To help us get into the meat of class more quickly, please set up a couple of accounts if you don’t already have one. If you haven’t already done so, please fill out the assessment survey so that I know what background everyone has coming in. (And remember, it’s not graded and your answers don’t determine whether you can enroll in class–it’s just for my information so I know where everyone is!)
First, we’ll be hosting class portfolios through Reclaim Hosting, which is an educational hosting provider established by the University of Mary Washington. (If you already have a blog or hosting space somewhere, you can use it for class, but please come talk to me about it first). One year of hosting will cost 25 dollars and require a credit card; please let me know if either of those things are difficult for you and we’ll make it work. If you are an instructor of record here or elsewhere, we may be able to arrange free hosting for you–see me to arrange this. The $25 for hosting is the only cost associated with this class unless we vote as a class to add a unit on videogames (and the game we’ll play will be $15 if we decide to do so). Please purchase your hosting through Reclaim, and choose a domain name that you don’t mind sharing with the world. It does not need to be your name (read this about why you may not want it to be; other reasons are valid too), but it should be something professional enough to put on a resume or CV. You also have a choice of .com/.net/.org/etc–most academics and professionals choose .net or .com. After buying your hosting space, you don’t need to do anything else but remember your login information; we’ll do the necessary set up on the first day of class.
If you do not already use Zotero, please create an account, download the desktop application, and install the browser extension on what ever web browser you use most often. Again, your username does not need to be your name, but it will be visible to others in class and online, so it should be professional. (I just changed mine after seven years, and it’s kind of a pain to change!) I strongly suggest that you install the citation manager plugin on your wordprocessor, but currently this is only available for Word and Libre/OpenOffice. This is all free and should be straight forward from their website, but please email me if you run into trouble. After you get your account, please join the course library. There’s nothing there yet, but we’ll be using it to manage our research together. You may also wish to join the discipline-wide digital history group library and look at the (read-only) How Did They Make That library.
Sign up for and install Dropbox. This is sort of like your S Drive, except that the files live on your computer and are synced across any other devices. This will make it easier to work on different computers in the lab or at home. You may also want to purchase a dedicated flash drive for class.
If you do not already have a Gmail and Twitter account, please create ones. (Again, these do not have to use your name, but should be professional). You do not have to share your Twitter account with me or the class, but we will be using it for a couple of small assignments. If you’re interested in finding the digital history community on Twitter, you can start with the list of people I follow. We’ll use Google Docs to do note taking and collaborate on our final projects.
If you have never worked with HTML or CSS before (or even if you have, and want to do a refresher), please run through Codeacademy’s HTML/CSS course. Codeacademy is a fairly limited way to learn things and has its problems, but it’s a nice interactive way to learn the basics.