World History 1, 1101- Section 02- Online

Syllabus: ExpectationsSyllabus: Grades and ScheduleSyllabus: Campus ResourcesHomeD2LAssignment Files

2023-12-19, 10:36 *All Grades Submitted8

A note on final grades

  • I own all the grades 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 final grades are submitted I must fill out a digital form to change it, and I can change it 5 minutes, 5 weeks, or 5 years after it’s been submitted.
  • Data errors are easy to fix and I welcome your emails.
  • Technical errors (google ate my homework) will involve a longer discussion that goes beyond when grades are due.
  • Your class citizenship grades are based on your participation, the honesty in your reflections, and respectful behavior towards everyone in this class, including me. Good citizens show up and make their communities better places. If you did that, you will score well.
  • I am willing to discuss individual assignments, but not the final course grade. Please consider your communication carefully when asking for regrading.
  • 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, effort, ability, or my afinity for you. Grades reflect what you turned in, and only that.

2023-12-13, 16:27 Final Projects and Desserts Graded

Students demonstrated significant effort in revising their final projects and the high overall quality of the projects showed that.

I’m taking your suggestions in your Dessert to heart and am going to reset the course using a cleaner layout that has more obvious due dates and assignments.

2023-12-13, 13:23 Now grading

I’ve created a single page for updates on what assignment and class I am grading. I’ll update it daily.

2023-12-13, 11:40 Numerical Literacy 2nd Plate assignment graded

The strongest assignments focused on a single data category that could be counted and showed how that category influence a specific historical people and place.

There were additional instances of people using words that were not their own, without appropriate citation or quotation. If in doubt, quote your source. And don’t use Ai, that includes ChatGPT or Grammarly, or Co-Pilot, to write your assignment. As a reminder, any use of Ai in the final project * results in failing the class.

  • One student has appropriately used Ai to generate images and used an appropriate Ai disclosure. It’s possible to use Ai appropriately in college, but you are not trained for that and most people use Ai as a short-cut, not a tool. If in doubt, use an Ai disclosure statement with your full prompt and the date and time you used the Ai.

2023-12-12, 16:02 Next up: 2nd Plate Numerical Literacy grades

I’ve started on your numerical literacy 2nd plates (the one stranded assignment of the semester) and should be done soon. FYI.

2023-12-07, 15:56 1st Drafts Assessed

Your grades are for doing a full first draft, with citations, not for the overall quality of the draft. Poorly argued first draft often make great final projects. The top three items to improve most projects:

  1. Get quality sources form our Library databases. Britannica, Khan academy, Wikipedia are all credible but not quality sources. The Journal of Water History is available through our library.
  2. Focus your projects on a single thesis, or main point, that addresses a specific place and period sometime between 0 and 1400 CE. All your sentences should support that one thesis.
  3. Trust yourself as a writer. When students write with confidence, sentences such as "In this project I argue that Mayan cisterns proved central to that civilizations survival" emerge. Without confidence, I read, "water was important to all people at all times, including the Maya.’ The first draft is for getting out your ideas. Your second draft if for organizing those ideas around your strong argument.

I’m enthusiastic about reading your final work.

2023-12-05, 21:37 Workflow

I’ve offered general comments on our course page and tried to focus several of your proposals on the spreadsheet. Please note my comments below on ways to improve your projects.

I will offer additional comments on Thursday and then I will be away from work Friday to Sunday and not answering emails. I will check in on Sunday night and all day Monday, responding to questions so that your final projects are as strong as they can be.

2023-12-05, 11:23 How to Improve your Final Project

I’ve reviewed the spreadsheet of your proposed topics. Below are the three items I think the majority of students need to do as they move to researching and drafting their projects:

  1. Focus on the HISTORY of a use, access, or meaning of fresh water. Many students focus on fresh water topics, but there needs to be a focus on history, not current events or a general introduction to an idea.
  2. Limit your project to specific place (region or country) during a specific period (from a couple days to a couple decades.) Your project needs to be from 0 to 1400 CE. Ancient Egypt, Greece, or Rome are too early, and not allowed.
  3. Chose quality sources that are not on the open web. We have a Research Guide for our class. There is also a Journal of Water History and 9 volume book series on the History of Water.

2023-11-30, 17:09 I graded the Desserts first this week

Delightful as always.

Change in syllabus notice

I’m losing patience with students using generative AI for their work. Effective immediately, if you use Generative AI on your final project, for any part of it, you will fail the class.

I have a process for helping students learn how to quote and cite appropriately after they’ve failed to quote and cite appropriately or used an AI disclosure, but it is lengthy for everyone. Plagiarism (which is what using Ai without disclosure is) is doubly hurtful: the plagiarising student deprives themselves of a learning opportunity and that student deprives their classmates of more meaningful engagement with their teacher because the teacher has to devote more time to addressing the plagiarism.

Your words, your analysis, your intellectual production is far superior to Ai generated material, and you benefit by doing the actual writing. Please recognize and honor your worth as a thinker and writer. You deserve better than the trecherous temptation these billionaire-enriching algorithms offer.

2023-11-30, 13:40 Numbers assignments reviewed

For the number assignment, the biggest issue was students not showing their work. If your answer was correct: no problem. If you answer was wrong I had no way to know how you got your answer, or award partial credit.

The same case applied to answers from articles you researched. Giving me full citations and quoting directly from the articles let’s me see your historical thinking.

Change in syllabus notice

I’m losing patience with students using generative AI for their work. Effective immediately, if you use Generative AI on your final project, for any part of it, you will fail the class.

I have a process for helping students learn how to quote and cite appropriately after they’ve failed to quote and cite appropriately or used an AI disclosure, but it is lengthy for everyone. Plagiarism (which is what using Ai without disclosure is) is doubly hurtful: the plagiarising student deprives themselves of a learning opportunity and that student deprives their classmates of more meaningful engagement with their teacher because the teacher has to devote more time to addressing the plagiarism.

Your words, your analysis, your intellectual production is far superior to Ai generated material, and you benefit by doing the actual writing. Please recognize and honor your worth as a thinker and writer. You deserve better than the trecherous temptation these billionaire-enriching algorithms offer.

2023-11-17, 16:26 Podcast Audio (2nd plate) and desserts reviewed.

I loved listening to the podcasts. Your enthusiasm for this type of assignment was clear, and many students reflected on enjoying the freedom to chose their own topic an learn a new skill.

I’ve asked two students who had exceptional podcasts if they’re willing to share, and I’ll keep asking until I have two that you can listen to from your classmates.

2023-11-16, 14:43 Numerical Literacy Readings and Work Posted

2023-11-10, 17:25 Podcast drafts review

I reviewed and offered comments on your podcast drafts. Lots of work in rewrites to be done, but solid first effort by y’all. Keep it up.

A couple of overarching ideas to consider:

  1. Don’t write a more interesting Wikipedia entry. Write a quirky story that your average listener doesn’t know. Smaller stories are more interesting than big stories: you’ve only 3 minutes.
  2. Open web sources lack the depth of information and scholarly quality you need. Brittanica is credible, but it’s middle school quality. You’ve access to the a research guide for our class with high quality sources.
  3. Podcasts need to include 51% history material. If you are focusing on an idea, or object, make sure you are addressing those things in their historical context.

The quality of the writing (conversational and confident) is mostly great.

2023-11-08, 11:18 Podcast brainstorming

A good start to your podcast creation for most folks (I’ve assessed them now: 2023-11-08, 11:23). A couple reminders:

  1. Your topic should be as small as possible and help your listener think about a historical subject in a different way. We don’t need a general introduction to ancient Egypt, or Julius Caesar, or the Han Empire. Smaller histories are more engaging and easier to write.
  2. Britannica, Wikipeidia, and Khan Academy are credible but not high quality sources. You have access to the brightest minds in historical scholarship through our Normandale library databases.
  3. Our course ends in 1400 CE. Your podcast should be about a pre-1400 CE subject.

2023-11-06, 15:05 Examples of podcasts

If you would like to listen to examples of history podcasts of the sort you will write, here are several.

Sample Podcasts
“The Nile Project: Producing Harmony In A Divided Region.” Weekend Edition Sunday. NPR, September 14, 2014.
“Ancient Fossils Suggest Birds Began on Water.” All Things Considered. NPR, June 16, 2006.
“Discovery of Ancient Bronze Statues in Italy May Rewrite Etruscan and Roman History.” Weekend Edition Saturday. NPR, December 3, 2022.
“Exhibit Explores How Native Americans Use Water — and How the Resource Has Been Politicized.” Accessed February 21, 2023. .
“Flowing Through Time: The Past, Present, And Future Of Water”- Peak Academy Podcast , accessed 2023-11-6

2023-11-02, 22:51 Voyant and Dessert Assessed

Huge variation of assignments. A couple notes:

  1. Read instructions carefully. Several of you input the texts for the World History 2 course that runs 1400-2020 CE.
    a. The instructions asked you to review both texts.
    b. Please read this short introduction (stop at "Islam in Wester Eyes.") to Islam. I’v neglected your education on the basics of Islam, please help me remedy that.
    c. Students often had the seeds of good ideas, and needed to spend more time and words on the assignment. When faced with two of the most important thinkers of the middle ages, and a new digital tool, your answers needed to reflect the complexity of the history and the tool before your. "This book was about religion" is too short.
    d. Your desserts remain fantastic, especially those of you how let your personality and curiosity out for a walk.

2023-11-02, 16:27 Voyant, Dessert, and next week

I’ve reviewed but not graded the Voyant assignments and your Dessert.

Next week’s sources are podcasts. To the extent that you can, please listen, don’t just read them. Listening will give you a sense of how to write for listeners rather than readers (which is most of your reading.)

As well, I plan to ask you to record your podcast in two weeks. So, if you do not have an established means for recording your voice (no mixing necessary), please take a look at Audacity ( in the next 10 days. It’s free, open source, and available for all mainstream operating systems.

2023-10-27, 18:23 Appetizer and 1st Plate

I’ve assessed the appetizer and 1st plate assignments. The 1st plate assignments demonstrate sophisticated thought with regard to algorithms.

I would point out that more than 60% of the class uses the SnapChat AI, and I wonder what information students are giving Snap to use.

Several students related that they regularly used Artificial Intelligence to complete homework. Always check with your instructor about this. Just as students should use AI disclosure statements, facutly should offer clear guidance on their expectations for AI usage.

2023-10-20, 10:11 2nd Plate and Dessert

Desserts remain fascinating, especially as you tie your coursework to you everyday life.

This section’s 2nd Plate assignments demonstrated tremendous research and writing. Many students struggled to find and then write coherently about obscure topics. And, for the most part, you all did a great job.

For the small number of students with notes to talk with me, please email to set up a phone or virtual chat.

2023-10-19, 21:50 Change of plans

I am moving our podcasting 2-week module back, and moving our words and computers module to next week.

Words and computers includes both training on AI and on distant reading.

NOTE: I’ve altered the appetizer this week. Instead of you usual find a source and pair it, I’ve given your five questions about the readings to answer.

My world 2 class got the privileged grading position this week, so I’m now working on this week’s work from World 1 and Minnesota.

2023-10-15, 23:00 Appetizer and 1st Plate metadata done

I finished reading your week’s assignments. Great collection of articles you found and compared to our historical secondary sources.

On the 1st plate, remember that "descriptive" has a specific definition with metadata. That is "descriptive" metadata tells us about what is in the data. So, image descriptive metadata would be "family photo," "auntie Fatima," "large piece of cake" all of which would tell us what’s in the data. "Date taken" does not tell us what’s in the photo – unless- we know that something important happened that day and expect that something important to show up in the photo, such as a newborn child.

2023-10-13, 18:40 Updates

There’s been an uptick in students using ChatGPT. Please don’t. The consequences for plagiarism are significant and your words are more powerful and credit worthy than anything a bot outputs. I’m revising my plagiarism policy to account for ChatGPT and other AI, with attention to finding a policy that is fair (holds people accountable), clear, and humane.

Please don’t use ChatGPT. I’ll train you on what it is, but right now it is causing huge harm through plagiarism that results in failed assignments and dismissal from classes. It’s like oxycodone, powerful if used in a limited, supervised, supportive, and regulated environment but hugely harmful otherwise and being pushed by those who want to make money off you.

2023-10-05 2nd Plate and Dessert Graded

As we enter the 8th week of class, and your have demonstrated familiarity with expectations for this class, my expectations for your historical thinking increase.

For example, on the 2nd plate assignments, students needed to reference specific historical societies for their comparison and contrast. A society is a group of people in a place and time. Egypt is a place, but not a society.

Your desserts are mostly wonderful. I encourage students to write about their learning, not only their learning context. Learning about your non-class life if valuable, but not if that’s all your share.

Finally, I’m seeing an increase in the use of Generative AI and other plagiarism issues. Your words are always worth more (both for class credit and intellectually) than anyone else’s words.

2023-10-5 Meetings today

I’m in meetings most of today, so I will answer emails and questions this afternoon. Just for your information.

2023-10-2 1st Plate Object Analysis assessed

Students answered most questions with accuracy and some whimsy. Several students answered challenging questions, for example about smell, with creative and meaningful answers, such as "I do not know what it smells like, but limestone generally smells a little dusty and acidic."

The opportunity for improvement came in question 23:

A typical answer to question 23 was "This tells me about the skill of the artist and the culture of the country XX." I encourage to give details or an example of what that skill is or exactly what the culture that your refer to is. Show your reader your point rather than tell your reader you have a point. "For example" are the most powerful words in the historian’s writing toolbox.

2023-09-26 Back in the swing of things

I look forward to reading your Object Appetizers. FYI, my work laptop died and I’m setting up the replacement, so you may see some odd formatting in my comments for this week. I have many auto-completes (like date such as 2023-09-26 ) in a program called AutoHotKey that I need to reinstall.

Using text expander programs like AutoHotKey is what many who communicate for a living use, in business, medicine, the arts and humanities, and in code .

2023-09-22 1st Plate and Appetizers now read and assessed

I found some wonderfully thoughtful, and analytically complex responses in both assignments. Don’t forget to apply SIFT to your outside readings for the Appetizers. Sometimes a SIFTed article that doesn’t demonstrate credibility can still be a useful discussion comparison for our readings.
2023-09-21, 8:22 Away from Normandale again today.

I am having continued side effects from the COVID shot, though nothing concerning and the side effects are lessening.

Thus, I will be not working today.

As I cannot support your Assignments in the usual way, I have decided to treat this week’s work as credit no credit.

I’l grade tomorrow and if you’ve made a good faith effort (all the parts of the assignment are there in the usual college-level writing) you’ll get full credit. If it’s not there, or only partly done, no credit.

Many students have written to express how they are struggling in our class emotionally and intellectually. I will try to respond to these emails today.

2023-09-20, 7:25 Class suspended for 24 hours

My family is a bit tired recovering from our COVID shots yetsterday (yay!), so I’m suspending class today.

The regular Wednesday at 10 pm assignment due today (2023-09-20) will be due Thursday (2023-09-21).

I’ll resume regular communication tomorrow.

2023-09-18, 10:56 Academic warning email

If you currently have an F in our class, I’ve submitted your names to our Counseling and Advising department for additional support.

For some of you, you had early difficulties and are now producing regular, credit-worth work. For others, there are continued struggles. I am committed to helping you succeed and passing this class, and inviting your advisor into conversation is part of the commitment.

2023-09-15, 14:21 ARC Gis and Dessert Assignments

Your Dessert assignments continue to be a delight to read. You are thoughtful, articulate, voluble, often humorous, and honest. Keep it up.

The StoryMaps assignments displayed some strengths and opportunities. Most students made strong use of images and maps- well done. Making an argument for the historical significance of a historical object remains challenging, as I expect at the beginning of the semester.

A typical, weak, historical argument ran like this: "This object shows the important religious, cultural, and culinary themes of the age and offers key insights in the world of this state." To improve this statement, the writer would need to first define a theme or insight, and then offer evidence for how the object had historical significance. Focusing on a specific historical significance that clearly relates to the object and then supporting that with evidence is the way to go.

Students typically make overly large and vague arguments at this stage of the semester, so I’m not concerned. Your writing and engagement is excellent, so I’ve confidence your historical thinking is developing.

2023-09-14, 16:55 Grading, email, and expectations

I’ve been grading the ArcGIS assignments today, though not your class. About 25% of students did not publish their maps. Please double check the link in your Assignment file to be sure I can view your map without logging in as you.

Email etiquette in this class has been outstanding. Thank you! Your writing has been polite and to the point. The only suggestion I’d make is to include your class and section so I can respond quickly without looking you up in my class lists. I have many similarly-named students across my classes.

So you can set realistic expectations for this class, if you have a grade issue, say you mis-post a link, that requires I address it individually, please recognize that I need to prioritize the big assignment grades before I go back to fix individual grades. I’m not Amazon, get it by the next day at 10 am. I try to clear all grading issues that come in during the week by Friday.

2023-09-11 Error on my part, benefit to you

I mis-sequenced the assignments for our GIS Module, putting this in the order 2nd plate, dessert, first plate, appetizer rather than how they should be served to you: appetizer, 1st plate, 2nd plate, dessert.

Because of this error, I’m extending the due date for the 2nd plate assignment to Wednesday night at 10 pm to allow us more time to work through this robust tool (StoryMaps) and challenging questions (what is the historical significance of an object).

I’m cleaned up our Syllabus: Schedule and Grades as well (there were a couple typos).

Mea culpa.

2023-09-11, 11:46 – Three quick tips on grades and email

2023-09-06, 15:57 Week 4 Readings and Work Pasted and Appetizer Graded

This class found fascination articles to compare to this week’s readings and the paragraph comparisons asked useful questions. Well done.

2023-08-31, 20:59 1st Plate for Week 3 posted

NOTE: Your Appetizer assignment is still due Monday night.

2023-08-31, 17:05 Tired- updates coming tonight

Sorry, there’s been some one-on-one students issues that have required my attention today – which are vital and worth the time – so my assessing of your work is running a bit behind.

I’ll have the 1st plate up for next week tonight.

2023-08-25, 16:38 2 minute video on links and next week’s work

Have a great weekend: I hope you find the video useful.

2023-08-25, 13:22 FAQ
Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What about tests, like a midterm or final?
  • A. There are no tests. I designed this class around 32 assignments that worth 2-3% of your total grade. That means each week you learn a little and earn a little (grade). There are no tests. You do have a final project, and it follows the same steps (apptetizer, 1st plate, 2nd plate, dessert) that our regular weeks do and should be just 10% more work than a regular 2 week group of assignments.
  1. Is there something due every week?
  • A. Yes. Every Monday and Wednesday, unless otherwise noted in the syllabus, there is something due.
  1. My family scheduled a vacation, my sports team is travelling to Florida, my sister is getting married: can I have an extension?

A. No. There is no late work. I drop two weeks worth of grades with a 12% grade. The exceptions are for deployment and hospitalization. If hopitalized, please wait until you are better to contact me, no need for bedside chats- history is full of dead people, they can wait until you’re home.

  1. Why are the assignments called "Appetizer," "1st Plate," "2nd Plate," and "Dessert."

A. We’re using food (and flood) as a theme, so using food metaphors made sense to me. Also, calling the assignments pre-work, 1st project, 2nd project, and reflection bored me.

2023-08-23 Appetizer 1

Thanks to all who have done the Appetizer Get-to-know-you form under Syllabus: Schedule and Grades. This form is how I start the class for you, so if you haven’t filled it out, please do so as soon as possible. Thank you. Looking forward to a great class with you.