Read this first.

Welcome to World History 1101

Below you will find essential information for our course. Please read the entire document.

The knowledge and skills of world history are invaluable elements in your college and work careers. This course assumes you have no previous college history and no specialized digital skills.

We face two primary challenges.

1. Students have widely divergent digital literacies, yet we need everyone to be digitally literate for our course to work. The first two weeks of our course is to level up all students, ensuring you have the tools you need to succeed in this course and in college.

2. There is more inaccurate history available than accurate history. The internet, especially social media, spreads historical lies quickly and widely. Previously, students worked hard to find any information about a historical subject, say a book on the Tang dynasty. Now, students can find information about the Tang easily, but sorting credible from non-credible information presents significant challenges.

We will spend a great deal of time making you information and digital literate, that is able to operate in digital spaces as a critical thinker.

All tools and websites we use are free, web-based, and user-friendly. As long as you can use a web-browser, you can use this semester’s digital tools. I assume you can successfully navigate a web browser: that’s it.


By way of introduction, my legal name is David, but everyone calls me "Jack." You can address me as professor Norton if that feels more comfortable. Any salutation offered in respect is welcome. I’ll address you by your first names, unless otherwise directed and, most importantly, I’ll always address you respectfully.

I’ve been teaching at Normandale since 2009. I taught at the "U" while getting my Ph.D. in history, and have since taught on the south side of Chicago for two years before returning to MN to settle down. On that note, I’m a dad of two elementary-age kids. My specialties are Spanish women’s history and digital history pedagogy.

Course Design

The syllabus and schedule posted to our course page. Grades will be recorded in D2L because the Family Education Rights Privacy Act (FERPA) requires we keep student data secure and private.

I am hosting our course on my own server. Doing so allows you open access to our material beyond the two years Normandale supports on D2L. Putting our course on the open web also lets me design a web site that includes only that which is useful for learning.

I have emailed your Normandale email information about creating your own assignment page in Office 365 or Google and setting up a account. This information is also on the D2L home page for our course.

Your work will either be in a annotation or in your Assignment document, as directed by the three assignments for each week: Prepare, Assignment, Reflection.

A note on technology:

We will spend the first two weeks leveling up student digital literacies.

For the content of the course, we are going to cover from prehistory to around 1400 CE. All readings and videos will be in English, although you are welcome to use other languages when looking for sources. I designed the course to prevent any single grade from ruining a final grade. Students who stay up on the readings, participate in discussions with, and turn their work in on time have few problems in my courses.

First week to do list

[ ] Read the user manual for this course (AKA "the syllabus)

[ ] Tell me something about yourself in my get-to-know ya [form.(

[ ] Complete the Week 1 Prepare, Assignment, and Reflection work.

[ ] Log in to your email account. Normandale email account
[ ] Log in and review your Normandale Office 365 account
[ ] Log in to D2L, navigate to our class, and find the gradebook under "Assessments"

D2L PICTURE: It would be useful to me if you could load a picture of yourself, or an avatar into D2L so that we can all get to know you. Please do not post pictures of multiple people, just you. Your picture will be visible to other students and in your other courses. You can use for a wide range of people. Click on your name in the upper right corner of D2L to access your profile.

Looking forward to meeting y’all!