Digital humanities assignments — online activities and project ideas

Technology has revolutionized education, giving rise to new curriculum subjects and future career paths. Digital humanities is one curriculum example where educators are employing technological toolkits to enrich learning experiences, expand access to resources, and elevate student engagement in humanities subjects such as history, literature, social studies, and art.

With this in mind, we’ve curated a collection of humanities assignments that harness today’s technology. Best of all, these assignments are a great way to supercharge students’ critical thinking skills!

How humanities assignments can help students develop critical thinking skills

Cultivating students’ critical thinking abilities, alongside other 21st-century skills, remains central to humanities teaching. Teaching these skills empowers students to question assumptions, analyze sources, and examine different perspectives. In lessons, students can apply these skills to real-world issues, constructing evidence-supported arguments and defending their positions in discussions.

The resulting skillset makes humanities graduates highly sought-after candidates in the job market. Thus, many of our humanities assignments ideas are centered around helping students attain these skills.

Humanities assignments for teaching source comparison

One of the most important skills students can learn is how to compare a range of sources to build a comprehensive understanding of a topic. Through source comparison, students explore multiple perspectives and learn to distinguish between trustworthy sources and misinformation.

Compare topic coverage between different sources

Purpose: Students develop source analysis skills

Students use a graphic organizer to compare the treatment of a curriculum-linked topic across digital sources. They should evaluate the depth of analysis, evidence quality, and information credibility while considering the author’s perspective and purpose.

Examine cultural change through sources from different time periods

Purpose: Students develop an understanding of society’s evolution

Students analyze the portrayal of a chosen theme in digital news archives from different time periods. They evaluate how news coverage reflects society’s shifting attitudes and values, tracking the evolution of perspectives over time.

Discuss the strength of sources

Purpose: Students practice collaborative source analysis skills

Students collaborate on a Kialo Edu argument map to discuss how strong a source is. Each team evaluates a different source, focusing on areas such as credibility, accuracy, and relevance. Teams record their source’s strengths as pros, while noting weaknesses in other sources as cons. They then question each other’s claims, leading to an objective evaluation of each source.

Humanities assignments for teaching source compilation and organization

Now faced with more information than ever, students must develop efficient strategies to navigate and process vast amounts of content. Learning how to compile and organize sources enables students to conduct comprehensive, well-structured research using correct citation methods.

Search for and sort through sources

Purpose: Students develop source selection skills

Students employ research and critical thinking skills to gather sources that meet specific criteria, such as source type, date range, or perspective. Having students categorize their sources builds their ability to manage and organize large volumes of information.

Find and cross-reference various sources

Purpose: Students apply cross-referencing skills

Provide students with a source, then challenge them to find additional sources to support or contradict the given source. Uncovering contradictory information will highlight the importance of cross-referencing multiple sources, a skill they can apply in a Kialo discussion by linking a claim to several sources.

Produce an annotated bibliography

Purpose: Students evaluate and cite sources

Students create a bibliography with a concise summary and evaluation for each entry, fostering a deeper understanding of the topic and enhancing their citation skills. In a Kialo discussion, students can practice this skill by adding a summary or evaluation in the Quote/Note section of each linked source to create an annotated bibliography.

Humanities assignments for creating resources

Encouraging students to create their own learning resources fosters ownership of learning, deepens understanding, and improves knowledge retention. Moreover, students develop creativity and innovation by producing resources that meet individual learning needs.

Create engaging blogs and podcasts

Purpose: Students apply digital literacy skills

Have students create blogs or podcasts to build both subject knowledge and digital literacy skills. They can practice critical thinking through selecting, analyzing, and tailoring information for their audience, and could even showcase their skills in student podcasting contests!

Design an infographic to represent data

Purpose: Students interpret complex data

Students extract key insights from data and present them in a concise and visually engaging infographic while citing their sources. Matching design to purpose allows students to unleash their creativity too!

Develop a text-based game on lesson content

Purpose: Students design a game by working systematically

Students develop a text-based game exploring historical events, scientific discoveries, or environmental issues. Through independent research, they craft scenarios and create options for users to navigate through the game. Testing and playing each other’s games is a fun way to further reinforce learning.

Create a geocache of curriculum-linked material

Purpose: Students collaborate to create a map

Extend learning beyond the classroom walls by having groups create a curriculum-linked geocache trail. Students must critically evaluate relevant locations and utilize navigational skills to determine coordinates and design locational clues. For added purpose, students can submit their trails to a geocaching website — providing them an opportunity to share their work with the wider public!

Humanities assignments for showcasing learning

Giving students opportunities to showcase their learning reinforces confidence, validates achievements, and promotes transfer of knowledge to new contexts.

Curate a collection of items connected to the learning topic

Purpose: Students demonstrate connection to the topic through object evaluation

Curating topic-related collections, such as digital playlists, artifact collections, and art galleries can foster students’ critical thinking skills as they check that items meet inclusion criteria and rank them by importance. To deepen understanding, encourage students to provide written commentaries for each selected object.

Design a virtual field trip

Purpose: Students summarize course content

Students can summarize a topic by creating a virtual field trip, linking together relevant scenes or locations and including written or verbal commentaries. By incorporating interactive elements such as participant questions, students can deepen their learning while learning how to better engage their audience.

Make a visual map to reinforce subject content

Purpose: Students reinforce their subject knowledge

Challenge students to create visual maps representing humanities topics, such as plotting the key battles of the American Revolution or the progress of deforestation. Students must employ both mapping and critical thinking skills to choose essential elements to include.

Create a social media post or vlog

Purpose: Students create original work based on lesson content

Promote respectful online communication by asking students to create a social media post or vlog in a role-play situation. Assuming the persona of a historical figure, scientist, or artist can deepen students’ comprehension of key events of a topic by taking the perspective of their character. They can even bring vlogs to life with costumes or props!

Let students be teachers to their peers

Purpose: Students become topic experts through breaking down knowledge

Encourage students to develop expert-level knowledge by assigning them curriculum-linked debatable questions to research. They can organize their findings in a Kialo discussion, building their argument map by adding pros with supporting evidence or examples, and cons in the form of relevant counterexamples or opposing views. Students can then use their argument maps to teach the class about their chosen topic.

So, dive into our collection of humanities assignments today to boost your students’ subject knowledge and unlock a range of 21st-century skills. You will even find a whole host of humanities discussion questions in our topic library, which make a great starting point for many of these activities.

We would love to hear how you are using these humanities assignments in your classroom. Get in touch at or on any of our social media channels.

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