PDF version of this assignment page.

Due Date

  • No more than 1 week after the in-class portion of the lab


One of the central features of this course is our hands-on work with digital methods and tools. This work will take place in labs throughout the semester: 3 “mini” labs (Labs 1a, 4a, and 5a), and 7 6 “main” labs (Labs 2, 3, 4, 5b, 6b, 7 — Lab 1b is now extra credit). Everyone will complete the mini labs, and you will complete 6 5 of 7 6 main labs as lab reports. The labs are designed both to introduce you to the digital method or tool under investigation, and to get you thinking about what the value of that method or tool might be for the study of literature. As such, you should approach the labs analytically, asking what new questions about literature or text more generally the particular method or tool we are investigating makes possible. The labs are also important because they will introduce you to methods we might incorporate into our final class project.

We will take time to start each lab in class. Even if you are not planning to do a lab that we begin in class, you will still be expected to participate in the in-class portion of the lab. But you will not be responsible for completing the lab and writing up a report in that case. Sometimes, as indicated on our course calendar, you will be asked to complete a portion of the lab before coming to class as homework. Even if you are not planning to do a lab report on a lab that asks you to complete a portion of it before class, you still must complete that portion before coming to class.

Details & Requirements

  • Everyone in class must complete both parts of Lab 1 (part a is due Jan 20; part b is due Jan 27). After Lab 1b, you must complete 5 more of the “main” lab reports at your own pace throughout the semester, for a grand total of 6 lab reports. Everyone must complete each “mini” lab, which generally are shorter and do not involve a written component. You will choose 5 of 6 “main” labs to complete throughout the semester (which one you skip will be your choice).
  • Lab reports are due by class time no more than 1 week after we complete the in-class portion of the lab. I will not accept late lab reports, and you cannot make up missed lab reports.
  • You will post lab reports to our course site. Please categorize your posts according to the lab you are completing (so “Lab 1a” for the lab report for Lab 1a, and so on). The assignments for Labs 1-7 can be found under Assignments > Lab Reports on our course site.
  • The length of each lab report will vary depending on the lab, but all lab reports will contain a written portion, and they will frequently ask you to engage with the course readings. Each lab report will represent a significant amount of work. If a specific length is required, the lab assignment will indicate this.
  • The lab reports are worth 15% of your course grade. They are graded on completion, meaning you will either receive full credit for a complete lab report, or no credit for an incomplete lab report or for a lab report that does not meet all requirements of the assignment. You will complete 9 8 total labs throughout the semester (6 5 main lab reports and 3 mini labs). Each lab report is therefore worth about 11% 12.5 % of your total lab report grade.
  • You have some limited flexibility regarding which lab report you want to skip. Be strategic about this.

I will read every lab report, and I will also occasionally comment on them via our course site when I feel I have something substantive to contribute. You should not interpret a comment from me on a lab report as either validation or condemnation of a post; nor should you interpret a lack of commenting from me as validation or condemnation. I am very happy to give you more specific feedback on your lab reports in office hours.

See “How to Post” for more information about how to post to the site.