Humanities Indicators
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Digital Engagement: Key Findings from the 2012–13 Humanities Departmental Survey

The Humanities Departmental Survey (HDS-2) included a number of new questions to explore humanities departments’ engagement with digital forms of teaching and scholarship. While “digital humanities” has been a growing topic online and in general media outlets such as The New York Times in recent years, the survey found fairly limited engagement at the departmental level. (Please note that HDS-2 studied degree-granting departments and programs only at four-year colleges and universities.)

Key findings:

  • A third of the humanities departments reported offering at least one fully online course, and about one department in five reported offering at least one hybrid course (a class with both online and classroom components).
  • Significant differences were observed among institutions in different Carnegie classifications. Departments at institutions classified as primarily undergraduate reported the lowest proportion of online and hybrid courses—with 16% offering fully online courses and 13% offering hybrid courses (Figure 1). In comparison, programs at comprehensive institutions reported the highest proportion of both online and hybrid courses (43% and 26% respectively).
  • A marked difference existed between programs at public and private institutions, as well. While 55% of the departments in public colleges and universities offered fully online courses, 18% of the programs at private institutions offered such courses. The disparity in hybrid course offerings was not as great, with 29% of the departments in public institutions offering such courses, compared to 13% of the departments in private institutions.
  • Marked differences were also found among the disciplines in the proportion of their departments offering online courses. Among the disciplines with a relatively balanced distribution across the Carnegie institution types used in the survey, departments in art history appeared the least likely to offer fully online and hybrid courses (with 19% offering fully online classes and 11% offering hybrids). In comparison, almost half of the combined English/Languages and Literatures (LLE) other than English departments offered fully online courses, with over 40% of these departments offering hybrid courses. Forty-three percent of English, history, and communication departments offered fully online courses. A smaller portion of the departments in each of these three disciplines offered hybrid courses—27% in communication, 24% in English, and 18% in history.
  • Disciplines differed with respect to the institutional setting in which departments offering fully online courses were most commonly found, at least among the disciplines with a relatively even distribution of departments across the Carnegie institution types. For art history, English, and LLE disciplines, departments at research universities were the most likely to offer fully online courses. In the case of communication, history, philosophy, and religion, departments located within comprehensive institutions had the greatest tendency to offer such courses (Figure 2).
  • Except in the disciplines of art history and classical studies, departments at comprehensive institutions were the most likely to offer hybrid courses (Figure 3).
  • Among humanities departments, 24% had a center or lab dedicated to digital humanities research on campus, while 15% of departments offered at least one seminar or course that focused on digital methods for research or teaching during the academic year, and 12% had guidelines for evaluating digital publications for tenure and promotion (Figure 4).
  • With 46% having a digital humanities center on campus, departments at research universities were substantially more likely than those at other types of institutions to have access to these resources. Guidelines for evaluating digital publications were also most commonly found in departments at research institutions.

For more detailed breakdowns of departmental engagement among different types of institutions (public/private and by Carnegie classification) see the relevant tables (nos. 16 and 17) for each discipline on the HDS-2 area of the Humanities Indicators website or in the  final report for the study.

Tables

Departments Offering Online Courses (All Disciplines Combined), by Carnegie Classification and Form of Control

Engagement with Digital Humanities (All Disciplines Combined), by Carnegie Classification and Form of Control

HDS2-D1: Percentage of Humanities Departments Offering Online Courses, by Course Type and Carnegie Classification, Academic Year 2011–12
Source: Susan White, Raymond Chu, and Roman Czujko,  The 2012–13 Survey of Humanities Departments at Four-Year Institutions, Table 17, p. 26 (College Park, MD: Statistical Research Center, American Institute of Physics, 2014). Study conducted for the American Academy of Arts Sciences’ Humanities Indicators Project.
HDS2-D2: Percentage of Humanities Departments Offering Fully Online Courses, by Carnegie Classification and Discipline, Academic Year 2011–12
Source: Susan White, Raymond Chu, and Roman Czujko,  The 2012–13 Survey of Humanities Departments at Four-Year Institutions, Table 16 in of each of the discipline profiles (College Park, MD: Statistical Research Center, American Institute of Physics, 2014). Study conducted for the American Academy of Arts Sciences’ Humanities Indicators Project.
HDS2-D3: Percentage of Humanities Departments Offering Hybrid Courses, by Carnegie Classification and Discipline, Academic Year 2011–12
Source: Susan White, Raymond Chu, and Roman Czujko,  The 2012–13 Survey of Humanities Departments at Four-Year Institutions, Table 16 in each of the discipline profiles (College Park, MD: Statistical Research Center, American Institute of Physics, 2014). Study conducted for the American Academy of Arts Sciences’ Humanities Indicators Project.
HDS2-D4: Percentage of Humanities Departments Engaged with Digital Humanities, by Type of Engagement and Carnegie Classification, Fall 2012
Source: Susan White, Raymond Chu, and Roman Czujko,  The 2012–13 Survey of Humanities Departments at Four-Year Institutions, Table 18, p.27 (College Park, MD: Statistical Research Center, American Institute of Physics, 2014). Study conducted for the American Academy of Arts Sciences’ Humanities Indicators Project.