School of History

Dr Chris Sparks

Chris

E-Strategy and Taught Programmes Operations Manager

Email: c.sparks@qmul.ac.uk
Telephone: +44 (0)20 7882 6019
Room Number: Arts Two, 4.14

Profile

I develop, plan for and support the use of computing in all areas of the School’s work. I have professional experience of web design, database design and administration, and web application authoring, and I have a broad interest in computing and technology.  I hold a PhD in History, and have published on my research into the social history of heresy in the Middle Ages.

My role as E-Strategy Manger in the School covers three areas:

Digital Humanities Research

I work on a range of Digital Humanities projects as a collaborator and adviser.  Most recently I produced the Artists in Paris website with Dr Hannah Williams, which launched in 2018.  I am currently working on a range of DH projects, and also undertake consultancy work in this area.

I am a co-organiser of a Hands:On, a Digital Skills Training Network run in collaboration with Cambridge University Library.  Our 2018 Hackathon was featured in Cambridge University Library’s Annual Report for 2017-18, and I wrote a post about it on the School’s blog.

I have been a co-organiser of Queen Mary's Digital Humanities seminar series and have been on the organising committee of both QMUL's Digital Initiatives Network and the EU-funded Digital Editing of Medieval Manuscripts international training programme.

I advise colleagues on the benefits of using technology in their research, and can provide assistance during the grant-writing process. I also provide advice on resource requirements, and offer practical support once projects have been set up.

I manage the School’s network of research sites and can assist colleagues in setting up a new project site.

E-Learning

I am responsible for overseeing the use and development of learning technology in the School.  I work closely with the School’s Senior Leadership Team to develop and promote e-learning, and develop and deliver training sessions for colleagues who teach.

I also support individual academics in the use of digital teaching resources, in particular, by working to develop innovative and engaging ways to involve students in research-led teaching.  This encompasses use of the institutional Moodle VLE, also includes initiatives like the use of blogging as an assessment method, for which I co-wrote the School’s assessment criteria.  I was a co-creator of the School’s Writing Matters blog.

E-Strategy & Taught Programmes Management

I am responsible for planning and developing the use of technology in the School and administering its digital platforms.

I am systems administrator and web developer, and designer for a range of School sites, including the departmental blog, the Centre for the History of the Emotions website, the Living with Feeling project website, the Centre for the History of Political Thought website.  I also manage a network of departmental blogs on WordPress.  Colleagues who are interested in a professional blog or project website should get in touch.  I have worked as a WordPress developer.

I am responsible for planning and developing the School’s management of taught programmes, to ensure that the School provides efficient administration of the processes that support its core work of teaching and research.  This includes oversight of a broad range of records management, administration and marketing, and management of the Undergraduate Programmes team.

I have also developed E-Clio, a bespoke web-based Learning Analytics platform and Student Engagment monitoring system which is used in the School to support teaching administration and by Academic Advisers in their pastoral and academic support roles.

Teaching

I have expert knowledge of a range of methodologies and technologies, and I create and run training and awareness sessions in Digital Humanities for staff and students at all levels.  I have run sessions on Digital Mapping, App Design and Development, Digital Editing, Web technologies (for UEA), and Bibliographic Management.

For 2019-20 I am co-creating a new Digital History course for undergraduate historians with Dr Dan Todman.

Undergraduate Teaching

Research

Publications

I am a historian of religion in the Middle Ages.  My Ph.D., awarded in 2009, in the Department of History and the Centre for Medieval Studies.  My first monograph, developed from this research, was published in 2014 to favourable reviews:

Inquisition, Heresy and Life Cycle in Medieval Languedoc  (York: Boydell, 2014)