About the lessons

Each lesson offers a choice of several modules with an increasing level of complexity and time required

The lessons have been structured in such a manner that they can serve the needs of students, lecturers and independent learners with limited time, as well as those who really want to study a topic in depth. Each lesson can consist of a SMALL, MEDIUM or LARGE module. It is worth bearing in mind that the topics addressed in the lessons are not limited to digital source criticism. To offer more variety to lecturers, other techniques that play a vital role in digital history are also included, such as conducting web research and creating a digital map or timeline.

SMALL / watch the animation


15 minutes — The SMALL module serves as a short introduction to a topic related to source criticism. It consists of a short animation of around 6 to 7 minutes in which a number of basic terms and questions are presented. The SMALL module is geared towards a broad audience with a general interest, including individual learners who are not part of a teaching context.

MEDIUM / complete one or more assignments


max 90 minutes — The MEDIUM module is meant to be used in a teaching context and therefore offers information for both students and lecturers. It consists of a series of assignments that address the various topics introduced in the animation in more depth. Its target group is Bachelor students and their lecturers. The assignments are suitable for collaborative work for two or three students and the time required varies from 30 to 90 minutes. Each assignment provides specific information about learning outcomes.

LARGE / engage in workshops


one day —The LARGE module offers a tutorial for a hands-on workshop lasting at least a day. This should be led by a lecturer who has experience with digital tools and requires some preparation and an appropriate environment such as a computer lab. The objective of the tutorial is to go through all the steps required to create a digital history project. This can range from creating a website or podcast by applying a storytelling tool to creating a digital exhibit or annotating a corpus of photos.

How can you use the lessons?

A lecturer can choose one or more modules and/or assignments that can be completed and discussed in class or given as homework. The following considerations may help lecturers to choose the material they wish to use:

  1. How the topic of digital source criticism fits into a given course (for example an “introduction to research methods”, as generally offered in the first year of a Bachelor programme). For a number of suggestions, see below.

  2. The level of digital savviness of students and lecturers. For the basics of digital literacy, and assessing the digital skills of your students, see the various resources listed on the website of the university of Sunderland.

  3. The amount of available time – see the metadata of each assignment for information about the time required.

How to choose an assignment?

As these lessons are not compulsory and there is no teacher available to monitor progress and offer feedback, lecturers should themselves assess how to integrate the content into their own lessons. To guide lecturers in their choice, each assignment offers metadata about the time required, learning outcomes, key words and practical requirements. There is also the option of downloading a PDF of the assignment in order to integrate it somewhere else. Downloadable templates are provided for students to complete their assignments.


The content of the website has been translated into French and German to reach out to a broad audience of students and lecturers. The links in the assignments, however, are mostly to English content. The reasoning behind this approach is that by providing the basic text of the assignments in French and German, it will be easier for lecturers to tweak the assignments to their needs by adding their own links to material that connects more directly to their own curriculum.

Example scenarios

  1. In a class about source criticism with about 1.5 hours at your disposal, you can watch the clip “From the archival to the digital turn” which takes 6 minutes, then ask students to discuss it for about 15 minutes. After that you can distribute the 7 assignments among pairs of students, which they can start in class (only the first section a., which will take 20 to 30 mins, and then finish at home. The results of their work could be presented during the next session, or as part of a discussion with the teacher or lecturer. The assignment can also be tweaked to another topic of interest, by choosing other examples and offering other links.

  2. In a class about digital culture, you can watch the clip “transformation”, which takes 2 minutes and then have a class discussion about the concepts and terms that have been presented. The students can then complete the assignments in groups in their own time. Which assignments to choose and how many will depend on how much private study is generally expected from students, but it can vary from 30 mins to 3 hours.

  3. In a class about Holocaust studies or oral history, you can watch the animation “David Boder: from steel wire to website”, which takes 7 minutes. Depending on the focus of the course, you can then invite the students to watch the interactive version of the animation and complete a set of assignments. You have the choice between assignments that deal with media technology, oral history, interview methodology and source criticism. If you want to venture further into the history of web technology, you can watch the video lecture “David Boder online – comparing websites 2000-2009”, which takes 9 minutes. Here you have the choice between a series of assignments that deal with the development of web technology and the preservation of digital resources.