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Study information

Hacking the Humanities: How to Plan and Run Successful Digital Projects

Module titleHacking the Humanities: How to Plan and Run Successful Digital Projects
Module codeHUM3003A
Academic year2024/5
Module staff

Professor Leif Isaksen (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description

Through a series of goal-focussed exercises, this module will teach you many of the skills necessary for working in cross-disciplinary, task-oriented environments that require both humanistic and technical thinking. The module is built around a personal structured project which will require you to employ a variety of skillsets. You will also receive weekly lectures offering guidance and advice on aspects of project planning, management and delivery, as well as guest lectures/seminars from successful project leaders. There are no pre-requisite modules, and no prior knowledge is expected.

Module aims - intentions of the module

The aim of the module is to provide you with the skills, knowledge and confidence to plan and deliver interdisciplinary projects involving digital data or practices. Successful project management is essential not only for the field of digital humanities but an extremely broad range of research methods and graduate careers as well. The module covers both solo projects, and requires you to be task-oriented and make effective use of time. You will also learn ways of presenting your work effectively to others. The module is primarily based on reflective and experiential learning and will enable you to strengthen your abilities in the following four areas, regularly cited by industry as among the most important attributes in graduate employees:

  • Problem-solving: in your project you will plan a set of defined goals and then deliver on them. The module will help you clearly define your ideas, along with practical and flexible pathways to achieving them
  • Adaptability: All projects face unexpected challenges and difficulties. Encountering them will provide opportunities to think critically and respond creatively so that your goals are still met, and perhaps even exceeded
  • Digital skills: Technology can unlock radically new opportunities but also introduces new ways of working and thinking that may be unfamiliar. This module will not simply teach you new technical skills, but help build the confidence and ability to continue expanding them.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Effectively plan and deliver a personal digital project

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 2. Apply skills in specific software techniques for creating, querying and displaying data
  • 3. Critically engage with the impact of digital technologies in a specific domain (the humanities)

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 4. Manage risk and time effectively
  • 5. Engage creatively and critically with unfamiliar topics
  • 6. Present project outcomes effectively

Syllabus plan

Whilst the content may vary from year to year, it is envisioned that it will cover some or all of the following topics:

A significant proportion of the course is set aside for supported practical work. You will plan and deliver a project focussed on your own interests. At each stage you will learn and employ techniques to improve both the experience of conducting a project, and the quality of the outcome. The project is defined by you, based on a choice of possible project templates, and dependent on your disciplinary background. Use of digital collections held by the University is encouraged.

You will also benefit from lectures and Q&A sessions with successful project leaders from the University and beyond that offer practical insights into managing projects. Lecture topics will reflect the expertise of the speakers but will cover themes such as:

  • Producing effective project plans
  • Cross-disciplinarity – different approaches to problem solving
  • Working collaboratively
  • Working with data
  • Essentials of website design
  • Time management and planning
  • Dealing with change and failure
  • Creating an effective poster

Assessment for the personal project will be in the form of a poster outlining the rationale, the process and the outcome. You will present the poster at the end of the module and write a technical report describing its development.

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching11Lectures covering topics related to project planning and management
Scheduled Learning and Teaching11Directly supported time for project planning and delivery
Guided Independent Study128Student-directed personal project : Expected time for planning and delivery of projects

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Poster presenting the results of the personal project401000 words1,5-6Written
Technical report of project 603000 words1-6Written

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Poster presenting the personal project Poster presenting the personal project1, 5-6Referral/deferral period
Technical report of the personal project Technical report of the personal project1-6Referral/deferral period

Re-assessment notes

Where you have been referred/deferred, re-assessment is possible through the submission of a new technical report or poster.

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 40%) you will be required to submit a further assessment as necessary. If you are successful on referral, your overall module mark will be capped at 40%.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Basic reading:

  • Berkun, S. 2008. Making Things Happen: Mastering Project Management. O’Reilly
  • Warwick, C., Terras, M. & Nyhan, J. eds. 2012. Digital Humanities in Practice. Facet.
  • Schreibman S., Siemens R, and Unsworth J., Eds., 2016. A New Companion to Digital Humanities, Wiley Blackwell.

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Indicative learning resources - Other resources

  • Digital Humanities Lab facilities
  • University of Exeter Library, Digital and Special collections

Key words search

Digital Humanities, Liberal Arts

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date