The Educator’s Guide to Humanities Commons

On Thursday, August 15th, we posted a Twitter thread through the @humcommons Twitter account that detailed the many Humanities Commons tools that educators might find helpful. Since this thread received such a positive response, we decided to also share it as a blog post here for posterity and in case any non-Twitter users might be interested in what it has to offer.

Below is a list of four Humanities Commons tools and resources that educators may find helpful.

1. The CORE Repository

The Syllabus Collection

There are currently over two hundred syllabi for you to peruse and download in the CORE Repository’s Syllabus Collection. Even if you can’t find a syllabus that fits your course exactly, you can always draw inspiration from the syllabi that are available. For example, you may discover a set of assessments or policies from a syllabus that could be revised for your students. Make sure to check the Creative Commons license attached to each and every syllabus you’re interested in so that you know if you can use it and, if so, how you’re allowed to use it. 

The Course Materials Collection

Besides syllabi, there are many other deposits in CORE that might be of interest to educators. Whether you’re in the process of designing an entire course or specific lessons, check out CORE’s Course Materials Collection. There you’ll find various items to use in class, from lecture notes to discussion questions to unit plans, and beyond!

Upload your own work!

Don’t forget to upload your own syllabus and course materials to CORE once they’re complete and ready to share! Not only will this help other educators, but your teaching materials will gain a readership they normally wouldn’t receive. Anything you upload also receives its own DOI, which means you could have a DOI attached to a syllabus or worksheet you’ve created if you upload them to CORE.

2. Humanities Commons Groups

Along with CORE, Humanities Commons groups can also be a valuable resource to any educator.  These groups provide digital spaces for you to chat with other educators and share or co-create teaching materials. This might look like asking for time-management or classroom discussion strategies, or you might work with other group-members to build a rubric using the “Documents” feature within your group. 

Examples of edu-focused Humanities Commons groups

The above list of edu-focused is not comprehensive. You’re sure to find even more if you search around the Humanities Commons groups pageIf you can’t find a group dedicated to what you’re looking for, feel free to create your own! 

Humanities Commons groups for your courses

You can also create a Humanities Commons group for your class. If you do this, you would simply need to ask your students to create their own Humanities Commons accounts and join the group. You can set the group’s privacy settings to public, private, or hidden. Educators have used these groups in the past as off-campus discussion spaces. If you’d like to look at an example of this, you can peek at the ENG 1302-056 group, but because it’s private, you won’t see much. 

3. Humanities Commons Sites

The last Humanities Commons tool that educators should know about is sites. As you may know, our users can build many types of sites tied to their HC profiles including, but not limited to, personal sites, blogs, project sites, and event sites. Perhaps the most relevant types of sites for educators, however, are course sites and digital anthologies.

Course sites

Course sites are great because they provide a digital space for you to place all relevant course information and materials (ie: syllabus, course reading assignments, etc.), making it easy for students to locate and access. All they need to reach this information is internet access. 

Besides building the site to be a container for vital course information, you might also consider using it as an active space for you and your students to discuss class concepts and readings. For example, you might ask students to post comments to your site’s posts as a regular assignment in which they respond to that week’s reading. Visit this class discussion on Dr. Stan Renard’s  Introduction to the Music Industry course site for an idea of what this looks like. 

Alternatively, you could choose to share ownership of your course site with your students and have them share the responsibility of publishing blog posts regularly on the site. For example, check out the posts on Dr. Amelia Chesley’s Digital Cultures course site. 

Here are some example course sites built on Humanities Commons (though there are many other excellent examples out there!): 

Digital Anthology Sites

The other type of site that may be helpful to a college educator is the digital anthology site. You can either create your own (if your readings are all public domain) or use one of the anthologies already built as an open educational resource (OER) textbook. By choosing to assign an open digital textbook as opposed to one that must be purchased, you ensure that all of your students will be able to afford the required reading. 

Humanities Commons digital anthology/textbook/resource sites (again, this is not an exhaustive list):

4. #HCTwitterConf19

Finally, you might want to check out some of the helpful presentations made during the #HCTwitterConf19, which we’ve archived over hereMany were pedagogy-focused, and since this was a Twitter conference, you can “attend” whenever you want!


Although this is the end of the list, I’m sure educators will find even more ways to use the tools Humanities Commons has to offer! Please let us know if you have any questions and feel free to share something you’ve built or used on HC for your own classes by posting a comment below. We look forward to hearing from you!