Skip to main content


Hacking the Humanities: How to Plan and Run Successful Digital Projects (HUM3003)

StaffProfessor Leif Isaksen - Convenor
Credit Value30
ECTS Value15
NQF Level6
Duration of Module Term 2: 11 weeks;

Module aims

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 and team projects, and requires you to develop interpersonal and collaborative skills in addition to being task-oriented and making 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 each 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
  • Teamwork: You will work together with a team, identifying how each member is able to contribute a unique set of skills, experience and knowledge, and balancing the workload equitably and efficiently between you
  • 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.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Effectively plan and deliver a personal digital project
  • 2. Effectively co-plan and deliver part of a group project

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

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

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 5. Manage risk and time effectively
  • 6. Contribute a specific set of skills within a larger team
  • 7. Engage creatively and critically with unfamiliar topics
  • 8. 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 two projects: one with a focus on your own interests and the other as a small team. 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 personal project is be 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.

Group projects will be conducted in teams of 3-5, and dependent on the skills and interests of the group. The outcome of the project will be a dynamic website that presents a corpus of material in an original way to a specified audience. Groups are required to collect and prepare a relevant body of material (or representative sample), and design and build a functioning website to document and display it.

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. Group projects will present their work collectively at the end of the module and write a technical report describing its development and their personal contribution to it.

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 Teaching22Directly supported time for project planning and delivery
Guided Independent Study134Student-directed personal project : Expected time for planning and delivery of projects
Guided Independent Study133Student-directed group 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 project201000 words1, 3, 4, 7-8Written
Technical report of personal project303000 words 1, 5, 7-8Written
Group presentation of digital resource2015 minutes powerpoint presentation (total time)2-4, 5, 8Written
Technical report of group project and personal contribution303000 words2-7Written

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 projectPoster presenting the personal project1, 7-8Referral/deferral period
Technical report of the group projectPoster presenting the personal project1, 5, 7-8Referral/deferral period
Group presentation of digital resourceIndividual presentation of personal contribution to group project2,6,8Referral/deferral period
Technical report of group project and personal contribution Technical report of group project and personal contribution2-7Referral/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.

Module has an active ELE page?


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

Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date


Key words search

Digital Humanities, Liberal Arts