When do I use CCLE, and when do I use the class website?

Use CCLE to access readings (that aren’t linked from the website), to submit assignments, listen to lecture podcasts, and to take the final. For everything else, use the class website.

Why won’t you accept late work?

We, your instructors, need to spend our energy preparing for class and helping you to succeed. Deducing the truth or falsehood of an excuse is not an appropriate role for an instructor and disrupts our teaching schedule.

The no-late-work policy emphatically includes all assignments.

I’m a little nervous because I haven’t done a lot of technical stuff.

As long as you keep up with the readings and assignments, you should be totally fine. We’ve designed this class so that people with different technical skill levels can slot in at a place that’s comfortable for them. We don’t care where you start; just how much progress you make! If you’re doing the work but still finding yourself struggling, it’s important that you let us know. We’ll sit with you for as long as you need us to in order to help you get it. We really want you to succeed!

I’m a little nervous because I have done a lot of technical stuff. Will this class be too easy?

I’m not going to lie: there may be moments where you find yourself sitting through information you’ve already heard. But to this I’d say four things:

  1. The DH approach to technology is different from every other discipline’s, so even if you’ve learned things a certain way, it might be interesting for you to get another angle on it.
  2. We cover a lot of areas that may be new to you. Even if you’re an accomplished statistician, for example, you may not have done a lot of mapping, network visualization, or web design.
  3. We do a fair amount of theory and ponder big questions about ethics and the role of technology in the world and our own lives, which will hopefully be new and fun for everyone.
  4. When we learn technical skills together in class, we’re not trying to see who’s the greatest coder or who can understand things the fastest. Instead, we all work together to make sure everyone gets everything. If you’re bored but see a classmate struggling, your job is not to roll your eyes, but to jump in and help (if they want it), with empathy and respect. Your job as a learner isn’t done until everyone gets it.

Think hard about number 4. Is that the kind of person you are? If not, that is totally fine, but this might not be the right class for you.

Why aren’t you letting us pick our own research topics?

It’s true, in previous courses, teams have selected their own topics. This was great in a lot of ways, but we’ve changed the assignment over time, and this course is the largest it has ever been. Most significantly, you’re working intensively with a humanities dataset. It’s not easy to find these datasets, and once you do find them, it’s not easy to get them into the right shape for manipulating. Since we only have 10 weeks, and I want you to be able to do meaningful research, I’ve pre-selected the data sets for you.

However, you can petition to use a specific data set that you have found. If you and your team make a convincing case for using this data set and your ability to work with it, your petition will be approved.

That said, I think it’s also just really valuable to know that anything can be interesting if you research it carefully and immerse yourself in it. You are UCLA students; you can learn about anything!

Why aren’t you letting us form our own groups?

Again, it’s true, in the past, we’ve allowed students to form their own groups. And we do want you to enjoy working with your fellow group members. But it’s even more important that everyone in the group develops his or her skills. We’ve observed that when group members have marked differences in technical skills, then the more technically adept team members will naturally take on more technical responsibility. It’s just faster and more efficient that way. But we want all team members to push each other to learn more. So we’re attempting to form groups of similar skill levels. Don’t worry about comparing yourself to your classmates. Everybody starts somewhere, and everybody’s here to learn!

Where can I find more information on DH projects, research, and models for my own project?

Check out this list of resources I put together. Let me know if you find other journals and websites that are helpful, and I’ll add them to the list.

Are there additional resources that could help me with my research?

Yes! Here’s a list of helpful books, workbooks, research guides, and academic writing how-to guides

What do I do if my basic needs aren’t being met?

Any student who has difficulty affording groceries or accessing sufficient food to eat every day, or who lacks a safe and stable place to live, and believes this may affect their performance in the course, is urged to contact the Consultation & Response Team at CRTeam@ucla.edu for support. Furthermore, please notify the professor if you are comfortable in doing so. This will enable her to provide any resources that she may possess.

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