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 2016-17
Thursdays 2:30pm-5:20pm
TEL 2114

Department of History
Instructor: Sean Kheraj
Office: Vari Hall 2124
Office Hours: Fridays, 9:30am-10:30am; 2:30pm-3:30pm
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 or Twitter discussions on the #yorkhist4085 hashtag. If students wish to participate on Twitter, they must register their Twitter handles with the course instructor.

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.

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 try at all times to 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.

General Rules, Policies, and Expectations

Please make sure that all work that you hand in and present for this class is your own. The university takes this issue very seriously. We expect you to be familiar with all of the university policies relating to academic integrity found here:

Violations of the York Senate Policy on Academic Honesty – including submitting work written by someone else or submitted in another course, failing to use quotation marks and citations when using or paraphrasing the printed or electronically-transmitted work of others, collaborating on written assignments, cheating during examinations, and aiding or abetting academic misconduct – will be treated severely.  Penalties may include failure on the assignment, failure in the course, suspension from the University, and withholding or rescinding a York degree. For further information, see:

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.

If you have any questions about a mark you received, either during a course or after a course is over, first approach your instructor. If you are not satisfied with the outcome, the Director of Undergraduate Studies for mediation. The Director of Undergraduate Studies does not change grades.

If, at the end of a course, you feel that your grade was not justified, you may submit to the Department a formal written appeal for reappraisal. Requests for grade reappraisals must be filed with the Department within 21 calendar days of the release of the final grade in the course. Students may question the marking of specific pieces of work or the overall course grade. Normally, only written work can be reassessed.

When a student asks for a reappraisal, the original grade may be raised, lowered, or confirmed. The decision of the Department may be appealed to the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies Executive Committee only on grounds of procedural irregularity or new evidence. Appeals must be submitted within 21 days of notification of the decision of the Department.

For more info on Department of History grade reappraisal policy, visit:

We will accommodate students with disabilities working with the York University Learning Disability Services office ( Please contact the instructor directly to make sure we are informed of your needs. If you will require any kind of accommodation for religious reasons, please let us know as soon as possible. Attendance is otherwise mandatory.

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 decree 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. We encourage all students to come for advising at least once a year. You don’t have to have an issue or problem. It’s a good idea to review your progress and advising will help you to make informed and thoughtful decisions. No appointment is necessary; students will be seen on a first-come, first-served basis. Director of Undergraduate Studies, Deborah Neill, can be contacted at or 416-736-2100 x 66968.

History Help and Mentorship Centre:  Help for any student enrolled in a history course (help with writing assignments, research, exam-taking, etc.) from current, full-time history department graduate students.  See for more information or email for an appointment.

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.