1. World History 2 (1102) Online

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2019-10-14: Opening Quiz 8 did not have feedback

Basic: Student searched internet for the words, and related the words to some theological teachings. 
Developing: Student searched the internet for the words, and related the words to a specific theological idea related in the readings. 
Proficient: Student correctly identified the words as song lyrics, and offered a tie between specific words and a specific religion.

The original song is from a group known as The Indigo Girls who use abundant metaphors. There was no right answer, only those that made stronger or weaker arguments tying the lyrics to specific religious beliefs as articulated by your readings. Several students seemed to take the lyrics personally, wrting about how the words revealed something about their personal belief, using first person plural "we," or "us." As we are discussing historical religions, contemporary belief is not terribly useful and can obscure the nuance of historical belief.

2019-10-12: Experiment 5 graded

Wow was that a great assignment: students produced fantastic analysis. The questions students asked of the texts showed strong historical thinking. Some of the conlcusions drawn from the word choices were less strong, which is to be expected given the introductory nature of this assignment. Voyant is a new tool and I don't expect you to build beautiful new knowledge structures with tools you just learned. In contrast to the uneven word-based conclusions, the research that students did with articles was outstanding. Asking authentic and interesting questions of the texts and finding articles to ground your hypothesis was inspiring for me to read.

A number of folks did not indicate they had filtered out stop words. You likely did it, but if I can't see it, I can't give credit for it. The "grading criteria" in the assignment are all in the rubric, but the analysis and writing is given greater weight (points) and the technical skills receive fewer points.

2019-10-9: D2L Housekeeping

I did some late-Wednesday-night D2L housekeeping with quizzes. Scores should be accurate through today now.

For music fans, I learned of a conert festival and industry workshop series calle A3c. The tickets are spendy (and I'm not here to have fun), but there's some interesting sessions on hip-hop journalism and music marketing. FYI for folks going into music or hospitality.

2019-10-7: Closing quiz 6 and opening quiz 7 graded

The question on rural life in India had answers of various strengths. The strongest answers asked "W" questions (who, what, when, where, how, and historical significance). For example, referencing the 1876 of 1899 famine and whether it was before or after 1858 when the British government took over direct colonial rule.

The question on The Tale of Genji resulted in weaker answers. Answers seemed to indicate that students did not look up what The Tale of Genji was, or when it was published. All of the responses only focused on what was in the picture, and did not apply any of the SIFT techniques we used in the first couple weeks. Adding wikipedia would have told you that The Tale of Genji was published around 1000 CE, and remains a formative novel in Japanese literature. Answers that incorporated the 700 year difference between when the painting was created and when the story was written were stronger. Answers that recognized that the painting was responding to a story, and not attempting to capture realistic view of Japanese life, also demonstrated competence.

A student asked me how much one needs to answer to get full credit for quiz questions. I cannot imagine an answer that would get full credit with fewer than three sentences and that references the prompt, the historical context of the prompt, and the readings for the week (even if implicitly.)

2019-10-4: Week 7 For Your Information

On Wednesday, October 9th I'll be heading to Atlanta to present at the International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning. You can see my a description of my talk here.

All of your grades will be the same, and the due dates for your assignments will not change. I will continue to answer questions and converse with you on the discussion boards as usual.

My face-to-face course will not meet on Thursday, but will turn in their work normally.

I have made the assignment for this week straight forward technically.

I am adding an office hour on Tuesday from 1-2 p.m.

2019-09-27 I'll get next week's Experiment up asap. The end of this week has found me bringing our grading to current. Great reflections being submitted: good writing and careful thought on what you are learning.

2019-09-26: Experiement 4 Assessed
I've assessed Experiment 4. Overall, the paragraphs were strong, more in their writing than in their argumentation. Please note that I give you the learning goals for the assignment, and will grade you on what I identify as learning goals.

The biggest analytical challenge students faced was drawing a tentative conclusion without overstating their evidence. For example, Shakespeare used the words for kings, lords, and ladies far more than peasants, serfs, and indigent (poor). The difference between the two word sets suggests he focussed his plays on the elites. The differences between the two words sets does not give us evidence that Shakespeare hated the poor, or he himself was rich or poor. Word counts can hint at possible explanations, but are rarely conclusive evidence.

Gloria's post is very strong if you're looking for a model.

I plan to be most rigorous in grading with your experiments, so you should expect your experiment grades to be lower than your other grades.

2019-09-23 Closing Quiz 4 and Opening Quiz 5

I've graded question 6 on both quizzes. Closing Quiz 4 had relatively strong answers, with students clearly identifying some combination of historical issues, such as the context in which fiction is produce, the motivations of the author, the sources the author used, and the author's life experience that shape how to use fiction when studying the past. Answers that included something like "it's fiction, so it can't be totally trusted, but it's written in the past, so it tells us alot" needed more evidence.

The opening quiz 5 had a wider range of answers. The relative differences between the selected words doesn't provide us great evidence. Students that used phrases such as "the evidence suggests," or "these word patterns might point out" had stronger answers. Students that made hard conclusions, such as "China in the 16th century cared about food, England cared about emotions," needed more evidence.

The other issue to consider is that not all nouns are used to refer to real objects. Food can be a metaphor or sybmol of something else, especially in a text that includes religious discussions.

Congratulations to the student who correctly noted that Don Quijote and Journey to the West are both travel narratives. As anyone who has ever taken a long trip before can relate, "what are we going to eat next" can be a recurring conversation.

2019-09-18 Experiments 1,2, & 3 graded
Experiments 1 and 2 were graded credit/no credit. Students did strong work with robust answers for those two assignments. Experiment 3 had two levels: 9.5 and 9. Those who earned a 9.5 included significant metadata, including metadata that was not originally included in the article, and gave a robust answer to why they chose their metadata. Those who earned a 9 had a minimal number of metadata and less clear explanations for why they chose their metadata. As with your reflections, how you feel about a topic (I really found this interesting) is less useful that statements about what you are learning or how you organize a particular answer.

2019-09-17 Closing 3 and Opening 4 Quizzes, Consultations, and Reflections Both have been graded. You can review the feedback I posted on question 6 for each. Overall, students are grappling with question 6 and writing well-considered responses. Your answer might not display perfect organization, flowing from thesis to points, but overall students have exhibited sound historical thinking.

In a small minority of cases, students write answers that do not display what I consider a good faith effort. Writing one sentence is not showing historical thinking. I don't presume to know why students write short or with little atttention to detail, it can be stress, time constraints, or lack of interest. Still, I feel it unfair to give a 90% to a response does not display a good faith effort. So, starting this week, I'm giving responses that do no display a good faith effort a 1/5. This is a very small number of responses, yet it warrants explanation.

  • Consultations: the consultation discussion board is for working out you thoughts about the week's experiment. I've provided specific prompts thus far. In addition, you can always add your questions, or respond to others there.

  • Some reflection writing have focussed, week after week, on interest or engagement. For example "I found this week's readings interesting." That has the advantage of being true, but does not tell me a great deal about your learning. Giving me examples of what you found engaging, why, and how it helps you ask better questions about the past would help me better understand your learning. You may enjoy or detest certain week's readings and activities, and what you are learning is my central concern.

2019-09-11: Reflections graded

I've read and graded your reflections. I'm impressed by the thoughtfulness of most reflections. You will earn 5 points for each reflection. Over 16 weeks, that sums to 80, but I am going to drop the lowest two, so your total in the gradebook is out of 70 points. As of today, 2019-09-11, you should have 10 points for two weeks of reflections. A very few of you will have 15 points as you already turned in your week 3 review.

Here are some things to consider in your reflection:

  • This assignment is to reflect on your learning. Some weeks you may focus more on new knowledge you gained, other weeks you may focus on a new skill. I find it all fascinating and useful, just keep those groups (knowledge and skills) in mind so you aren't writing excursively on one.
  • Honesty works best for these. If you had a rough week, didn't understand something, or struggled with motivation, it's better to write that as you discuss your learning as it will shape my next week's teaching.
  • Comments about what you think should or shouldn't be in this course can be honest reflections, but they are not reflections on your learning. As the professor, it's my job to include relevant information, and I have. Reflecting on your interests and how some subjects engage you or turn you off is great. Telling me how to do my job reveals little about your learning and doesn't help me help you learn.
  • Students did a great job copy editing their reflections. I found almost flawless capitalization, punctuation, and language usage: keep it up.
    2019-09-9 Closing quiz 2 and Opening Quiz 3

The quiz that asked you to evaluate the Tree Octopus (Closing 2) revealed most students are using SIFT to evaluate sources. Please continue to use SIFT as you evaluate sources, remembering that you cannot evaluate a source based on the source alone: opening new tab is your research super-power.

The quiz on Busbecq revealed our class has widely-different understandings of "historical context." Several students attempted to quote extensively from Busbecq, but did not reference what else was going on in 16th century Turkey and the Mediterranean.

Thus far I've graded credit/no credit on Experiments. Going forward I will include learning goals on which you will be assessed using a rubric.

2019-09-4: Grades for Quizzes and Feedback on Opening Quiz 2

For your quizzes, you will typically have 6 questions: 5 multiple choice questions at one point a piece and one open ended question. Multiple choice checks your comprehension of the reading. The open ended question lets me gage your ability to think historically. I want you to consider how you are developing as a historical thinker as well, so I'll always include an explanation of what basic, developing, and proficient answers look like after you've submitted your answer.

My experience is that students demonstrate learning better when they know they'll receive immediate feedback and they learning is not high-stakes in terms of a grade. So, there are four grades for the open-ended quiz question:

0 = you wrote nothing
3.5 = you demonstrated basic historical thinking skills
3.7 = you demonstrated developing historical thinking skills
4 = you demonstrated proficient historical thinking skills

95% of students wrote in complete sentences with formal language and appropriate capitalization and punctuation, as expected, when answering the open-ended questions.

Because I need to grade the open-ended questions, your immediate grade will appear as an F, such as 4/9, until I grade the open-ended question. I will grade quizzes within one week of when they are submitted so we stay in conversation about where you are as a thinker.

I graded the Opening Quiz 2 and my feedback is here: http://jacknorton.org/askhistorians/ . Please read carefully as most students did NOT accurately evaluate AskHistorians (which I expected and is normal for this early in the semester).

The lab experiment and consultation will be posted Monday before noon. FYI.

For students looking for help navigating D2L, here is a video playlist of how to do things. Playlist is on youtube

The closing quiz is for after you have completed the other assignments for the week. I did not put a start gate on it, as I did not think students would try to take it before completing the rest of the work. I will revisit that assumption. Closing questions will be available by 3 o'clock on Wednesday afternoon. The closing quiz for week one is live.

I updated the schedule to reflect oour schedule and to eliminate an error on when things were due. I'll post changes to our website that are not part of the usual administration of our course.

Welcome to our World History 2 course. On this website you will find most material that you need to prepare for our weekly work. Your grades and graded material will be housed on D2L.

Before you do anything else in our course read this first

Please watch this space as I will post class anouncements here, along with tips on how to succeed in our course.

Looking forward to a great semester. I have confidence you can do well in this course.