Complexity Explorer Santa Few Institute

Foundations & Applications of Humanities Analytics (Spring 2023)

Lead instructor:

This course is no longer in session.




  • The course comprises 9 chapters and 5 guest lectures. Chapters each include approximately an hour of didactic lecture, a "test-your-knowledge" quiz and a chapter assignment. Guest lectures include about a 20-minute seminar, a Q&A-style discussion, and a "test-your-knowledge" quiz. 
  • Content units (either chapters or guest lectures) will be released one each week). 
  • All coursework is conducted in English (see SUBTITLES & TRANSCRIPTS below for more on language accessibility).


Please note: The calendar default is Santa Fe local time (GMT –7 until March 12, GMT –6 after March 12). Please check the time zone information and adjust for your location.

Having trouble seeing the calendar? Click here to access. 


  • Participants should expect to spend an average of 4 hours per week watching lectures and completing assessments. Chapter weeks will require more time in order to complete the assignment and peer reviews; guest lecture weeks will require less time given that they have no assignments.
  • The course can be completed asynchronously – to some extent. If learners would like to earn a certificate of completion (see below), they will need to complete assignments and peer-reviews by the deadlines indicated.


  • All necessary materials for the course are provided from within ComplexityExplorer. The videos are available on our YouTube channel. Other course materials such as quizzes and assignments are only available through the ComplexityExplorer course and will not be accessible after the course is finished.
  • No textbook is required.  The lectures will be complemented by suggested readings that will be provided in Supplementary Materials. 


  • From within ComplexityExplorer, you will be guided through the course in a linear path. In each chapter, you will encounter a "Chapter overview" with learning objectives and a glossary, then a lecture video, then a "test-your-knowledge" quiz and answer explanation, and finally a chapter assignment. This sequence of content is designed to guide learners gradually through concepts and self-assess their understanding along the way. With that said, learners are welcome to navigate the content in the sequence that works for them.


  • Quizzes are intended to help you assess your understanding of the material. Quizzes do not form part of the course grade. Explanations for quiz answers are provided.
  • Assignments consist of one or more essay-style questions. Assignments are peer-graded. Your score on assignments determines your score in the course and thus successful completion of the course.


  • How does the peer review system work? At the end of each chapter, there will be an assignment for which you will submit work to be reviewed by your peers. You will also be expected to review the answers submitted by your fellow course participants. A detailed grading rubric will be provided to help you grade assignments and ensure consistency among scores. Each assignment will be scored by three peer-graders. Likewise, you will be expected to grade three assignments.
  • How and what do I submit? To submit your assignment, please upload the document as a pdf. Make sure your name and any other personal information is not on your assignment.
  • Can I submit an assignment after the deadline? No. Once the deadline has passed, you will not be able to upload an assignment. In exceptional circumstances, we may be able to consider a late assignment, but this is rare. If you need to apply for such an exception, please contact the course TA at
  • In order to complete the peer review section, you need to do two things: (1) Submit your assignment before the assignment deadline; and (2) Review three assignments before the peer-review deadline. You can find the peer-review tasks by clicking on the "My Progress" tab and clicking on the assignment in the Homework/Exam column. Peer review starts after the assignment submission deadline. 
  • How do I grade assignments? Go to the peer-review section and you will be prompted to download a file with one grading task. Follow the grading rubric provided, add your comments to the comment box (required), and submit.  Once complete, you will have access to a second task, and after that, a third.  Please ensure you have completed all the reviews before the peer-review deadline in order to receive your full score. You should receive a reminder email about deadlines 24 hours before they are due.
  • Why do I still see grading tasks in the queue after completing three? You are required to submit grades for three grading tasks in order to receive full credit, but optional peer-grading tasks will be offered. This helps ensure that every submission is reviewed by at least three reviewers. You are welcome to grade as many assignments as you like, and it is greatly appreciated. You are equally welcome to stop after three.
  • How is the assignment grade determined? You will receive an average score based on the three peer-review scores. This score will count as 2/3 of the grade.  The remaining 1/3 of the grade is a fixed score, allocated automatically when you have submitted grades for the three peer-review tasks that are assigned to you.


  • How is the course graded? Your final grade will be based on the average of the end-of-chapter assignments, described above. Your quiz scores are meant for your own use and do not influence your grade or course completion (see below).


  • How can I receive a certificate of completion? You must receive an average score of 30% or more on the assignments by the course end date in order to receive a certificate of successful completion.   Note:  You do not need ≥ 30% on each assignment, only overall. The certificate will not list your score; it will simply say that you have successfully completed this course.  You will be able to print out a copy of your progress report at any time during or after the course.
  • Can I get university credit for this course? Not through Complexity Explorer or the Santa Fe Institute. If you are enrolled at a university and find the course valuable, you can make your professors aware of the course and suggest they incorporate the content into a for-credit course.
  • Will I get any kind of certificate? If you successfully complete the course, you will receive a certificate of completion from the Santa Fe Institute. This is a digital certificate; we do not offer printed certificates at this time.


  • We do not employ any technologies to assess whether participants are submitting original work in their assignments or otherwise working independently on quizzes, etc. (See also COLLABORATION below.) We hope that participants come to ComplexityExplorer courses with the primary intent to learn the material, not - or not only - to get a certificate of completion. Submitting copy-paste answers in response to an assignment prompt does not facilitate learning, and thus we hope that participants will not engage in such activities. Ultimately, it is up to each participant to decide what they want to achieve in the course and how to best accomplish their goals.


  • What are the rules on collaboration? You are welcome to discuss anything with anyone! The FAHA course forum is a platform for participants to discuss the course content, quizzes, etc. We do ask that the end-of-unit assignments be completed individually, though you are welcome to discuss the prompts and/or answers throughout the process.
  • What is FAHA course forum? The FAHA forum is a place for course participants to post questions, answer other people's questions, and discuss the course material or related topics. The FAHA forum is facilitated by the teaching assistant and Complexity Explorer staff – and occasionally the course instructors may drop in to discuss, too. You can find the forum under the "Forum" tab in the course menu toward the top of the page.


  • How much does it cost? The course is available at no cost to participants due to the generous support of the National Endowment for the Humanities (USA). Additional course production support was provided by generous donors to Complexity Explorer and the Santa Fe Institute, in service of SFI's mission to bring complexity science to a broad audience. Complexity Explorer could not exist without your donations, so thank you!


  • Who is the intended audience and what are the prerequisites? Anyone is who is interested in the general field of digital humanities and more specifically, how computational text analysis can be used to explore human culture and experience. While the course is primarily intended for scholars from a humanities perspective, it may be valuable for researchers from more quantitative fields, too. There are no prerequisites.  This course will likely be useful for students with a couple of years of undergraduate study (or equivalent) and beyond. 
  • Do I need to know how to write computer code? There is no coding required for the course. At the conclusion of the course, we will offer some resources for participants who want to learn Python and natural language processing tools.


  • Do I need special software to complete the course? No, ComplexityExplorer works on standard web browsers. The video content embedded within ComplexityExplorer is hosted on YouTube and thus may encounter firewall blocks, so download options are available (see below). 
  • How do I get the videos to play at a different rate?  Our videos are streamed through YouTube, which provides an option to control the playback rate.
  • Can I watch the videos without YouTube?  Yes, you can download all of the videos from AWS and watch them locally. (see next point)  PLEASE NOTE: This option may not be available at this time for all videos.
  • Can I download the videos? Maybe. Click on the "Download" button if it appears above the video screen within the Complexity Explorer course. The complete video collection for each unit will be made available as a bulk download on the Supplementary Materials page. PLEASE NOTE: This option may not be available at this time for all videos.


  • Are subtitles available?  YouTube AI-generated subtitles are available in English for most lectures and are reasonably accurate. Additionally, ComplexityExplorer hosts an ongoing effort to create subtitles in different languages. (You are invited to volunteer to subtitle here. We greatly appreciate the generous learners who do this.) If subtitles are available for a given video they can be accessed from the YouTube "CC" menu button.  
  • Can I download a text transcript of the video? For any video that has subtitles available, there will be a plain text transcript (in .txt format) available for download, for each subtitle language available.  When you click on Subtitles & Transcripts you will be given all of the language options available, and you can choose to download either the subtitle or the transcript, or both.  


  • Do I have to enroll to take the course?   You need to enroll in order to access the complete course materials and receive a certificate of completion at the conclusion of the course.  Enrollment is easy. We do not share your data with anyone and you are welcome to unenroll from the course at any time (see below).
  • How do I enroll?  Click the “Enroll” button in the upper right section of the course homepage (immediately below the "Home", "About", "Explore", etc. menu). You will be guided through the short enrollment process. Course content will not be available until the course starts on September 1.
  • How do I unenroll? If you decide that you would like to unenroll for whatever reason, this option is available through the text button labeled "Unenroll" in the upper right section of the course homepage (immediately below the "Home", "About", "Explore", etc. menu).
  • Can I enroll after the course begins? To receive a grade and a certificate, you must enroll before the first assignment is due. 
  • I don't want to take the course for a certificate and I don't care about exams. Can I access the content without enrolling? Yes, you can find all of the course lectures on our YouTube channel, under the "Foundations & Applications of Humanities Analytics" playlist.


  • In what ways am I allowed to use these resources?  All the materials on this site are available for your use for any non-commercial purpose. All materials (videos, code, write-ups, etc.) are covered by the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License ( ). This states that you may copy, distribute, and transmit the work under the condition that you give attribution to, and your use is for non-commercial purposes.


  • Please let us know! Contact for any sort of technical issues that you encounter during the course. The ComplexityExplorer team does its best to transfer the wonderful content delivered by our instructors onto the course platform with high fidelity, but inevitably, things occasionally go wrong. Sorry!