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University of Warwick

Context

 Making of the Modern World, a core module at level 1, seeks to develop historical and more general transferable skills, including numeracy. Also offered at this level is Computing for Historians, which is particularly concerned with the creation and use of historical data bases. At level 2, The European World, 1500-1750 is offered as a core module and it includes themes in economic and demographic history that require engagement with quantitative material. Other optional modules on the programme may also contain numeracy elements. At level 3, for example, a module entitled The Russian Revolution, 1918-21 gives students the opportunity to critically evaluate a wide range of primary material, including statistical sources.

A particular feature of Making of the Modern World is an introduction to historical skills, including word-processing, IT and database skills. Most seminar topics have a particular historical skill or specific type of source material associated with them. These include the following: historical analysis of documents, oral history and statistics.

Computing for Historians module

This module is open to all history students, but may be of particular interest to those in their first year first year taking the Making of the Modern World core module, and to postgraduate students completing the quantitative research skills element of the Theory, Skills and Methods module. The module is an optional skills component which provides training in using IT skills to augment historical research. It shows students how to use and manipulate Access and Excel programs, including the creation of data bases and of charts and tables. The module is offered on-line and can be completed at times/in sections convenient to the student. The course is divided into 10 sections each section taking 20-30 minutes to complete. On-line tutorial support is available.

In database manipulation the students work with mean, median, mode and pivot tables. Students are given examples of their use working with an existing database and then complete an exercise to complete using these specific numerical skills.

NOTE: This set of online training resources has been redeveloped as part of the History Graduates with Impact project, providing off-the-shelf resources for History departments to use. The resources can be found in Online Resources.

Assessment

Each section of the Computing for Historians module includes a self-assessment exercise (complete with model answer) but the course is not marked. A full explanation of the exercises and a demonstration of the correct answers/procedures are included in each section.

However, students will write three 1,500-word essays over the year and at least one of these essays must be a Skills question.

Computing for Historians developer

Lisa Lavender

Website address

http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/arts/history/res_rec/skills/computing_intro/