"...historical courses go beyond the presentation of content and historical claims to provide students with multiple opportunities to do the work..."
Using timelines as a means to allow students to work closely with primary sources and start the process of creating historical narrative is something I've begun to develop over the last year. As I hone the developmental framework for my digital practice in the classroom, I want students to engage in critical thinking and information fluency in lower division classes using digital tools that have elements of visual and textual complexity. The Knightlab Timeline JS tool has some of the same outcome I associate with ThirdSight History, but the tool's ease of use make it a great tool to start the process of digital engagement.
HIS 370: Race and Ethnicity in the United States is the class I chose to utilize the Timeline JS. Block by Block was designed to explore the history of property in Hannibal Square, the historic African American community in Winter Park, Florida. The origin of this project grew from a recurring community complaint that the character of the Hannibal Square community is lost in contemporary debates about gentrification. Engaging with institutional records, the timeline produced in this course served as digital companion projects to essays written by students in the course. Weaving together archival documents and genealogical records along with applicable secondary sources, students in this course explored Hannibal Square from the 1890s to 1980s through property. The timelines offered students a chance to reflect on social, political, and economic circumstances linked to black owned property in Hannibal Square. The student timelines created in this class are viewable online at the Block By Block website.