Digital History (HIST 4085) is an upper-level course offered by the Department of History at York University.

This course introduces students to both the theoretical and practical impacts of digital technologies on historical scholarship and public history. Digital technologies and the development of the Internet have transformed the ways that historians conduct their research, access sources, analyze documents, and communicate research findings. Students will gain practical knowledge of how to take advantage of digital tools for historical scholarship and public history and explore the theoretical implications of such digital knowledge mobilization.

Instructor and Course Information


F/W 2018-19
Thursdays 2:30pm-5:20pm

Department of History
Instructor: Sean Kheraj
Office: Vari Hall 2124
Office Hours: Thursdays 9am to 10am; Video Office Hours: Wednesdays 10am to 11am
Twitter: @seankheraj

Organization of the Course

Students meet once a week for 3 hours. Weekly meetings are divided into two sessions: discussion and lab.


In the discussion session, students discuss and debate a common set of readings/video/audio based on a single topic. All readings are available online with links in the syllabus.


In the lab session, students will work with partners to complete particular lab exercises related to the week’s topic. These exercises may also involve writing blog responses. Students are required to submit completed lab reports the following week.


The final grade for this course will be based on the following assignments:

  • Participation (25%)
  • Lab and blog assignments (25%)
  • Digital history project proposal (20%)
  • Digital history project (30%)

Part of the final grade will also be determined by student self-assessments. This course is based largely on group work and working with partners throughout the year.


Your active participation in class is essential, and we will measure it in a variety of ways. Attendance is mandatory and will be taken every class. You must show that you are engaging with course readings and themes by orally contributing thoughtfully to in-class discussions.

Each week participation will be graded out of three marks with the following rubric:

  • Attendance (1 mark)
  • Relevant contribution to discussion (1 mark)
  • Substantive contribution to discussion (1 mark)

Students will also be able to participate online for partial credit each week. This can include comments to weekly discussion questions on the course forum.

Because this course aims to teach students about digital history, including online research and communication, students are encouraged to bring internet-connected computing devices to seminar (laptops, tablet computers, smartphones). These devices should be used exclusively for course-relevant purposes. Students are not required to bring their own computer equipment to class, however. All students will have a Windows-PC available in the lab.

All course participation, including in-class discussion and online discussion, must be in compliance with the York University Student Code of Conduct. In order to ensure this, students should be respectful toward one another and toward all faculty and staff. Active and respectful student participation is essential to establishing a productive and engaging learning environment for everyone.

Additional Information and Policies


The grading scheme for the course conforms to the 9-point grading system used in undergraduate programs at York (e.g. A+ =9, A=8, B+=7, C+=5, etc.). Assignments and tests will bear either a letter grade designation or a corresponding number grade (e.g. A+ = 90 to 100; A = 80-89, B+=75-79, B=70-74; C+=65-69, C+60-64, etc.).

Assignments received later than the due date will be penalized one letter grade per day (i.e., if one day late, an A paper receives a B+) up to a maximum of five days. After five days, assignments will not be accepted. We will consider exceptions to the lateness penalty only when they are supported by authoritative written documentation (i.e., a doctor’s note) or they can be legitimately substantiated. Students may not request deadline extensions within three days of a due date. All deadline extension requests must be made in writing via email to the instructor.

For a full description of York’s grading system, see

Religious Observance Accommodation:

The History Department is located on the second floor of Vari Hall, 2140.  The usual office hours during the academic term are M-F, 8:30am-4:00pm.  The department’s phone number for general inquiries is 416-736-5123.

The History Department website:  Upcoming events, resources for undergraduate history students, faculty and staff information, and much more:

Undergraduate Program in History: links to information on history major career paths, degree programs (what is required for majors, minors, etc.), and degree checklists:

History Advising Hours:  The History department offers advising times weekly.  The hours are posted on our website 1-2 weeks in advance. The days and times change to accommodate student’s different schedules. No appointment is necessary; students will be seen on a first-come, first-served basis.  The Director of Undergraduate Studies is Prof. Adrian Shubert, and he can be contacted at

The Writing Centre: One-to-one help with a writing instructor on any writing assignment. You will need to enroll to set up your appointment, though they also offer some drop-in sessions. The enrollment link and further information is found at Bring a copy of your assignment to your appointment.

York University Libraries:  Links to the main catalogue, e-resources, on-line help chat line with librarian, and many other research aids:

SPARK [Student Papers and Academic Research Kit]:  This is an on-line tutorial that provides handy tips and tools for understanding and successfully completing university-level assignments.  Go to

Student Accessibility Services: Learn about LDS at

Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities:

Academic Honesty Statement:

Violations of the York Senate Policy on Academic Honesty will be treated severely. Recent penalties have included failure in the course, suspension from the University, and withholding or rescinding a York degree, diploma or certificate. Cheating during in-class or take-home examinations, collaborating on written assignments, failing to use quotations marks and citations when using or paraphrasing the printed or electronically disseminated work of others, aiding or abetting academic misconduct, and violating any other part of the Policy on Academic Honesty will result in penalties. For further details, see the relevant part of the York Website:

Academic Integrity Tutorial

History department policy on grade reappraisals, including link to the grade reappraisal form:

Important Add/Drop Deadlines:

Last date to enroll without permission of course director: September 18, 2018

Last date to enroll WITH permission of course director: October 23, 2018

Last date to drop courses without receiving a grade: February 8, 2019

Course Withdrawal Period (Receive a “W” on transcript): February 9-April 3, 2019

Course Withdrawal Period (Receive a “W” on transcript): February 9-April 3, 2019