World History 1101, Spring 2017

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Consider this page your digital classroom. I'll post vital information for the course here. The latest news will be at the top.

Welcome. Read this first

2017_05_11 What I'm grading right now can by found on my blog http://jacknorton.org

Please read the following before viewing your grades or emailing.

  1. Final grades are due by faculty on May 16th at noon to the Registrar. I will submit your grades sometime before that.
  2. I will soon switch D2L from showing blanks in the gradebook as null values (not calculated) to registering those as zeros. I do this after I've complete the major grading (see above).
  3. Data errors (as in, "I submitted that assignment and can see it in the Assignment Submission folder, how come there's no grade?") are easy to fix and I welcome your emails.
  4. Technical errors (as in, "I know I submitted that to the Submission folder, but it's not there now") will involve a longer discussion that goes beyond when grades are due. I have never had a technical error reveal a failure of D2L that resulted in a grade change.
  5. Your class citizenship grades are based on your participation in discussions and respectful behavior towards other students.
  6. I am willing to discuss individual assignments, but not the final course grade. Please consider your communication carefully when asking for regrading.
  7. My grading scale is a standard 60-69 = D, 70-79 = C, 80-89 = B, and 90-100 = A. D2L will only allow me to round at .51, so that's what I will. 89.51 is an A, 89.50 is a B.
  8. I own all the grades (it's a weird college thing) so I can change your grade anytime. That is to say, please do not call in the middle of the night fearing a grade will be permanently on your record. Once grades are in I must fill out a form to change it, and I can change it 5 minutes, 5 weeks, or 5 years after it's been submitted.
  9. Grades are a measure of your performance on a set number of tasks over the course of four months. Grades are not a measure of intelligence, ability, or my afinity for you. Grades reflect what you turned in, and only that.
  10. Thank you for a wonderful semester. I will continue responding to emails, I just wanted to get this grade post up before the weekend.

2017_05_10 If you would, please include your names on your exhibits. It makes grading much easier. I won't deduct points if your name isn't there, but I can spend more time looking at the exhibit if I don't have to first look in the items for your name. Thank you!

2017_05_09 Peer Reviews Graded A good batch of reviews with plenty of actionable feedback. There was a smattering of reviews that didn't answer all the questions or answered part 2 with minimal words, but on the whole the reviews were robust and honored the intelligence and efforts of both author and reviewer.

Mea culpa: There's a spelling error in the rubric for the assignment. You'll see it. I missed the error until I'd graded half the class, and D2L won't let me edit out the spelling error without regrading all the assignments. So, I'm just going to own the error here: developing, not develping.

2017_05_08 Class citizenship grade

One of your last grades in the course is called "Class Citizenship." I assign this grade based on my evaluation of your actions in our course. In public, a good citizen is courteous to others, contributes to community efforts, and shows up for community events. In our course, a good citizen treats others in the course with respect, participates fully in our discussions, and turns in work that honors her/his own intelligence. So, I reflect on your discussions, your treatment of others, your attendance in person and in assignments, and I then assign a grade. Overall it's a small grade, yet it allows me to give credit to those who do the hard work of citizenship.

2017_05_05 The Survey of Instruction (sometimes called the student evaluation of the course) is avaialable now under quizzes on D2L. It is available until next Friday at 8 p.m.

2017_05_02 I've graded the Conversations 2 assignment. There are a high number of students who did not post to our group blog (https://historyatnormandale.wordpress.com/) . I suspect there is an explanation for this. Please email me if you posted but I didn't see your post. Including the URL in your email is useful. Please do not post to the common question board on D2L as I can't respond to grading issues publicly.
Keep up the good work on your project planning. Lots of work to do and lots of potential for great exhibits.

2017_05_01 I've graded and responded to all of the exhibit outlines. This is one assignment that can't wait a week for my response.

The overwhelming need of 95% of students is to refine their theses into something smaller and non-obvious. Starting big and working smaller is generally how the writing process flows. So, I encourage most of you to distill what you have down to a single aspect of your topic. Instead of arguing for the importance of the Black Death (a popular topic), argue for the imporance of understanding one little part of the Black Death. Two outlines stood out, so I'll hold those up as models. Patti and Ivy have strong outlines. What makes them strong are tightly defined topics, periods, and geographies, along with tight alignment between the sources and the theses.

Note Most students grades are high for this assignment. I set up the rubric to encourage you to complete an outline, not to penalize you if your outline isn't perfect. That said, because you have an A on this assignment means your writing process is sound, not that your finished product is assured success. Please take any comments I've written and your peer reviewers comments seriously as you refine.

I've reopened the week 15 discussion board. Anyone who didn't get their assignment in last week but wants to participate in the peer reviews now can.

2017_04_26 I’ve been fielding emails and discussion board questions over the past week, and am pleased to see students working hard to find good topics, sound thesis, and useful sources. A question I get at the end of the semester (and have for many years, regardless of textbook, essay, or exam) is: why is putting together the final project so hard?

Every writer answers this question in their own way. From my perspective, there are two big issues. One, original, critical thought that results in an intellectual interesting project is hard. There are stops and starts, pauses for clarifications, frustrations. That is all part of the writing and creating process. Very little worth doing is easy. See also love, marriage, careers, service to others, parenting, playing music or sports.

My second thought, and this is distinctive to the last two years of my courses, is that digital history requires mastering three areas: the content (knowledge about the past), the digital tools (how to use websites, databases), and historical argumentation (how to read, criticize, and create historical arguments). An average Minnesotan may think history is just dates, people, and places. As you’ve seen, history is much more. We have to find and interrogate sources, often with digital tools. Those same tools are used across the work world.

When it comes to the digital, people often believe they are wizards and witches—capable of conjuring the right combination to produce fantastic results— or complete dunces-- convinced that computers hate them. My experience is that students display uneven expertise with digital materials, great with some tools and skills, challenged with others. Certainly this current generation of students must learn to navigate a greater number of tools and skills than previous generations did. You may be feeling frustrations your parents did not because the work you have to do is harder. (And yes, you can send you folks to me and I'll argue that to them face-to-face:)

And there’s the rub: at the end of the semester, having done so much work, you are being asked to do one more thing that demonstrates you know about the past, how to use tools, and how to argue a point. In contrast, AP history courses the country over spend the last week’s reviewing just content, and how to create an essay that will earn a 5 on the AP exam. As those of you in the workforce know, no one is going to pay you to write an essay comparing and contrasting the economic blah, blah, blah of country X, Y, and Z. You’re ability to find credible information, analyze it, and present it will define your career, not your ability to recite the dates of the Muslim invasion of India or the fall of the Aztecs.

I’m proud of the work you have done and are doing, and I want to keep hearing your constructive questions. Several students have asked why I teach history as I do, and that’s a different post. I will write this: I teach on the open web. Every typo, every failure, the good, the bad, even this post, is public. I do that for reasons I’ll tell you about later. That said, I do not take my willingness to share my materials or to acknowledge needs for clarification or outright failures as weakness. Being open to criticism (within reason) is a sign of respect to those I teach, not an indication I am doing something wrong.

See you on the discussion boards!
2017_04_25 I've updated the Exhibits assignment to reflect the appropriate due dates. On the advice of a student, I also applied the same formatting to the exhibit as you've had for rest of your assignments. So, you'll note the stylish font and off-white background are gone, but that should allow easier printing for all.

Don't heistate to hit up the message board with questions. If you have the question, likely someone else does too!

2017_04_17 The invitations to our common blog for this week are sent. My apologies to Thurman and Patti for a bit of shortness last Friday when they posted to D2L asking for the invitations. My World Civ 2 class did blog entries did a version of this assignment last week and a number of students didn't start the assignment until 4 pm on Friday, and then bombed my email with requests. So, I was stressed, trying to balance responsiveness with guidance for what is responsible teaching.

This week you'll build on last week's work. Please note: our blog is open to the world and increasingly visited by other colllege history courses. Doing good work isn't just important for this course, it's important because it represents the best of you to the world, especially for this assignment.

Good luck!

2017_04_07 Numbers 1 is graded. A number of students did not answer all the questions, especially the initital ones on averages or explaining wheat price stabilty. Not sure if folks didn't read and jumped to the bottom of the assignment. A gentle reminder: read the whole assignment.

On the question of mortality in a hypothetical village, the correct answer was no, you did not need to worry. You could draw this conclusion in a couple of ways. Some students noted the mode of 1, which dragged the mean down. In a more sophisticated analysis, some noted that by surviving to 34, the ages of people to that age no longer mattered. So, to get your possible life span, you’d average all of the remaining mortality ages (above 35). One student correctly identified the stark difference between the median and the mean (18 and 35.) as an indicator of the mean’s value.

On the questions of price stability, recall that Englad is an island. That limits both the number of people that can live on the land and the amount of grain that can be produced. Yes, they could import food, but that is expensive. Instead, if population and calories are about the same, then there's little reason for big price swings. There were other answers, though the strongest ones looked at geography and demography rather than politics.

2017_04_05 How to answer questions 9 and 10 on this week's assignment (Numbers 2). Several students emailed some versin of "where do I find information that will allow me to answer questions 9 and 10 on the Numbers 2 sheet? Most of your readings have been from Normandale Library databases, such as the Gale Virtual Reference Library. Your task is to go to one these databases, find an article on the country you chose for question 9, and find information that could explain the change in per capita GDP. That change might have been caused by political changes, trade developments, social or cultural developments, demographic developments. . . etc. You don't have to find a perfect explanation for why your country's per capita GDP changed, just one possible change.

For question 10, you can stay in the same database, or use another, such as JSTOR or Project Muse. You can search for "%" or "percent" and then write why you believe it to be an absolute or relative percentage. They key is that your website, whether an article from one of our databases or from the web, needs to be credible. It must be a credible publication, published by a credible institution, with a credible author who publishes all of her/his ssources (PISA credible).

In keeping with my grading promise after the midterm, it took me 11 days to grade Words 2, or one day beyond my deadline. So I have curved the scores the promised 2%. Sorry for missing the deadline.

2017_04_03 I am away from Normandale and won't be able to hold office hours today. I will respond to emails as usual.

2017_02_25 Words 1 graded. A fascinating batch of websites and analysis. A couple of the best from our class: students who explicitly used their background knowledge in conjuction with Voyant offered some of the best explanations for what Voyant is and is not useful for in history. Several students wrote of the frustration of finding appropriate stop words, which demonstrated a strong understanding of the tool. Finally, almost all student noted that just seeing words doesn't mean those words are positive or negative. For example the name of a politician as the top word can't tell you the argument of the article, only the importanc of the subject.

Looking forward to reading your Word 2 assignments.

2017_03_22 With apologies, my office hours are cancelled today as I am home with a sick kid. I am on email and encourage you to contact me with any questions.

2017_03_20 A note on the religion discussion: I appreciated the variety of analyses and respect students brought to last week's discussion. I saw two hanging issues that I should addresss. One, there was a back and forth over slavery in the Bible. Slavery was an integral part of all Biblical society, from the ancient Jews of Egypt to when the books of the New Tetament were written, ending around 110 CE. Most people in Biblical times did not question the morality of slavery as a system, but did question if certain people should be slaves. As historians, we tend to focus on what the author of particular texts thought of slavery at a particular historical point. So, to the particulars of last week's discussion, as historians we don't conclude that Bible is "for" or "against" slavery, rather, we note how historical figures reflected ideas of slavery.

Two, there was a small number of comments that amounted to assertions of opinion without reference back to the sources. For example, if I wrote "I believe all these religious works think love is important because love is all we've got and it binds the world together." That could be, but it doesn't engage with the past, which is what our discussions need to do. Thus, I reaffirm the need to focus on the material in the readings as lawyers, paying attention to how the sources give us evidence about what happened when, and by whom.

2017_03_20 Last Friday a number of studests experienced difificulties with the Voyant tool. In recognition of those difficulties, I will accepted the Words I assignment for full credit until Wednesday. You may revise your assignment if you wish as well.

Several students vented their frustrations either on the general discussion board or over email about Voyant. I would ask you to consider the following as you plan using Voyant for this week's assignment. Voyant is both an internet site and software you can download link for Voyant software . Like highways, the internet and specific sites can be overwhelmed with traffic. Voyant is by far the easiest distant reading tool available and it would be irresponsible of me to let you finish a history course in 2017 without including some distant reading. You can argue, and several have, that I should have warned you to leave more time, akin to "their's a Vikings game this weekend so don't assume that your usual 15 minute trip will be the same." That's fair. Still, if you look at the discussion board, I was responding in less than an hour to issues raised on the last day the assignment was due. I've emailed Target after 5 pm on a Friday and had to wait until Monday for a response. For those who feel I was unresponsive please consider what is realistic in terms of help.

To facilitate your use of Voyant this week, you may wish to download the software. It runs on Mac, Windows and Unix, and it requires Java and uses around 200mb. One of the course design principles I use is that students shouldn't have to install software, but this may be an exception to that principle. You may also wish to run your analysis during the week, rather than on Friday, so that the Voyant servers aren't clogged with traffic.

A couple of pointers for this week: Voyant reads most but not all websites. If you chose a multi-media website with lots of video or mutlimedia, Voyant can generate errors. This is why I encouraged folks to find websites with lots of words. Voyant reads words. See this link for the formats Voyant can read.. Voyant can read the website, but it also reads copied words. You can copy and paste words directly into the tool. When I linked to two text documents last week in the discussion board, it was to provide the simplest way to upload documents. Inputting text directly means that Voyant doesn't have to fetch a website, just read what you've input.

For your analysis this week, you can try to put all three sources into Voyant at the same time, or you can put them in separately: either will allow you to complete the assignment.

As you experience challenges, small or big, please let me know. I get instant notifications from our General Discussion board, so that I can respond in a timely manner.

For the few students who saw Voyant and wanted to learn more about visualizing data (linguistic and other ways) in big ways, you may wish to consider the free data tool Gephi . It is the industry standard for much historical analysis of texts, but far too complex for our course. Still, you're a geek (as I am) have at it.

2017_03_10 So, I took Spring Break to catch up with grading. From here until the end of the semester, I'll grade your big assignments in 10 days or fewer. For every day beyond 10, I'll curve the score 2%. I do this both as self-motivation, but also so that you know you'll be getting regular and consistant feedback as we get closer to the end of the semester. As a reminder, a "0" means I can't see your assignment, not that I thought your submitted work was worth a "0."

On a personal note, one disadvantage of online education is that you can't see me and I can't see you. If you're having a particularly hard time, I don't see it in your face. Likewise, in this, arguably the hardest semester I've had didn't include the birth of a child, I am struggling. By my count, my household has had 7 separate head colds, two cases of norovirus, and one case of the flu- in two months. I got most of the illnesses, save the norovirus and flue, but couldn't take more than a day away. I look forward to a less ill and more robust second half of our semester. 🙂

2017_03_08 A brief note on discussions (check back later this week for a longer post on the rest of the semester). Overall discussions are going well. Most students offer sound analysis, citing historical sources and respond to others fully and respectfully. There are a couple of great posts practices I'd like to hightlight:

  • Many students start with an idea/opinion, tie that idea to the readings, and then draw a conclusion. This process generally takes at least 4 sentences, meaning readers get a strong understanding of what the writer is thinking.
  • Likewise, finishing a post with a call out to another student or a question that is open ended and historically specific is useful. For example "I found the evolving notions of property ownership in country X to show how property was tied to gender and class. Are there other ideas that are tied up gender and class the way property rights are?"
  • Posting each post individually. By posting each of your posts as a separate post, you enable students to respond to one idea. Much like someone asking you four questions, posting too much in one entry can exhaust the reader.
  • Posting once early in the week, checking in midweek, and then conclusing on Friday yields the best conversations. Jumping in Friday and dropping three post in 20 minutes generally yields, well, less-than-well-considered entries.

2017_03_02 My apologies for my limited presences on the discussion boards this week. My wife was sick in bed last weekend through Monday, and no sooner did she return to health, but my son came down with norovirus. So, I'm awash in bleach and pepto-bismal.

On a more pleasant note, next week is Spring break. So, your quiz will not be this weekend, but in a week. I hope to take the week to return my family to health and catch up on all my grading.

Stay healthy friends.

2017_02_21 Time II is graded. Technically, students continue to demonstrate mastery of our digital tools. Finding PISA credible sources was more challenging. At least five students chose the following websites: https://www.theosophical.org/, history.com, and brittanica.com. Most of the work on these sites do not have credible sources (which must be cited) or authors. If there is not a credible publication, institution, source, and author for a site, it's not credible for our course. Websites might not be giving ALL non-credible information to give some non-credible information. Your ability to find credible information will define your career. The PISA test is designed to help you both in this class and for sorting info in any course or job. You may note there's a good bit of discussion of fake news today: the PISA test is good for sorting through that too.

2017_02_08 Gettings your attention: a significant number of students still have not done the plagiarism assignment. If I don't have an email from the site or from you indicating you've completed the quiz, you now have a "0." If you don't want a zero, please do the tutorial. If you've done the tutorial and have a zero, send me the email the site sent you indicating your score. This is the last notice I will post on this assignment. You can still get full credit, and I want to give it to you, but I need evidence you've done the tutorial.

2017_02_08 Time 1 is graded. Uniformly strong assignments from a technology point of view. For the historical signifigance and "what I want to learn" parts of the assignment, students tended to offer large and vague ideas. For example (which no one used) "I want to learn about the past, and what happened." That's fine, but I'm looking for evidence you have engaged the material and are reflecting on it in a signifigant way. Better examples focussed on specific ideas, such "I wanted to learn how the transfer of power happened in ancient Egypt" or "I wanted to learn this one skill in this GIS map." In general, sharing details and specific examples help everyone understand exactly what you are thinking. Rather than "I liked the movie" consider "I found the casting of Myley Cyrus as Cleopatra to be distracting: she lacks the gravitas necessaryt to rule a nation."

A note on support: we are in the midst of a great series of conversations about the state of our nation and world such as I have not witnessed in my short life. I encourage you to engage with these conversations in a respectful and productive way, whether in the public sphere or privately. As a community college faculty, I teach students from around the corner and around the world, and I'm hearing a good bit of fear and uncertainty from my students. I'm here to support you and connect you with others who can support you in academics, career planning, navigating various benefit organizations (such as for veterans or immigratnts) or mental health.

2017_02_01 My apologies, but I will not be at school or able to answer emails until tonight. I'm sick, my daughter is sick, and our nanny is sick and out. I will answer emails and discussion board questions tonight once the household has gone to bed.

2017_01_31 I graded the plagiarism tutorials of those who submitted them. If you haven't completed the tutorial, or completed it and didn't include my email, please go here. Completing any of the quizzes (and including my email) gets you full credit.

On the discussions, please atttend to the total posts required. I list the total number of posts you need to get full credit right up top and then give prompts. I'm not always going to script the whole discussion, so I might ask for a specific 1st post but your remaining posts are your own, to respond to others or second your own thoughts.

One last logistitcal note, there is an assignment submission folder with a date for every week. I put those folders there for three reasons. One, so students can see an exact time and date for all assignments. Two, as a place to submit some but not all assignments. Three, as a backup place to submit assignments. D2L date stamps everything, so if you submit something before the due date, I can see that it's on time. You might not get credit for correctly doing the assignment (Omeka assignments for example only require you save your work) but I can at least see what you've done when you've done. I think of it as a safety mechanism for assignments.

2017_01_30I'm a bit behind in grading, mostly as my kids keep getting sick- nothing dramatic - but dads don't get days off. I hope to catch up tomorrow. For your information, I changed the art work link in week 5 discussion 2. It previously had a picture of George Washington and I found something more chronologically suitable.

I have been honored to get to know many students during my time at Normandale, including many students from Somali families (more than half our students of color at Normandale are from Somali families). If you are Somalian or from one of the other countries affected by the recent presidential executive order and would like to talk, I am here. I can just listen or connect you with support services. For the record, Normandale and MN State do not discriminate on the basis of religion or national origin. Whatever else is going on in the world, in my courses, the most important identity is student.

2017_01_25 Get to know you graded. If you filled out the get-to-know you form, you got full credit. If you haven't filled out the form, please do so now, here. Thank you. I've used this form already to include your preferred names in Omeka.

2017_01_24 If you haven't, please upload a picture to D2L (click on arrow by your name in the upper right corner and select profile."

Discussions
I've graded discussions for weeks 1 and 2. You'll note that each week is worth 3 points. Guidance on how I grade is below. Those who write exceptional posts (and there are many) receive a 3.1 out of 3.

Please respond to the first thread (whoever writes first) of the discussoin. Creating your own thread breaks up the conversation into silos, and I'm hoping for more big-tent conversatons.

The first line of the post prompt will always include how many times you must post to receive full credit. Please try to make our first post before Wednesday night at 8 p.m. to allow for a full discussion. Three posts in a row at 7:50 Friday night is a monologue, and doesn't help your fellow students.

A "post" is a single entry in the discussion board. Two posts will require two separate entries. For everything in this class, doing the minimum earns a passing grade (a C). Discussion posts will be graded 1, 2, or 3.

A 3 indicates a well-considered post, written in complete sentences. It should reference both the weekly reading or image, as well as relate to other posts. A 3 entry will use opinion backed with evidence to analyze or respond to someone else's post. All posts should contain a minimum of four, well-considered and articulate sentences.

A 2 post has a strong point, but may not use the evidence or refer to other's ideas. A 2 post may also be too short (a couple sentences) or too long (many rambling paragraphs) and lack a clear point. It may have a couple errors of usage (a single capitilzation or spelling error) but not many.

A 1 post makes not a great deal of sense, but relates marginally to the topic at hand. It does not reference a specific source nor other's posts. Quick "I think this is cool" or "what Fatima said" posts will typically earn a 1. As well, dropping in multiple posts right before the Friday deadline at 8 p.m. will earn a 1 as these are not contributing to a conversation, but merely offering short monologues for points.

Not posting earns a 0. I'll grade as quickly as possible. Discussions will run from Monday until Friday night at 8 p.m. I'll try to post subjects as early as possible even if the discussion board isn't open yet.

Spell check your posts. It's the little abc button in the bottom right. See it? Repeated failure to spellcheck or use of text language will earn lower discussion grades. You deserve a capital "I" not an "i."

Most discussion posts will ask you to make an argument about a subject. An argument is an opinion based on evidence. This evidence comes from both primary and secondary sources, but also from your existing knowledge. For example, when arguing over the justice or injustice of a subject, you have an existing comparative model: modern U.S. and MN laws. Everything can't be related to the present, but we don't exist in vacuum. My best advice for useful and interesting discussion posts is: a. have confidence in yourself and your arguments. And b., be as clear as possible in your logic and your language. Historians are lawyers of the past: evidence and good judgment are our guides.

I participate in the discussions in different ways. Some weeks I chime in regularly, particularly with controversial subjects. Some weeks I'll just ask questions to help move the discussion. Some weeks I just assess and send private messages of encouragement to students.

Example Student often ask "What does a good post look like?" Patti's first two posts from week 2 and strong and Thurman cites as I would hope all students would.

A note on religion: someone asked why I didn't jump up and down on students who mentioned the creationist story of human origins. In short, religious belief is about whether a message is true. Historians are more interested in how a message got organized, how the message was shaped by its times, and how that message changed over time. Historians (and anthropologists, and biologists, etc. . . ) must demonstrate our hypothesis with evidence. The defining feature of many religious beliefs is their inability to be demonstrated by evidence. That doesn't make the belief less important, it's just outside the scope of the study. Put another way, I don't worry about the key of B flat when cooking dinner.

If you are interested in relgion, you should know we offer a religious studies certificate here at Normandale.

2017_01_22 You all should have received at least one invitation from Omeka now to your Normandale email. Your username is your starid. Once you enter that, it should prompt you to create a password. Should you ever lose your password, if you click on "Lost your passord?" and it will send your password and username to your Normandale email. Our omeka site is at http://jacknorton.org/1101-spring-2017/admin/users/login .

2017_01_19 Our nanny is out today so I need to be dad for most of the business day. That means no office hours today. I will respond to emails and participate in the discussions tonight.

2017_01_17 One of your fellow students asked for guidance on how to email me. Here is a list of email guidelines. I've adapted it from a longer list of email guidelines created for the University of Minnesota. Good start to the discussions this week.

On D2L's gradebook: it will automatically drop you two lowest quiz and discussion scores. I set the gradebook to show "0s" so it would drop those and students could see their actual grades. That caused confusion. I've switched the setting to treat all ungraded items as blanks. You won't be able to see your scores, but you won't have "0s"for all your grades. There's no good way to do it, so I'm rethinking how to help students understand the issue.

2017_01_16 A note on grading and D2L. The D2L gradebook is how I record your grades. I do this mostly with rubrics, which are grading score sheets with a range options, much like a survey (How well did you like your recent latte at Starbucks, 1 = Yuck, 5 = Dreamy). Only our rubrics will focus on you learning (Student demonstrated an understanding of the role of religion in Ming Dynasty (1 = Still working on it, 5 = Totally nailed it).

The gradebook in D2L has a tons of settings and features and I've dealt with 97% of them before. That said, there are going to be times that the gradebook doesn't reflect your grade perfectly. For example, when I grade an assignment, I may have time to only grade half a class, or half and assignment. If you check in at a moment when I'm only 1/2 done with something, it's going to look wrong. My pledge to you is to keep the gradebook up to date. What I need from you is a good faith effort to recognize that the gradebook is a dynamic document, not always-perfect reflection of all-things related to our class grades. It is both a spreadsheet for me, and the checking-in place for you, and there are times when need to work in the spreadsheet, which compromises the checking-in nature of the tool for you.

It's better that you can check your grades, rather than you and me keeping grades separately and comparing during the semester. That said, please note the dual nature of the gradebook (grading tool for me and grade displaying tool for you) makes it complicated.

2017_01_10 Video intro to our course

2017_01_05 Your quizzes, which opens Thursday and closes Sunday is for the reading for the week to follow. Thus, I quiz you on your reading for the week ahead, not the week we just finished. Why? I want our conversations and work to be informed by the evidence. If I quiz at the end of the week, some students won't read until just before the quiz, making our discussions, well, less-than-useful. So, week two's reading is that which I will grade on for the quiz that closes Sunday. Make sense?

For online students, there's a separate discussion board for questions, and I receive instant messages when a question comes in to D2L on that boad.

Oh, and the date is in the year.month.day format. It's called the ISO 8601 standard. I use it because you can't mess it up (month first, year first, is this paper I'm reading written by a Candadian?) and it corresponds with how most digital history tools that we'll use measure dates. Should you wish, you can add hours, minutes, seconds and miliseconds. 2016.08.23.20.45.23.12 is the 23rd of August, 2016 at 8:45 PM 23 seconds, 12 miliseconds past the minute.

2017_01_05 Welcome to our World History 1 (HIST 1101) Course page. All the "stuff" of our class is here. We'll use D2L to submit assignments, discuss, and view grades.