Course Details

Syllabus

You can download the syllabus as a PDF as it was on the first day of class. But it’s worth noting that the authoritative version of the schedule and syllabus is this website.

Texts

The required texts for this course are the following:

You are welcome to purchase these books from the BYU Store; I’ve also provided links if you prefer to buy them on Amazon. You’re welcome to read these texts as ebooks, on whatever device you’d like. Whatever you do, be sure that you have your copy of the text by the assigned dates.

There are a number of texts that are only available from Course Reserves or online. You must have a copy of these texts on the day we discuss them, whether a hard copy or a copy on a portable device.

Grades

Assignments will be worth the following points:

Participation: 125
DH Project Report: 100
Peanuts Paper: 150
Daily Comics Discussion: 100
TEI Edition: 225
Research Review: 75
Topic Modeling: 50
Stylometry: 50
Word Embedding: 50
Final Exam: 75

Grades will be calculated with this range:

899-875 B+      874-825 B      824-800 B-      etc.

My Course Policies

Communication

The best time to get in touch with me is during my office hours. I consider this your time, and I encourage you to make use of it. During the Winter 2022 semester, my office hours will be from 11 am-1 pm on Mondays and from 9-10:30 am on Wednesdays. I’m happy to make appointments at other times—just ask or schedule an appointment here: https://calendly.com/briancroxall/. Given the current state of the world, I’m happy to meet in my office or on Zoom; just let me know your preference.

After office hours, the next best way to get in touch with me is by sending me an email. I will do my best to respond to any email within 24 hours, although I also try to take an email hiatus on the weekend.

Participation

This is a small class, and it absolutely depends on your active, collaborative, and engaged participation. You should come each day having carefully read and annotated assignments; be ready to discuss them with your colleagues. Your active participation will be factored into your final grade. If you’re reluctant to speak up, please talk to me, and we’ll figure out a way for you to participate.

Attendance

Participating in class, of course, requires that you be present. Given the current COVID-19 pandemic, however, you should not come to class if you are experiencing any potential symptoms. On those days, you can participate in class via Zoom—as long as you email me at least 30 minutes before the start of class. Attending via Zoom should not be something you do at a whim.

Additionally, if you miss more than three class sessions, it will cause your final grade to be lowered for the semester.

Remote Learning and Video

I’m sure that we all have strong feelings about using Zoom at this point in our lives. If you or I are remote, I will do my best to make things as engaging as possible, but one thing that I need to succeed is the ability to see you. For this reason, if/when we are using Zoom, you are required to participate via video. Exceptions to this policy must be approved in advance of an individual class starting.

Late Assignments

Late work will not be accepted, except at my discretion and with a penalty.

Late Instructor

In the unlikely event that I am late to class, you should feel free to leave 10 minutes after its scheduled start. Don’t count on this happening.

Final Exam

Our final is scheduled for Tuesday, April 19 from 11 am–2 pm. BYU policy forbids me from changing the final’s time. Please add this date to your calendar now, so you don’t miss it. And be sure you haven’t planned to leave before it takes place.

Laptops

It will often be imperative for you to bring a laptop to class. Just don’t get distracted.

Technical Snafus

This course relies heavily on access to computers, specific software, and the Internet. At some point during the semester, you will have a problem with technology. To succeed in college and in your career, you should develop work habits that take such events into account. Start assignments early and save often. Always keep a backup copy of your work saved somewhere secure. It is your responsibility to take the proper steps to ensure your work will not be lost irretrievably; if one device or service isn’t working, find another that does.

That said, you will be learning how to do things with words and computers. If things don’t work with our more outré assignments, I will not hold that against you. (This has definitely happened before.) What’s more, I’m more than happy to answer questions during class or in my office hours. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness; it’s a sign that you, like me, are learning.

Acknowledgments

Despite what you might think, professors don’t know everything. This course is the product of my talking to and reading the work of colleagues. This version of DigHT 315 owes a particular debt to Amy Schulz Johnson, who first approached BYU’s Office of Digital Humanities about doing linguistic analysis of her father’s work. Similarly, we would have much less to work with without the efforts of my ODH colleagues, Jeremy Browne and Jesse Vincent. The former did the work to create the corpus of Schulz’s work, and the latter loaded the corpus into WordCruncher. As I was starting to plan the course, I also spoke with Kerry Soper who gave me some valuable insights into teaching comics. Most importantly, this year’s course has been shaped by the experience I had piloting it with students in 2019—Cynthia Beck, Lindsay Boyden, Melina Galvez de Leon, and Talia Woffinden—and those who experienced the reboot in 2020—Hannah Johnson, Allison McIllece-Lasswell, Drew Monteiro, and Kate Staker.

The structure of this course riffs on those that I taught in Winter 2018 and 2019. When designing that first course, I specifically consulted syllabi from Ted Underwood and Natalie Houston. I first brainstormed the TEI assignment with my very good friend Elli Mylonas, and she has continued to be a critical ally in the years since. I talked broadly about the overall structure of the course with Mark Sample and Kathleen Fitzpatrick. Lisa Rhody has the best thoughts about topic modeling and suggested that I remember that GitHub exists. Maciej Eder and Christof Schöch kindly provided advice about stylometry. And special thanks to the students in the other iterations of this course (Winters 2018 and 2019), who have proven that small, weird classes can have amazing outcomes.

BYU Policies

Honor Code

In keeping with the principles of the BYU Honor Code, students are expected to be honest in all of their academic work. Academic honesty means, most fundamentally, that any work you present as your own must in fact be your own work and not that of another. Violations of this principle may result in a failing grade in the course and additional disciplinary action by the university. Students are also expected to adhere to the Dress and Grooming Standards. Adherence demonstrates respect for yourself and others and ensures an effective learning and working environment. It is the university’s expectation, and every instructor’s expectation in class, that each student will abide by all Honor Code standards. Please call the Honor Code Office at 801-422-2847 if you have questions about those standards.

COVID-19 Statement

While COVID-19 conditions persist and until further notice, students and faculty are required to wear face coverings at all times during class; faculty are not at liberty to waive this expectation.

Students who feel sick, including exhibiting symptoms commonly associated with COVID-19 (fever; cough; shortness of breath/difficulty breathing; chills; muscle pain; sore throat; new loss of taste or smell; etc.) should not attend class and should work with their instructor to develop a study plan for the duration of the illness.

Preventing Sexual Misconduct

In accordance with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Brigham Young University prohibits unlawful sex discrimination against any participant in its education programs or activities. The university also prohibits sexual harassment-including sexual violence-committed by or against students, university employees, and visitors to campus. As outlined in university policy, sexual harassment, dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking are considered forms of “Sexual Misconduct” prohibited by the university.

University policy requires all university employees in a teaching, managerial, or supervisory role to report all incidents of Sexual Misconduct that come to their attention in any way, including but not limited to face-to-face conversations, a written class assignment or paper, class discussion, email, text, or social media post. Incidents of Sexual Misconduct should be reported to the Title IX Coordinator at t9coordinator [at] byu [dot] edu or 801-422-8692. Reports may also be submitted through EthicsPoint at titleix.byu.edu/report or 888-238-1062 (24-hours a day).

BYU offers confidential resources for those affected by Sexual Misconduct, including the university’s Victim Advocate, as well as a number of non-confidential resources and services that may be helpful. Additional information about Title IX, the university’s Sexual Misconduct Policy, reporting requirements, and resources can be found at titleix.byu.edu or by contacting the university’s Title IX Coordinator.

Student Disability

Brigham Young University is committed to providing a working and learning atmosphere that reasonably accommodates qualified persons with disabilities. A disability is a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. Whether an impairment is substantially limiting depends on its nature and severity, its duration or expected duration, and its permanent or expected permanent or long-term impact. Examples include vision or hearing impairments, physical disabilities, chronic illnesses, emotional disorders (e.g., depression, anxiety), learning disorders, and attention disorders (e.g., ADHD). If you have a disability which impairs your ability to complete this course successfully, please contact the University Accessibility Center (UAC, 2170 WSC, 801-422-2767) to request a reasonable accommodation. The UAC can also assess students for learning, attention, and emotional concerns. If you feel you have been unlawfully discriminated against on the basis of disability, please contact the Equal Employment Office (D-285 ASB, 801-422-5895) for help.

Mental Health

Mental health concerns and stressful life events can affect students’ academic performance and quality of life. BYU Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS, 1500 WSC, 801-422-3035, caps.byu.edu) provides individual, couples, and group counseling, as well as stress management services. These services are confidential and are provided by the university at no cost for full-time students. For general information please visit caps.byu.edu; for more immediate concerns please visit help.byu.edu.

BYU College of Humanities Statement on Inclusion

We strive to cultivate mutual respect and empathy for all people, no matter their ethnic, racial, or cultural background, or sexual orientation. Elder Ballard said at a BYU devotional in Feb. 2020: “Through discrimination, racism, sexism, and other social ills, we will often impose false identities on others that keep them and us from progressing. This can stop when we see all people as children of God. We consider every person divine in origin, nature, and potential. Each possesses seeds of divinity. And ‘each is a beloved spirit [child] of heavenly parents.’”

The College of Humanities is attuned to the reality of an increasingly diverse Church membership. We aspire to better understand our own language and history, and to use language to connect and heal rather than to divide and harm. We invite students, staff, and faculty to use their time in our college to strive toward conduct worthy of Christian discipleship, where we are “no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God” (Ephesians 2:19).