Some of that is in the forthcoming chapter. Other material will be offered on this site moving forward.


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June 2024