Sept. 14: Building Digital Audiences

Being a public historian in the 21st century requires you to engage with many different audiences using a variety of platforms and media. Finding a tone and style that suits your personality and your intended audience is not easy.

In this class we will discuss how we can attract and serve audiences in the classroom, in museums, and online. How should we use digital media? Is it always necessary? What are some common (and potentially disastrous) mistakes we should avoid?

We will discuss our recent blog posts, and then work on designing the class podcast(s).

Be sure to download Audacity to explore in class.

Digital Natives? Engaging Youth and the Public:

An old prediction. Are we any closer to this coming true? M.G. Siegler, “Bill Gates: In Five Years the Best Education Will Come From the Web,”TechCrunch, 6 August 2010.

James Cote, “The Digital Native DebateAn appraisal of pedagogical and generational claims.” Changing Landscapes of Childhood and Youth in Europe, Lynne Chisholm and Vassiliki Deliyanni-Kouimitzi (eds.) (pp. 86–109). Cambridge Scholars Press: Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 2014.

We’ll also debate a new article from The Atlantic discussing how smart phones have changed childhood and allegedly “destroyed a generation.”

Jeffrey Young, “When Computers Leave Classroom, So Does Boredom,” Chronicle of Higher Education, 20 July 2009.

Jason B. Jones, “The Creepy Treehouse Problem”, Chronicle of Higher Education, March 9, 2010.

How does digital engagement help teach historical thinking. Consider Peter Seixas, “The Purposes of Teaching Canadian History,” Canadian Social Studies 36:2, 2002.

Attempts to Build an Audience:

The Guardian, “Can a museum without walls attract a wider audience?”

The little city of Framingham, MA’s Historical Society

Using Games to increase museum attendance and engagement (we’ll return to this subject in a later class.

When campaigns backfire:  #campaignfail


Everyone is required to try their hand at podcasting. Have a listen to these examples and decide what form your podcast will take. In the last part of the class, we will visit the computer lab and learn how to use the microphones and software.

Have a listen to previous efforts from 2015 and 2016.

In Our Time with Melvyn Bragg Directed discussion of a topic with a panel of experts.

BBC History Extra Interviews, Lectures, and History News.

Shakespeare’s Restless World Documentary Style

A list of 10 History Podcasts