Textbook: Jerry Bentley, Traditions & Encounters: A Global Perspective on the Past, Volume 2: From 1500 to the Present. New York: McGraw Hill, 2003.
Additional reading: Elie Wiesel, Night.
Course objectives: This course is intended to enhance student performance in four areas: 1) Critical thinking. To think critically will require approaching historical topics from more than one viewpoint. To think critically is to question accepted premises & to investigate the ostensible inevitability of historical events. 2) Knowledge of historical arguments. The student should understand that Historical Knowledge is not merely familiarity with the past(s), but with the arguments that have been made about past events to, not the past itself. It is these arguments that students have access to, not the past itself. 3) Proficiency in oral presentations. The ability to communicate is crucial to students’ success. This course will require practice at this invaluable skill. 4) Information literacy. The student will be required to integrate information from lectures, texts, films, maps, & other sources in order to develop useful generalizations of their own. All of these course goals will increase student confidence & enhance skills applicable to all college courses and, indeed, life itself.
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Instructions, Expectations, and Grading Scale
Expectations & standards: Grades are based on student performance. Grades are earned & not given. To receive a higher grade, a student must demonstrate proficiency in the material. For different students, gaining that proficiency requires different levels of work, because not all students have the same aptitude for history. An “A” student will display superior performance in course work. A “B” student will display above average performance in course work. A “C” student will display average performance in course work. A “D” student will exhibit minimum requirements for the course. An “F” student will not meet the requirements of the course.
Two exams: Each exam will count a possible 200 points. These exams are not cumulative. Each will be comprised of a combination of short answer and true/false. Students will have to think critically to succeed on these exams. Lecture topics should be approached with the following criteria: how do I characterize this topic? What is this topic’s historical significance? And what is this topic’s historical context? These multiple perspectives will be explained in detail. The purpose of this testing method is to encourage students to think critically about course materials instead of merely memorizing & regurgitating ostensible facts at test time.
D: 600 – 699 F: 599 or less
Assignments & Exams:
Map quizzes: 200 pts (4 quizzes x 50 pts)
Oral presentation: 100 pts
Exams: 400 pts (2 exams x 200 points)
Reflection & Participation: 200 pts
Prospectus/Annotated Bibliography: 100 pts