Student participation in online discussion through resources such as Studynet and Twitter are particularly valuable in this module. Firstly they allow an arena for debate and discussion on the module topics, as well as providing the opportunity to clarify and confirm ideas and knowledge which is delivered in the weekly workshop. It allows students to show their own understanding of the course material and the views they may have in terms of historical debate surrounding digital history.
The online discussion elements of the Digital History module offered the opportunity to better understand the course material through interaction with peers. The discussion format via Studynet was helpful because it gave the chance to see the conclusions that other students had come to and look at these in comparison with my own views. However, the format of the discussion meant that once someone had made the main points about the weekly reading or preparation, it seemed as though I would be repeating what they had said. It was for this reason that I felt less confident about commenting on the Studynet page.
I felt somewhat more confident in using Twitter for online discussion, perhaps because there was not too much opportunity to write something which could be argued against. I find it relatively difficult to critique the work of others and it was for this reason that I did not use Studynet very much. Twitter gave me the opportunity to connect with historians, such as Tim Hitchcock, showing him that I enjoyed his article on the Open Scholarship Project. This method seems of much more benefit to historians than current publishing methods and Open Access. Current methods seem outdated and expensive for historians, as well as limiting the access to their work. The possibility of being able to access peer reviews which are usually unavailable seems a positive step forward, which could even add more depth to historical debate and improved resources for students or researchers.
Although I found it difficult to partake in the above mentioned online discussion forums, I can see why they are of benefit to students and the module as a whole. I seems similar, to some extent, to the way in which historians peer review each other’s works. If I had contributed more it would have been possible to gain feedback on the information that I have gleaned from the module as a whole, thus allowing me to better improve my own knowledge of digital history in general.