Sharon Leon is teaching a digital history course this semester at George Mason University and she is realizing that not all of the students taking the course (non-history majors) know how historians do their work. In response, she is thinking about “threshold concepts“–things that students in a digital history course must know about the discipline of history. Here is her primary question on this front:
What are those activities that move students from reading about what historians care about to understanding why those concerns are important and how they shape what we do when we do history?
She gets us started with a nice piece by Bill Cronon titled “Getting Ready to Do History.” It is worth a look.
As we offer our first digital history course at Messiah College next year, I think it is important that we do not forget the “history” part of “digital history.” I am eager to see what kind of “threshold concepts” Leon comes up with.