World History 1102, Fall 2018

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2018-12-12 See the note on my home page

2018-12-14 Credible sources: Many of the sources for your final exhibits are credible, but there was a disturbing number of non-credible sources in the Conversations 1 assignment. To review, a credible source for history needs a named author, who is an expert in the subject, and named sources- as a minimum. Without those, it’s highly unlikely a source will be credible. A couple of other notes:
– Businesses, cities, or religious organizations promoting themselves are not credible unless we are studying the organizations themselves. A coal company is unlikely to discuss the long history of mine disasters and environmental damages on their own website.
– Websites for children, or by children – including high school – are not credible. The K-12 world avoids certain adult topics, such as violence and sexuality. We can’t get a full picture of the past if we use sources that are denuded of relevant historical details. One Industrial Revolution site was used many times, and it’s designed for kids.
– A “site” is short for “website.” To “cite” is to give appropriate credit to a source. “Credible” means we can believe in the trustworthiness of something. “Creditable” means “deserving public acknowledgment and praise but not necessarily outstanding or successful” (Apple Dictionary). In history, we have credible sources. Autocorrect is sometimes not our friend.

2018-12-11 Exhibit Outlines Reviewed: I’ve given feedback for your outlines. If you did as I asked, you got full credit, even if your thesis was too broad (95% were) or some your sources were not credible (30% weren’t). More students will benefit from a tighter thesis that only addresses one aspect of the past, not a broad theme. Also, many students are using sources from the open web: you have credible sources available through our library at this link to a research launch page.

2018-12-10 Final Exhibit Instructions Posted You’ll find additional guidance on structuring your exhibit on WordPress.

2018-11-28 Colonialism Discussion A quick note to complement the class on a strong colonialism discussion. The use of evidence was excellence as was the attention to the nuanced way in which colonial power operated and was resisted. Well done.

2018-11-28 Numbers 1 Graded Overall a strong assignment. A couple of students did not answer all the questions, or answered them in fragments, yet most responded accurately and robustly. The one answer that was missed 1/2 the time was the question about being worried of dying at 34. As many noted, the average age of ~35 was only due to the high number of 1 year old births (an accurate demographic trend until the 19th century). If you remove those deaths and average only those older than 34, you chance of death in the coming year is much, much lower.

2018-10-20 Grades I’m slowly getting caught up on grading. Words 1 and 2 have rubrics to explain the grades. Time 1 was just questions with one point a questions. If you under-answered a question, I wrote which question I thought needed more detail in the comments. Time 2 was complicated to produce and there were some technical difficulties, so I’m exercising my perogative to grade that credit/no credit- which is all to your benefit. On the whole, assignments thus far have been well-written and with strong use of evidence. Keep it up.

2018-10-2 Discussion date foul-up I misdated the discussion Forums for this week. Thanks to two students who brought this to my attention. It has been fixed. I’ve extended the date for the discussion one day to allow a full five days of discussion. The time and date for the weekly assignment is unchanged. See you on the discussion boards.

2018-09-28 Discussion Grades Discussion grades are up to date as of today. I’m still catching up on your assignments. Please review the grading guidance on what makes a good post if you have questions. 90% of the posts are strong, with only a few lacking specific references to sources or orther discussants. Remember that you lowest two discussion grades are automatically dropped from your final grade calculation.

2018-09-19 Grades I’m catching up on grading this week. The grade book may get moved around, but what assignments are worth won’t change from the syllabus. A number of students haven’t filled out the “Get to Know Your Form.” If you don’t have credit for it, please fill it out here

2018-09-16 Making our discussions better

I’m grading discussions for weeks 1, 2, &3. You’ll note that each week is worth 3 points. Guidance on how I grade is below. Because I haven’t given guidance on how I grade in great detail, I’m grading “lightly” the first three weeks.

Those who write exceptional posts or post their first post by Tuesday night (and there are many) may receive a 3.1 out of 3.

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

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 (specifically), as well as relate to other posts. A 3 entry will uses evidence to advance opinion in order 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, 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 others’ 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 (rarely) I just assess and send private messages of encouragement to students.


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. You guys are doing a great job of reaching out to me by email: keep it up.

2018-08-28 Thanks to the two of you who found the plagiarism tutorial link was broken. I’ve fixed it in both the schedule and the syllabus. For a brief video introduction to our course, please see here


Welcome to our course. This is where I’ll post any updates for our course. Please read this first to get started with our course.