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.
The required texts for this course are the following:
- Charles Schulz, The Complete Peanuts: 1961-1962 (ISBN: 978-1560976721)
- Charles Schulz, The Complete Peanuts: 1981-1982 (ISBN: 978-1606994719)
- Scott McCloud, Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art (ISBN: 978-0060976255)
You are welcome to purchase these books from the BYU Store; I’ve also provided links if you prefer to buy them on Amazon. 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.
Assignments will be worth the following points:
Daily Comics Discussion: 100
DH Project Report: 100
Peanuts Paper: 125
TEI Edition: 250
Research Review: 75
Topic Modeling: 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
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 2023 semester, my office hours are from 11am-1pm on Mondays and from 9-10:30am on Thursdays. I’m happy to make appointments at other times—just ask or schedule an appointment here: 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 within 24 hours, although I also try to take an email hiatus on the weekend.
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.
You should not come to class if you are sick. On those days, you can participate in class via Zoom—as long as you send a message at least 30 minutes before the start of class. Attending via Zoom should not be something you do at a whim; it’s only intended for keeping our community safe. With that said: one thing that I need to succeed at engaging students who are remote 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 work will not be accepted, except at my discretion and with a penalty.
In the unlikely event that I am late to class, you should feel free to leave 15 minutes after its scheduled start. Don’t count on this happening.
Our final is scheduled for Tuesday, April 25 from 11am–2pm. 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.
It will often be imperative for you to bring a laptop to class. Just don’t get distracted.
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. Start assignments early and save often. Always keep a backup copy of your work saved somewhere secure.
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.
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 reboots in 2020—Hannah Johnson, Allison Lasswell, Drew Monteiro, and Kate Staker—and 2021—Maria Archibald, Jane Athay, Sarah Emmett, Ashlin Kaufman, Jenni Overy, Allie Rawlings.
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 proved that small, weird classes can have amazing outcomes.
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.
Preventing & Responding to Sexual Misconduct
Brigham Young University prohibits all forms of sexual harassment—including sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking on the basis of sex—by its personnel and students and in all its education programs or activities. University policy requires all faculty members to promptly report incidents of sexual harassment that come to their attention in any way and encourages reports by students who experience or become aware of sexual harassment. Incidents should be reported to the Title IX Coordinator at t9coordinator [at] byu [dot] edu or 801-422-8692 or 1085 WSC. Reports may also be submitted online at https://titleix.byu.edu/report or 1-888-238-1062 (24-hours a day). BYU offers a number of resources and services for those affected by sexual harassment, including the university’s confidential Sexual Assault Survivor Advocate. Additional information about sexual harassment, the university’s Sexual Harassment Policy, reporting requirements, and resources can be found in the University Catalog, by visiting http://titleix.byu.edu, or by contacting the university’s Title IX Coordinator.
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 or 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 Opportunity Office at 801-422-5895, eo_manager [at] byu [dot] edu, or visit https://hrs.byu.edu/equal-opportunity for help.
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 M. Russell 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).