1. Contact Information
  2. Prerequisites
  3. Course Description and Credit Hours
  4. Required Texts
  5. Course Objectives
  6. Student Learning Outcomes
  7. Other Course Materials
  8. Outline Of Topics
  9. Exams and Assignments
  10. Grading Policy
  11. Policy on Missed Exams and Coursework
  12. Attendance Policy
  13. Notification of Changes
  14. Custom Sections
  15. Statements on Academic Misconduct
  16. Statement On Disability Accommodations
  17. Severe Weather Protocol
  18. Pregnant Student Accommodations
  19. Religious Observances
  20. UAct Statement

Methods Digital Study of Rel

REL 503-001Fall 2021 | 1 Credit Hours


Dr. Jeri Wieringa

Contact Information

UA Campus Directory:


UA Course Catalog Prerequisites:

No prereqs found

Course Description

Course Description and Credit Hours

No description found

Required Texts

Required Texts from UA Supply Store:No required textbooks found.

Peter Denning and Matti Tedre, Computational Thinking (Available through UA Libraries - https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/book/8709327)

Michael Mendez, The Missing Link: An Introduction to Web Development and Programming (Open textbook from SUNY - https://open.umn.edu/opentextbooks/textbooks/203)

Course Objectives

1. We will cover fundamental skills and concepts in the digital humanities

2. We will apply those skills and concepts to students' research area in religious studies

3. We will evaluate how the methods of the digital humanities can advance students' academic interests.

Student Learning Outcomes

Students in REL 503 will be able to

  1. Use the command-line interface and computer languages to load and parse data

  2. Develop a research question appropriate for computational analysis

  3. Recognize and use HTML to structure text for the web

  4. Recognize and use CSS to create effective an web text for communicating research idea

Other Course Materials

Ellen Lupton, Thinking the Type: A Critical Guide for Designers, Writers, Editors, & Students.

David DuRocher, HTML and CSS QuickStart Guide: The Simplified Beginners Guide to Developing a Strong Coding Foundation, Building Responsive Websites, and Mastering ... of Modern Web Design.

Outline of Topics

Computational Research in Religious Studies

Module 1             Computational Thinking: What kinds of questions can computers answer

Module 2             Interfacing with your computer: from graphics to text

Module 3             Loops and Algorithms

Module 4    Matching theory, data, and algorithms

Presenting Research on the Web

Module 5             Behind the web pages - structuring content with HTML

Module 6             Design and information archicture

Module 7             Applying your design with CSS

Module 8    Enhance your message with typography and images

Exams and Assignments

Computational Research Proof of Concept   

In the first workshop, students will produce a computational research question related to their topic of study and a proof of concept using the skills learned in class. This work will be done in a Jupyter notebook. The proof of concept will be developed using existing and easy to access data, showcasing the computational approach. The research question should reflect critical engagement with both digital humanities and religious studies methods.

Web Page

In the second workshop, students will produce a hand-coded web page that clearly and effectively presents their research to a non-specialist audience. Students will attend to issues of information architecture, typography, color, and content in designing their pages. In this assignment, the design and the content must work together to communicate the research interests of the student.

Reflection Paper

Students will submit a final reflection paper on the application of computational methods to research in religious studies. This paper, no more than 750 words in length, should consider what questions computational methods might illuminate for their research and what questions they would not be useful for examining. Students should also consider what changes the digital medium, whether in terms of research or presentation, required them to make with regards to their understanding of their research area.

Grading Policy

Computational Research Proof of Concept     40%

Web Page    40%

Reflection Paper     20%

Final grades will be assigned according to the following grading scale

90-100 A

80-89 B

70-79 C

60-69 D

below 60 F

Policy on Missed Exams and Coursework

Due to the cooperative nature of the seminar, late and missed assignments frequently have negative effects on others within the seminar. Late or missed assignments, therefore, will be penalized.

If the circumstances leading to the late/missed assignment are beyond the control of the student, then reductions in penalties may be applied.

Attendance Policy

Students are expected to be present at each seminar session, having completed the assigned reading and done the assigned exercises. If a student cannot attend, please notify the professor as soon as possible.

Notification of Changes

The instructor will make every effort to follow the guidelines of this syllabus as listed; however, the instructor reserves the right to amend this document as the need arises. In such instances, the instructor will notify students in class and/or via email and will endeavor to provide reasonable time for students to adjust to any changes.

Statement on Academic Misconduct

Students are expected to be familiar with and adhere to the official Academic Misconduct Policy provided in the Online Catalog.

Statement On Disability Accommodations

Contact the Office of Disability Services (ODS) as detailed in the Online Catalog.

Severe Weather Protocol

Please see the latest Severe Weather Guidelines in the Online Catalog.

Pregnant Student Accommodations

Title IX protects against discrimination related to pregnancy or parental status. If you are pregnant and will need accommodations for this class, please review the University’s FAQs on the UAct website.

Religious Observances

Under the Guidelines for Religious Holiday Observances, students should notify the instructor in writing or via email during the first two weeks of the semester of their intention to be absent from class for religious observance. The instructor will work to provide reasonable opportunity to complete academic responsibilities as long as that does not interfere with the academic integrity of the course. See full guidelines at Religious Holiday Observances Guidelines.

UAct Statement

The University of Alabama is committed to an ethical, inclusive community defined by respect and civility.  The UAct website (www.ua.edu/uact)  provides extensive information on how to report or obtain assistance with a variety of issues, including issues related to dating violence, domestic violence, stalking, sexual assault, sexual violence or other Title IX violations, illegal discrimination, harassment, hate or bias incidents, child abuse or neglect, hazing, threat assessment, retaliation, and ethical violations or fraud.

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