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Frequently asked questions

I am not sure if ‘Digital Humanities’ is what I do?

The research community at CDH is diverse, spanning the ‘traditional’ humanities disciplines as well the social sciences and computer science, and increasingly the biomedical and physical sciences. Previous Methods Fellows have come from a diverse range of disciplinary backgrounds including History, Computer Science, Archaeology, Education and Sociology. 

I am still doing my PhD. Can I apply?

Yes, we are happy to consider applications from PhD students, provided you can demonstrate relevant experience in delivering teaching or training.

Which groups of learners should my proposed course be aimed at? Will they be beginners or advanced?

Participants in the Data Schools are usually either using digital methods in a professional context (for example as an NGO worker or activist, in a cultural heritage organisation, as a journalist or media worker) or they are a graduate student or staff member in a university. While we do not have formal prerequisites for participation in the Data Schools, the programme is aimed at supporting learners who have a good working knowledge of ‘everyday’ software applications (such as office tools for word processing and spreadsheets) and will be comfortable attempting to install software and using online collaboration tools such as Google Drive. We do not require any prior knowledge of programming however some participants are likely to have some experience with languages such as Python or R. 
Because our course content is structured around the lifecycle of a digital project and aims to give a holistic overview of the research process, we have found that learners who have more advanced knowledge in some elements of the course often benefit considerably from seeing how these discrete skills fit into a wider set of practices. 

How many participants will I be teaching?

The normal cohort size for the Data Schools is around 20 participants. In addition, we usually run at least one open-access public workshop during the School.

I am not a member of the University of Cambridge can I apply?

Unfortunately, we are not accepting applications from outside the University at present. 

I don’t have an academic role in the University, can I still apply?

We welcome applications from colleagues in academic-related and professional staff roles for Methods Fellowships.

I am employed by a College or the Press and not the University, can I still apply? 

Yes, you can apply - our definition of the University includes the Colleges and CUP. 

What kind of time commitment do you expect from Data School Methods Fellows?

The content delivered by Data School Methods Fellows through our programme is generally the equivalent of 6 hours of live teaching, usually delivered as four hours in the classroom (whether virtually or in-person), plus a further two hours of supporting participants through asynchronous teaching (eg by replying to queries by email on Moodle) and/or ‘office hours’ virtual or in-person drop-in. We calculate the preparation time for these teaching hours on a 7 to 1 ratio. This preparation time would include meetings with the Director of CDH Learning or other CDH staff to discuss the content and its relationship to the programme. Methods Fellows are also very welcome to attend other CDH events.

Do I need to be available at specific times?

The dates for the Data Schools are provisional and we will consider applications for different dates in approximately the same time period (eg March and June 2021). Please get in touch if you would like some guidance on this ( We do require that once you have committed to dates you can hold them open. 

How do I know whether you will have access to the software/equipment needed to teach my course?

We encourage proposals for teaching which are not wholly dependent on access to a specific tool or platform, but which impart the general principles, approaches and concepts underpinning the method in question, or that use generally available software. We cannot assume that all our learners have access to paid-for software or applications so we will prioritise teaching tools that are free to use. If possible, these should be supported by a broad developer and user base.  

Can you help with finding suitable datasets for teaching purposes?

Yes. We are building up a set of datasets based on the University Library’s digital collections for use in teaching. We can also advise on other sources of teaching datasets (have a look at the Programming Historian, and The Carpentries for example).

Which platforms are you using to deliver remote teaching?

We have been using a combination of video delivery using Zoom and self-guided materials hosted on Moodle for participants to work through in between sessions. We also use Google Drive to facilitate participant access to large datasets or collaboration tools for teaching. 

Who will own any online learning content that I produce for the Data Schools? 

You will not have to sign away your rights in the teaching materials you produce for us, and you can continue to use them in any way you please. However, in alignment with the University’s general policy on intellectual property, we will ask you to either grant CDH a non-exclusive, royalty-free license to distribute the teaching materials to Data School participants during the academic year 2021/22 or to apply an appropriate Creative Commons license which covers this scenario. 
If you want to go down the first route, this means that you give us permission to keep your teaching materials on Moodle for access by the participants in the Data School where you were engaged to teach. Participants will be able to download for their own private study but not share further without your permission. We will not be allowed to share or distribute beyond the cohort of participants for that specific Data School. If you are happy to license your work for wider use we encourage you to use a Creative Commons license of your choice.