Writing as Process: Blog Posts, Writing Exercises, Peer Review, & Rough Drafts (20%)
My central learning goal for this course is to help you become better researchers and writers of History. Frequent, public written reflections on your research-in-progress are key to his endeavor. As Historian Lynn Hunt emphasizes, “writing crystallizes previously half-formulated or unformulated thoughts, gives them form, and extends chains of thoughts in new directions.” Writing is not how you communicate what you already know about History, but instead how you figure out your interpretation of the primary and secondary sources you’ve analyzed.
Throughout the semester, you will contribute short posts to our shared blog in which you reflect on your progress. You’ll also complete Wikipedia trainings to help you learn how to contribute to this important public resource. On average, you will write one or two short posts a week. These Wikipedia and blog posts are time sensitive, so all responses must be posted before our class session to give your peers and me time to read, reflect, and engage with your ideas.
Blogs provide a forum for you to engage in conversations outside of class, but this aspect is only useful when your classmates read attentively and make constructive comments. Commenting on other students’ posts is part of your class participation. You can respond to their posts, analyze related themes, or link to outside materials (with an explanation of the connection you’re making, of course). For shy students, this is a great opportunity to show engagement with larger class themes. For some additional tips on writing effective blog comments, read this.
Feedback from a wide variety of readers is an essential part of writing, but this process is only useful when reviewers read attentively and make constructive comments. You will be graded not only on your own drafts, but the quality of feedback you give your peers.
Rough Drafts & Writing Exercises
You will complete short homework assignments to help improve your command of writing mechanics, proper citations, and clear communication.
Your active participation in class activities and discussion are crucial to the success of the course. You are expected to come to class fully prepared to discuss the day’s texts; this includes bringing copies of your reading assignments so that you can support your ideas with specific examples, and your notes and questions on the material. You will be graded on the quality of your contributions to our class discussions. Simply attending class without any further involvement in our discussions will result in a participation grade of “C” or “Satisfactory.”
We will have a Map Quiz at the beginning of class on Friday, January 24.
Primary Source Essay (10%)
This short paper (500-750 words) will allow you to hone your skills as a historian analyzing your choice of primary sources from American Empire. Upload to Moodle no later than noon on Friday, February 14. LAUS Primary Source Analysis Rubric SP20
Working in small groups, you’ll facilitate discussion of one section from The Latino/a Midwest Reader during weeks
Research Project (10% Annotated Bibliography; 10% Wikipedia Article; 10% Presentation; 25% History with Documents Reader)
Your research project should demonstrate your mastery of several student learning goals set by the Department of History: developing a historical question, researching primary and secondary sources using the College of Wooster library system and online databases, creating a compelling historical narrative, and critically analyzing primary and secondary sources. It will allow you to show your appreciation of the diversities of cultures and historical experiences in the Americas.
This integrated project is also designed to emphasize how to use a range of high-quality, well-chosen sources as evidence to support an argument, whether you’re communicating your findings in a digital encyclopedia entry, a curated primary source reader, or an oral presentation.
Working over the course of the semester, you will design a research project to investigate any aspect of the history of U.S./Latin American relations or Latinx communities in the U.S. that analyzes a range of primary sources as well as addressing how this topic has been studied by other scholars.
Students taking this course for Global & International Studies history methodology credit must consult with me to ensure that their project fulfills G&IS curriculum goals.
We will break this project into multiple steps with numerous chances for revision and refinement during the course of the semester. Much of this pre-writing will be documented on your research blog and Wikipedia talk pages.
I follow the College of Wooster guidelines for grading. “A” grades reflect excellent work, “B” grades very good work, “C” grades adequate work, and “D” minimal work. Grades of “F” are reserved for work that is unsatisfactory in its content, relationship to the assignment, and/or degree of effort. Plagiarism will always result in a failing grade.
Technology assignments will be graded according to several criteria including: content (adherence to the assignment, mastery of course materials and quality of thought), form (including aesthetics/appearance) and mastery of the technology.
Keeping up with your progress: I make extensive use of the Moodle Gradebook: this gives you the ability to check your course standing at any time. I’m happy to discuss your grade with you during my office hours. Please just take the time to calculate your current standing using the grade allocation outlined below first. While the individual grades and comments in the Moodle Gradebook reflect my evaluation of your course performance to date, you cannot rely on Moodle’s calculation of your course average.
Please note that you must complete all assignments in order to pass the course.