World History: 1102- Fall 2021

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2021-12-20, 15:13 Experiment 16 and Final Grade

Experiment 16 is graded. The quality of sources and writing was wide ranging, with disappointing lows (basic SIFT analysis would disqualify most sites) to tremendous highs (fantastic analysis by many students.) The bigger the thesis, the more often it fell short. So, "Event X influence the whole world even until today" was less powerful than "event X caused specific things a and b to occur in years y and z." For example, one student argued that the invention of the caravel ship allowed for the Europeans explorations of the 15th century.

Please see my previous note about final grades (I won’t discuss the final grade itself) and individual grades (I’m happy to review individual grades). Grades are not like shoe sizes: they don’t tell you something objective about yourself. Rather, they reflect the work you did and what one person (me) considered of that work in one moment in time.

Here’s a grim but honest thought: I’ve run through cemeteries for 35 years and I’ve never seen a GPA on a single gravestone. I’ve read 1000s of obituaries, and likewise, no GPAs. You matter to me, to Normandale, and to your friends and family far beyond your grade. So, love it or hate the mark, please do not treat it as a shoe size. My dream is that you go forth with what we learned this semester to a successful career, and that you come back and tell me about it in 10 years.

In the interim, I welcome your grade questions, or just interesting history things you wish to share.

Be well.

2021-12-16, 17:16 Citizenship Grades Added

I looked at your participation in Consultations and Reflections, and the engagement you had with fellow students in those areas for this grade. This grade helps 95% of students, but how much varies. Experiment 16 left to grade.

2021-12-15, 17:42 Experiment 15

Assignments were all over the place. Much of the writing was strong, with good uses of quotations. Some students let other’s words slip into their paragraphs without citation or quotation, so be careful with that. The biggest issues were summarizing sources rather than analyzing them and chosing weak sources. and Brittanica and a lot of open web content lacks nuance and details that historical scholarship has. Many of you used the Normandale Library databases to good affect (well done). Those using weaker articles struggled a bit to craft strong theses, mostly because lacks global vision.

The best part of this assignment was the diversity of issues and the "I want to tell you about this thing that I care about" aspect of the paragraphs. Regardless of how the assignment fullfilled the requirements, every piece was a joy to read.

2021-12-15, 12:58 Status Update

Reflections are now graded. There were a number of generous and grateful comments this week, and I’m touched. It’s especially touching to me to read the gracious statement given how many of you struggled this semester, with sickness, death of loved ones, addiction, racial injustice, and the regular course of life/work/school, which is "normally" hard enough. I cannot adequately express how impressed I am with you.

On to grading.

  • I will switch from D2L showing ungraded items as null values to showing ungraded items as zeroes soon.
  • 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 (as in, "I submitted that assignment and can see it in the discussion folder, how come there’s no grade?") are easy to fix and I welcome your emails.
  • Technical errors (as in, "I know I submitted that to the Discussion board, 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.
  • Your class citizenship grades are based on your participation in consultations, reflections, and respectful behavior towards other students. Good citizens show up and make their communities better places. If you did that, you scored well.
  • I am willing to discuss individual assignments, but not the final course grade. Please consider your communication carefully when asking for regrading.
  • I round at .56.
  • 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.

    More updates as I have them.

2021-12-13, 14:43 Finals Week

For those new to college, Finals Week only involves final projects, not regular class. We do not have a final exam, but your final project is due tomorrow (Tuesday) at 10 pm.

My week is all about responding to students and grading.

2021-12-10, 15:27 Last day for course evaluations

You received a course evaluation email from the college with links to the course eval. You can also access it on the "More" dropdown menu of D2L. More

Stay safe in the snow and have a great weekend.
2021-12-9, 16:29 Final Experiment Due Tuesday

Note that the Final Experiment is not due until next Tuesday, December 14th at 10 pm. The work requires a bit of extra thinking, so it is our culminating learning project of the semester.

2021-12-9, 13:04 Consultation, Reflection, and Closing Quiz 16 all still active

Class, your regular Consultation, Reflections, and Closing Quizzes for this week are all still active. Looking f

2021-12-08, 11:16 Consultations 15 Graded

Good stuff. Keep going.

2021-12-7, 14:17 Closing 15, Opening 16 and D2L downtime

D2L was not working correctly for a couple hours today. It apparently had to do with an Amazon Web Services failure, which hosts D2L.

Those that attempted question 6 of Closing 15 (Qing empire) received full credit for the quiz. Opening 16 asked about "Africa is a Country." Most students identified the editor and left-leaning editorial position of the blog. Fewer students noted the title is satire, as many non-Africans talk about Africa a country. It’s the equivalent of me saying "I don’t care at all if my students learn how to find credible information."

2021-12-06, 15:41 Many meetings

Not much grading today, but am monitoring our discussion 16.

2021-12-03, 13:20 Experiment 14

Some very nuanced and attentive analysis of the differences between maps. I was impressed with the details many students called attention to in their assignments, especially with examples. For example, rather than "the two maps are in different languages" students wrote "the 1870 map is in French and the OpenStreet map uses the common language of the state, currently Arabic, to show this region." Much work was especially impressive given it was a holiday week.

2021-12-02, 15:55 Consultations 14

Graded. Very "it’s a holiday, this is not a priority" esque, which weirdly made me happy.

2021-12-02, 12:39 Reflections and Experiment 13

Reflections remain strong and I appreciate everyone who continues to Reflect even after maxing out their points. That’s self-worth I wish upon all my students.

Experiments 13 on the US-Philippine war were strong. Some students struggled to offer an alternative perspective or reading of the films. Creators of sources always have an intended audience and purpose, but we do not have to accept that intention. Creative interpretations of the films included the comic aspects of serious war videos and the fatigue and ambivalence soldiers showed during what were labelled as triumphant videos.

2021-11-30, 15:58 Cleaning up

I’m cleaning up the gradebook today, trying to make it as accurate as possible.

2021-11-29, 15:54 Course evaluations and Multi-factor Authentication

Course evaluations have been sent to your Normandale email. The evaluations are sent by a company called Anthology Course Evaluations, which Normandale has contracted to conduct the evaluations. Please fill the evaluations out in the next 10 days. Thank you.

January 4th of 2022 all students will be asked to use multi-factor authentication to login to the email or Office 365. Multi-factor authentication requires you first use your password, and then verify your identity through another means – such as a text message, phone call, or security app – to log in. You can read full details of Normandale’s use of multi-authentication here. .

Many, many students will attempt to login in using multi-factor authentication January 4th. Do yourself a favor: set up your account your way ahead of time.

2021_11_27, 16:37 Week 15 readings

Sorry all, I was absolutely walloped by my COVID booster, and in bed for a bit. I’m climbing back out. Hoping y’all spent your break more enjoyably. The booster was still totally worth it, just required a bit of toughness to ride out the symptoms.

2021-11-24, 15:25 Reflections, Quizzes, and the gradebook

Closing 13 and Opening 14 quizzes are graded. Many student deploy SIFT analysis well, doing reverse image searches easily. Some students are still looking at a source and only the source for conclusions. Lateral readings means getting outside your current tab to search for corroborating information. That’s the IFT in the process.

Keep those great Reflections, with mentions of other student’s work, coming.

I’ve updated the gradebook so that Reflections are now included in your final grade. If you do not have 60 points yet, there are still three more weeks (14, 15, 16). So, your Reflection grade can only go up from here. My experience is that students move their final grades no more than 2% points in absolute terms, so that should give you a decent sense of where you will finish the term.

2021-11-23, 14:02 Experiment 12

Finding credible information in social media is challenging. Finding credible and quality information on social media is even harder. So, I’m proud that small number of you found quality sources, such a pinterest page linked to the Wisconsin Historical Society. Many of you found non-credible sources such as The Industrial Revolution. SIFT this site and you’ll find it has no author, no associated credible institution like a college or museum, and its bibliography looks suspiciously like a high school report that has a required two books. The same is true for the Coal in Britain website.

These are old websites that turn up in search due to their age. The lack of a named author is a huge issue for credibility.

On the one hand, searching for credible sites is difficult. On the other hand, so many of you chose obviously non-credible sites, I’m sad that my instruction has been more effective. The issue wasn’t universal: most students had just one non-credible site of the three they chose. And failure is not bad: it’s new information that can lead to growth.

We’ll keep at it, encouraging each other to find quality and credible sources for evidence-based history. Any of you who celebrate Thanksgiving are about to experience what happens when people with differing digital literacies come together.

P.S. This class demonstrates a huge commitment to their work. I regularly receive 30-32 asignments in a class of 35, in contrast to my world 1 classes that have 22-25 submissions a week. I don’t know why this class so strongly submits work, but I’m grateful, like a conductor whose musicians always practice their instruments.

2021_11_23, 11:43 Revised Experiment 14

With apologies, I posted a new Experiment 14 just now. The old Experiment used a map hosted by Harvard, who in their decadent wisdom, decided to take easily navigable tool on the open web and park it in an complex GIS site behind a wall. I’m not bitter, as you can tell.

The new Experiment 14 is easier in terms of skills, and will still help you explore how historical maps of the late 19th, early 20th century compare with modern maps.

I’ll extend the deadline for the Experiment 14 to Friday to give folks plenty of time, as this was my failure to double check the original Harvard map.

2021-11-22, 21:18 Many meetings

Many faculty meetings today, so a bit behind on grading. Will catch up tomorrow.

2021-11-19, 14:41 Consultation 13

Please add something to our conversation about the Experiments each week in your Consultations. That can be a question. Or if not a question, a success you had in completing the Experiment. The Consultation discussion board is a work place- to help others work and to ask for help. It is not a check-in for when you start working. This is the last time I’m going to post this plea.

2021-11-18, 18:32 Consultation 12

Many good questions and examples of what you are working on. Week’s with strong Consultation posts correlate with strong Experiments.

Consultations are to help you and your fellow students understand the week’s Experiments. I provide some prompts. Fundamentally though it’s a chance to share and help each other. "I have no questions and do not have any thoughts on the prompt" is not a credit-worthy Consultation post. Everything you do in completing the Experiment is useful for others to know. So, if you have no questions or responses to the prompt, please share what is working for you (which means you need to be working on the Experiment before posting.)

I have clear evidence from Reflections that comments in Consultations are valuable to students, so thank you for your continued efforts.

2021-11-17, 16:16 Closing 12 and Opening 13 Quizzes

Most folks did a great job SIFTing the U.S.-Filipino war photograph for the Opening 13 quiz. Doing a reverse image search seems almost reflective for y’all, which is good.

Closing 12 had varied answers. Many did not click through to learn when the drawing was created. Many did click through and attended to the image (boats and trains) and to the history of industrialization in Japan.

On the subject of U.S. Filipino relations, did you know that the only Veteran’s Administration facility housed in a foreign nation is in the Philippines? The reason for this has to do with Filipino military service against the Japanese in World War 1 (December 7th 1941 saw attacks on Manila and Hawaii.)

2021-11-16, 16:40 Reflections

Updated Reflection grades today. Some folks are at or near the max 60 points. There is no going over, but getting to 100 or close to 100% is fantastic. Several students wrote insightful Reflections on how challenging working in social media can be.

2021-11-15, 16:16 Conversations

Lots of email communications today: thanks. I’m taking care of a sick kid, (non-Covid), today. Hope you are well.

2021-11-12, 17:16 Experiment 11

A remarkably high-achieving assignment with strong writing and analysis. A couple of folks wrote short on their final paragraphs, but overall just a great work for the entire class. Well done.

2021-11-9, 16:43 Reflections, Closing 11 and Opening 12 Quizzes

Reflections were the usual quirky mix of brilliant, insightful, and sometimes exhausted. Keep it up (not the exhausted part- please sleep.)

Closing 11 question 6 on the the speech by "Weathersbee Downs" generated about 80% correct answers that his slave ownership and representation of LA should influence our evaluation of his claim. The strongest answers returned to his claim that enslaved peoples where happier than white northern workers, as that was what the question asked you to evaluation.

Opening 12 question 6 answers ranged. The strongest clicked through to the link (why wouldn’t you) and asked contextual questions about what the artists intended in the picture, if the picture displayed reality, and what we know about Japanese industrialization.
2021-11-8, 16:33 I have faith in you

As a professor, I have faith that every single student can succeed in this class. Many of you have and will encounter obstacles, I’m privileged to know some of them. I was happy to welcome you to the class week 1, and I’m still glad you’re here. In case no one told you today: you can do this.

2021-11-05, 16:11 Experiment 10

Mostly strong answers to the historical statistics questions. A couple notes:

  • The mortality dip you saw was tied not to World War 1, but to the 1918-19 influenza pandemic. If you read the newspapers of the day, you’ll find them commenting on social distancing (by other terms) and those who were reluctant to wear masks.

  • You do not need to be scared if you are 34: the mode is 1. Removing the mode dramatically increases the average life span.

  • Many folks chose not to answer some questions, especially the last one. Some folks struggled to access the databases and couldn’t answer questions. I grade what I can see – no worries.

2021-11-04, 10:37 Consultation 11

Wide quality of responses. I’m starting to see more "This is interesting, I look forward to the work, no questions" posts. Consultations are for working, not reflecting on work we are going to do. Please engage the Experiment substantially before posting, as most of you are.

Impressive analysis in many of this week’s posts, both of the data and of what the data can’t tell us about the past. For example, many noted that embarkments clustered around certain years, with other years having no embarkments. That pattern is not explained by the data, but we can hypothesize with other evidence.

2021-11-2, 21:27 Closing 10 and Opening 11 quizzes

The census question illicited robust, complex, and engaged answers. How is this class so well-informed on how census collection operates and the crediblity issues involved with it? Just great.

The Slave Trade metadata question yielded varied answers. Strong answers offered information that might help expand our understanding of the enslaved peoples included in the database. Students suggested data that addressed the geographies and peoples from which the enslaved people departed, such as their languages or culture. Several students expressed anxiety and ill-feelings about working with this database. One student wrote (I’m paraphrasing) "This is some evil shit."

Indeed, the slave trade was one of humanity’s most brutal practices measured in lives ended and ripped apart. The middle passage alone witnessed a loss of life of 1-2 million lives and destroyed tens of generations of people of African descent.

One of the challenges of world history is that we face the worst actions of our collective past. Our task as historians is not to turn away, but rather to unpack how the past happened in an attempt to understand it. We do this not in an neutral, or objective fashion: we all have perspectives on the past just as we all can see only part of a room at one time. Rather, even when faced with actions we find morally reprehensible, we endeavor, as best we can, to understand why people at the time did what they did on their terms, not ours.

We’re going to address more awfulness in the coming weeks. World Civ 2 is brutal emotionally. The second colonialism (1848-1960s), the Holocaust, Stalin’s purges, the partition of India/Pakistan, the genocide of Native Americans, the genocides in Cambodian, Rwanda, and Armenia are all part of our course. As are the all the art, music, science, theater, and politics of the last 500 years, of which much expanded the lives of historical peoples.

So hang in there. At the end of the course you may understand the laptop sticker "You can’t scare me, I’m a historian."

2021-11-1, 22:27 Reflections

Many different trends in the Reflections. There is continue excellence in writing, both analysis and fullness of thought. A few are writing short (very short). And some have gone silent a week or more.


Reflections are the easiest of our assignments, and have the biggest payoff for your long-term learning. Also, I love reading them, so thank you.

2021-10-29, 14:37 Background

P.S. Yes, I changed the site background just slightly to make it less glaringly bright. Better, worse?

Have a great weekend.

2021-10-28, 15:58 Experiment 9

A huge range of quality in this assignment. The strongest assignments paired clear metadata and a correct URL with a detailed paragraphs about why your maps was historically significant, with examples. Less strong were answers that indicate the map was important because it shows us the changes from when the map was published. That is true but not the definition of historical significance we’ve been using all semester. Why did these maps matter to people at the time they were made.

There was a decent amount of what I consider student fatigue, with short, vague sentences. "This is a map, and it shows changes in a region, and those changes are significant." When I see this I know students are struggling with multiple claims to their time and attention. So, to the extent that you can, take care of yourselves with sleep, positive reinforcement, and avoiding time traps. The third quarter of the semester is the roughest: keep going, we’ll get through it.

2021-10-27, 13:50 Cleaning Grade Book and Alternative Voyant Site

I’m spending today cleaning the gradebook, which involves comparing different parts of D2L.

2021-10-26, 15:05 Black Men in Teaching Program

If you are a Black man, please consider our Black Men in Teaching program. Black male teachers, especially in the k-5 system, are proven to have a disproportiately positive effect on the outcomes for all children.

Normandale’s program offers:

  • Full tuition
  • A cohort of other black men to take classes with.
  • A dedicated support system, including a program coordinator.

For more details, see:

Our reality in MN today is that Black men teachers are arguably the most potent force for social change we have. Want a better MN? Teach.

2021-10-25, 16:51 Reflections on Week 9

Honest comments on each other’s work in your Reflections. A couple of folks are struggling to write more than a sentence or two. Reflections are you learning journals, so all your learning during the week (big or small) is worth inclusion.

2021-10-21, 15:39 Break I don\’t really have a break during MEA, but I am grading and email many of you. Please take care of yourselves.

2021-10-19, 14:50 Quiz 9 Opening Quiz 9 is graded. Really clear who had done the map reading before answering question 6 on the map of Africa. Reverse image searches as part of SIFT would also have yielded strong answers. The Consultations are a bit slow this week. Looking forward to your questions and contributions.

2021-10-18, 14:29 Experiment 9 and Reflections – Reflections are updated. This class has fantastic, insigtful, honest reflections. Well done. – Experiment 9 wasn\’t showing until around 2 pm today. I\’ve fixed that error (my own) so refresh your browser. I encourage you to find a historical map of an area of interest to you. We write best when we write about what fascinates us. – Of modern note, in today\’s StarTribune Gov. Tim Walz on Monday unveiled a new incentive program designed to increase vaccinations in eligible teenagers — with the first-dose rate lagging below 60% in the 12 to 17 age range in Minnesota. The program offers $200 gift cards for new recipients in that age range who receive first doses between Oct. 18 and Nov. 30, and entry into a lottery for five $100,000 scholarships to attend college in Minnesota. Depending on the school you chose, $100,000 pays for an entire bachelor\’s degree. College, for free. Also, you and your loved ones will be protected from COVID, which would be wonderful as well.

2021-10-15, 10:10 Experiment 7 and next week Experiment 7 had a range of answers. The strongest paragraphs included all four required sources, with analysis, and clearly explained their reasons (with historical details) for choosing a year and region for living as a 16 year old girl. See Tristan\’s entry for a great example. The most original argument came from Pooja who pointed out that 1600 India was still Mughal ruled, and therefore not subject to the colonial whims of Britain. Experiment 9 will be smaller as there is a Break. I\’ll leave the due date the same, but feel free to submit it early. Similarly, the Consultation and Closing quizzes will be abbreviated. DON\’T FORGET that Opening Quiz 10 will still be due on Sunday night at the end of break.

2021-10-14, 16:28 Consultations Graded Students are doing a great job sharing their expertise, sometimes based on family history sometimes based on their interests, in the Consultations. Looking forward to your Experiment 8s tonights.

2021-10-13, 21:42 Consultation 8 No grading today, but as you can see from this week\’s Consultation board, I\’ve been writing up a storm. No new positive Covid tests in my family, so hopefully we\’ll move into the clear. Be well, stay safe, get vaccinated.

2021-10-12, 16:47 Experiment 6 A range of answers for the Timeline questions. The strongest answers supported their claims, such as the WDL timeline was the most useful with clear and evidence-rich examples. Shorter answers, such as I like to the colors that did not elaborate because colors allow me to group similar geographies or themes, allowing me to draw conclusions from lots of time events were less strong. Overall writing skill continues to be strong with good editing.

2021-10-10, 21:09 Update My family remains in quarantine, though thankfully no one has developed symptoms. I\’m still trying to figure out what I can do short of taking the week off as I now have to manage illness, my kids education, and our course. For this week: 1. Opening and Closing Quiz 8 is now extra-credit. Please don\’t email me about this week\’s quizzes- I\’m making them extra-credit so I can prioritize higher-priority learning. 2. I\’ve posted background readings about the history of Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam. Your assignment is to evaluate sources of these religions, but most students have little background with the history of these faiths. 3. On the question of religion, I\’ve come to recognize two issues with the study of world religions: A. Students struggle to see faith practices as dynamic, which means that 16th century believers expressed their beliefs differently than 21st century believers. B. Students struggle to divorce their beliefs from their study of the history of belief. Neither of these issues are insurmountable, especially once we acknowledge their existence. Thank you for your patience: I\’m hopeful to return to full-strength as you professor as soon as possible.

2021-10-7, 10:08 Out of the office With apologies, I need to take today and Friday off to care for a relative who tested positive with COVID. I\’ll do my best to answer emails as I can and minimize disruption to the class. Please get vaccinated. I am, but my family member is not allowed to be, yet. Vaccines, clean drinking water, and antibiotics are the three modern advances that have saved the most lives- and none was available to peoples in the pre-1800 world.

2021-10-6, 15:55 Closing 6 and Opening 7 quizzes The strongest Question 6 answers on rural life both answered the W questions(who, where, what, why, when, how, and historical significance) and noted something about the history of India (for which you did readings.) The strongest answers on the Tale of Genji question demonstrated that the student had used lateral reading to look up The Tale of Genji (which was a 1000 CE Japanese novel) to inform their answer. Noting that the novel was published in 1000 CE and the painting was produced in 1700 CE was good. Analysis that a 700 year-old novel continued to inspire art was great. Analysis about gender, dress, architecture, and or art trends was good if linked to the novel or Heian or Edo society. Let me encourage you to use the tools (SIFT, lateral reading) at your disposal when answering questions and to write more complex answers. For example, if I asked, given the history of opium in China, why do you think the Chinese are uninterested in British pharmaceutical companies?, and you didn\’t know the history of opium in China, you\’d look that up, right? We spend large parts of our day in front of devices that offer us more access to more knowledge the humans have ever had in the history of our species.

2021-10-5, 14:47 Reflections I\’ve brought Reflections up to date with grades. Two observations: most students are really hitting their stride, and writing better and longer Reflections as they grow comfortable with the assignment. In addition, those students who engage each other\’s work, as commented on in the Reflections, are performing best on the Experiments. Paying attention to others really helps you understand on what you want to say. If you are not regularly writing your Reflection by 10 p.m. Friday, let\’s chat to brainstorm a better calendar system for you.

2021-10-04, 14:43 Experiment 5 Lots of effort, producing varied results. The strongest paragraphs tied the background readings on Cervantes, Shakespeare, and Cheng\’en to word count analysis from Voyant, including the new article you looked up in our Library database. Many students did not indicate they\’d added stopwords, making that part of the assignment hard to grade. This assignment produced great elements for many students, but not always together. Also, we have our first instance of possible plagiarism. As a reminder, everyone can see everyone else\’s work, so stealing someone else\’s words both violates our student code of conduct as is easy for everyone to monitor. Most students work exceptionally hard for their writing, and would prefer their hard work is rewarded.

2021-10-1, 15:31 Quizzes Closing quiz 5 asked you to analyze a chart. Strong answers noted the rise of the word taxes in the last half of the 18th century and the static use of the terms hunger and famine. Opening quiz 6 had an error that read 19th children and should have read 19th century children. As the error made the question unclear, I awarded full points (4) to all who attempted it.

2021-09-28, 21:01 Interesting timeline entries in Consultations 6. Keep it up.

2021-09-24, 21:29 Experiment 4 Most students effectively used ngrams to make arguments. Those arguments did not often take into account the cautions that google posts about ngram viewer. For example, data before 1800 is really spotty, so word counts jump around greatly before 1800 CE. That said, I wasn\’t evaluating how strong your arguments were, only that you were making historical arguments based on data. The second paragraph proved challenging to many. The best answers clearly tied words counts to the three texts we studied to the historical background. Have a great weekend.

2021-09-23, 21:03 Hint on Opening 6 quiz For the opening 6 quiz I ask what questions you would ask of historical persons in a photograph. I mean what historical analysis questions would you ask yourself of the sources to understand it, not what questions would you ask the figures in the picture if you could magically go back in time. Looking forward to your Experiment 5 work. Experiment 4 grades coming tomorrow.

2021-09-22, 14:34 Closing Quiz 4 and Opening Quiz 5 Closing Quiz 4, question 6- strong answers tied specific historical information from the readings on the 16th century to fictional works of our authors. Weaker answers lacked historical evidence. Opening Quiz 5, question 6- Strong answers noted the word count difference and offered a historical explanation for those differences. Weaker answers offered speculation on meanings of words without any historical context. These two quizzes had some students answering in short sentences or entirely off topic. Not sure why there were so many 1 grades, but please check in with me if you are feeling lost. Together we can get back on track.

2021-09-21, 20:52 Experiment 3 Graded and Consultations I assessed Experiment 3 today. Most students did a great job including metadata. The strongest answers explained clearly and in a step-by-step way how their chosen metadata related to their articles. I wrote notes for many of you as feedback next to the grade, so look for that in the D2L Gradebook. Be careful if you use someone else\’s post as a model that you don\’t copy their thoughts. The whole class sees Experiments, and we can encourage academic integrity with our collective respect for others\’ work. Consultations are really slow to start, and I\’m not sure why. Lots of folks wait until Wednesday night after 8 pm, all but guaranteeing no one can read their posts or respond to questions in a timely fashion. Please, post questions or thoughts about the Experiment as you go Monday through Wednesday. Students with a grade of F currently should expect a contact from me: I want to understand what\’s going on and how to help.

2021-09-21, 12:21 Reflections updated through week 4 Your Reflection grades are updated. As a reminder, you can earn up to 5 points a week, which add each week, totaling 60 by the end of the semester. The most points you could have is 20 right now, and there are 60 points still available (12 weeks x 5 points). Your Reflections are much stronger, with good metacognition about how you are learning and how others are shaping your learning about history. Please always remember to include another student by name in your own Reflection. Humans are social creatures so by acknowledging others work, we build on our own.

2021-09-20, 16:45 Grading and Catching Up I graded Consultation 4 today, and the questions, especially from my World 2 students, were great. More grading likely to happen tonight, but I won\’t post on in until tomorrow. If you haven\’t done it already, please fill out this get to know you f0rm so that I can understand your better as a student. [Yes, I misspelled f-o-r-m with a zero: that\’s on purpose]

2021-09-17, 16:23 Emails and meetings That\’s been my day. Grading on Experiment 3 will have to wait, until Monday. Good to chat with a bunch of you by Zoom, Teams, and phone this weekend. No matter how bad the news of the day, talking with students always improves my day: so thank you!

2021-09-16, 15:45 Quizzes updated Closing Quiz 3, Question on Busbecq and the textbook article. Strong answers used specific examples to demonstrate an understanding of primary and secondary sources. Opening Quiz 4, Question on the biographies of Cervantes, Shakespeare, and Wu Cheng\’en. Strong answers offered specific examples of how an author\’s historical context influenced their writing. For example,Cervantes fought in wars and was a prisoner and you could argue his ridicule of knights springs from that. Weaker answers restated the question, such as we know something about Wu Cheng\’en from his fictional writings and his historical context. This is true but doesn\’t demonstrate to me a student understood how historical fiction can be used to study the past.

2021-09-15, 15:16 Reflection Boards back up Your Reflections board should look about the same, but I\’ve consolidated those student posts that were previously in several threads. Please always respond to your previous week\’s thread.

2021-09-15, 10:01 Reflections Boards offline today I need to take the Reflections Boards offline to fix them. You won\’t see them for a bit, but I\’ll have them back up by this afternoon.

2021-09-14, 16:29 Reflections 3 and Consultations 3 The Consultations were good and the Reflections were great. I love the honesty and analytical complexity of Reflections. For reasons I can\’t explain, students demonstrate learning in wonderfully articulate, complex, and humane ways in their Reflections (with small drops of humor). Keep it up.

2021-09-10, 13:59 Opening Quiz 3 and Experiment 2 The strongest answers related to Ghiselin used multiple, specific references from the historical context of the readings, not necessarily quotations from his work. What was going on around Ghiselin that helps us understand his world? If you look back your Historical Thinking Chart from week 1 you\’ll see good examples of context. Experiment two demonstrated a tremendous amount of thinking for most students: well done. Evaluating credibility is immensely important for explaining the past in an evidence-based way. It\’s also important for caring for our fellow humans. To give three examples: 1. Conspiracy theories spread on Facebook fueled a genocide of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar. 2. An immediate family member of mine in health care treats people dying of COVID because they believed vaccine conspiracy theories. 3. A former student of mine is in jail for a long time partly because conspiracy theories convinced him of the need for gun violence. Evidence-based history and thinking aren\’t just important to accurately describe our past, they are important because history shapes the world and the choices we face today. Wishing you a restful and fact-filled weekend.

2021-09-08, 14:24 Quesiton 6: Pine Calamari Most students effectively used SIFT to find that the page I referenced was a hoax. The strongest answers showed their work. For example: I searched wikipedia and found this. I then searches Snopes and found this. Finally, I attempted to trace this inoformation to a credible source and found this. Weaker answers referenced general processes I googled it and found it to be a lie which may be true but I can\’t see your work. History, like math, needs to see the work. Thank you to all who are scheduling Book It appointments to check in about their work. Little chats make big differences.

2021-09-8, 9:42 Reflections I graded Week 2 Reflections. For those wondering on how to reflect or respond to another student in their own Reflection, I\’m asking you to reflect on another student\’s Experiment or Consultation, not their Reflection. I model this type of response in the prompt at the top of the Discussions page, so please review their. Human learning is socially constructed. When you situate your learning in the context of someone else\’s learning, you learning is stronger. This is why I want you to mention another student by name and their Consultation or Experiment work in your Reflection.

2021-09-03, 16:32 Experiment 1 Not sure what happened in this class, but most folks only answered the questions in Lesson 1, and most of the answers were pretty weak. Sometimes the first couple of Experiments posted set the tone for the week, other times I have missed emphasizing some element. My other two sections answered all the questions in all the lessons, so I\’m going to puzzle over why this section did not. This class follows directions well (look how many of you have pictures or avatars in D2L), so my presumption is that there was a disconnect between my intention and your execution. Despite most folks missed more than 70% of the questions, I didn\’t think it fair to crush grades, so grades are all in the passing range. One of your classmates did answer all the questions, so, hmmm? I default to trusting my students (hence the moderate rather than harsh grades), and I\’m going to review instructions and subsequent guidance. Good luck with readings for week 3 and the Opening quiz, which closes Sunday night, as usual.

2021-09-03, 09:59 Question 6 on quizzes and grading guidance. I only give zeroes (0) for work I can\’t see. If you submitted work and it has a zero, it means I can not or did not see it. All work that I see gets some points. Question 6 Grading Out of 4 points. 0 points- Student gave no answer 1 point- Student answered something, often a single sentence 3.4 points- Basic understanding of historical skill 3.7 points- Developing understanding of historical skill 4.0 points- Competence understanding of historical skill Opening 2 Question 6 Strong reddit/AskHistorians answers demontrated a credibility-checking process that used lateral reading, getting outside of reddit to check its credibility. Weaker answers relied on a reading of just the site, or relying entirely on prior knowledge of reddit. There was no right answer to credibiity: what I wanted to see was a process, preferably SIFT. For your information, AskHistorians is reasonably credible as it is heavily moderated by historians, and removes known false information. Books and journal articles are better, but often less fun. Closing 2 Question 6 Explain in a few sentences any clues you have that indicated the source is credible or not credible. Upon reflection, I find this question to be insufficiently precise in what it asks students. Therefore, I awarded everyone a 4/4. * I\’ll grade Experiments this afternoon.

2021-09-02, 14:30 Tips for workflow and Experiment 2 Your fellow student, Li, has written out a workflow that you may wish to consider. I really like their notation. Lab Consultation 2 -> Lab Experiment 2 -> Closing Quiz 2 -> Lab Reflection -> Read/Screen/Take Notes on Week 3 Materials -> Opening Quiz 3 -> Lab Consultation 3 -> Lab Experiment 3 -> Closing Quiz 3 -> Lab Reflection -> Read/Screen/Take Notes on Week 4 Materials -> Opening Quiz 4 -> … The lessons in Check, Please! for Experiment 2 have Questions for Reflection,\ typically in sections labelled Discussion. Please answer all the questions, though I do not expect robust, paragraph-long answers for them. A couple of sentences is sufficient for most of the questions. For example: One of the understandings key to media literacy is authority is constructed and contextual. Different communities (scientists, reporters, politicians, psychologists, car mechanics) have different criteria for authority (constructed) and the type and level of authority you need may depend on your context (contextual). What other types of expertise could this issue benefit from? Answer: I think the issue of global climate change could benefit from multiple experts on the topic, including Allen\’s co-authors on the report. As well, indigenous peoples have climate knowledge that might help understand the issue.

2021-09-1, 16:09 Reflections I\’m still accepting Reflections for week 1 (see below). I\’m also grading these, and assigning zeroes if I don\’t see work. Don\’t worry, I\’ll give you full credit if you submit, but 0s get attention in a way even this note won\’t. On Reflections, there are 16 weeks and you can earn up to 5 points each week, which would by 80 points. Except I drop you lowest 5, which makes your maximum points 60. So, each week you do a Reflection gets you 5 more points toward 60, yes?!

2021-09-01, 11:35 Grades and grading 1. Your opening Quiz 1 and Consult 1 grades are recorded. 2. Two grades in each category (opening quizzes, closing quizzes, experiment) are automatically dropped. Four grades are dropped from consultations and reflections. After the first week of learning, I hold students to high standards for Consulations and Reflections, so expect some no-credit weeks if you miss a required element of your post. 3. D2L automatically drops grades. It only drops what it can see, so until you have more than the minimum dropped grades, you\’ll see dropped next to your grades. 4. I grade as soon as a can, typically the week after an assignment is completed. I grade 500 assignments a week. 5. If you are annoyed by this course, it\’s working. I designed the course to require regular, medium level attention. That ensures no binge and purging of information. 6. My pedagogy is rooted in decades of scholarship in teaching and learning, so I\’m happy to explain why I did something: just ask.

2021-08-31, 08:19 Experiment 2: what to answer Good question from a fellow student: should you answer the reflection prompts and the questions in what you post to Experiment 2? Yes, please answer both the Reflection prompts and the general questions in your submitted work.

2021-08-30, 16:05 Consultations thus far I responded to a couple of your Consultations this afternoon. Great start! It\’s normal to feel anxious as you navigate a new course. That anxiety means you care about your learning. Even if your anxiety emerges in uneven ways, I want to celebrate that you care about your education.

2021-08-28, 20:50 An apology MOTHER@#$@#% Sorry, I just changed a setting in D2L, and in two of my courses it wiped out the Reflections. D2L is rubbish, so I can\’t reverse the changes or check a database for where the Reflections went. I\’m sorry. Please check you Week 1 Reflection. If it\’s there in your Reflection discussion board great. If not, please repost your Reflection for full credit. My course, so it\’s my fault. My apologies.

2021-08-27, 15:39: Keep those questions coming and a Quiz hint I\’m enjoying the questions coming in from email. Going forward, I hope we can focus those questions to the Consultation board so that others benefit from your wisdom. As well, I\’ve experienced a problem, tried to solve it in this way, and would appreciate some help is a great email when asking for help. Question 6 for Closing Quiz 1 refers to the article Primary and Secondary Sources in History you read this week. I try to welcome every student in our opening Consultations. Check back to see my quick welcome to you.

2021-08-26, 20:56 Closing Quiz 1 A couple of y\’all took the closing quiz before it\’s start time of 10 pm, and were likely befuddled by old questions. I\’ll restrict the quiz to its start date in the future. I\’ve eliminated any attempts before 10 pm tonight, so everyone has the same 4 attempts (I want you get 100%, yeah) on the material for this week. Quick quiz: If there were a quiz called Opening Quiz 463, what week\’s reading would be on it? Very good, Week 463.

2021-08-26, 17:06: Navigating our websites

  1. If you enter the NYtimes through a google search, you get a certain number of articles a month free. So, if you know the article title, and you google search it, you should be able to click through to it. 2. Many, many articles in the Times are free, depending on the topic. There\’s not way for me to know which ones they\’ll put in front of or behind their paywall, but just clicking on a couple other articles might give you a free one. 3. If you have a Hennepin County Library card (free to anyone) you can access it here: Easiest way: 4. Sign up for a free NYtimes account through the Normandale Library with the following directions. How to Register for New York Times Website Access Courtesy of Normandale Community College Library 5. Go to 6. Click Create Account. 7. Fill out account form. Use your Normandale email address. Uncheck the box to opt out of marketing emails. 8. Click sign up. 9. Your access is good for one year from date of sign up. (At the end of the year, re-visit the link above, click the Log in here >> link for people who already have an account, login, and request another annual pass.) 10. Click Go to You are automatically signed in. 11. To sign in on other computers, go to and click the login button in the upper right of the screen. Log in with your Normandale email address and password you set when registering. 12. If you want, download the New York Times app from the iTunes or Google store and login with your email address and password for access on your mobile device. Note: Our subscription does not include access to the crossword puzzle app, Times Insider, or e-reader editions. provides only select access to The New York Times Archive and does not replace our library database coverage. 2021-08-26, 09:19: Three things 1. The Return to Enter lessons have five parts. Please post answers to questions in all five lessons to the Experiment 1 discussion board. 2. I drop your lowest two grades for quizzes and experiments and you lowest four grades for reflections and consultations. Consider it paid time off. You don\’t need to ask for grade extensions or exceptions, it\’s built in to the grading system. Also, for Reflections and Consultations, this lets me hold you to a high standard, failing a couple of less-than-best-efforts, while not hurting final grades. D2L will show all grades as dropped until you have more than the minimum. So, all your grades will be Dropped until you have 3 or 5 total grades, depending on the category. 3. I\’lll post a helper video later today to walk students struggling to understand the course. Stay tuned. 2021-08-25, 16:01 I\’ll be answering discussion board questions tonight. 2021-08-24, 14:16- Hint Hint: For the Return to Enter Lessons, all questions are marked with a pencil. Experiment 1 is answering all the Return to Enter Lessons. I\’ll post a model in the Experiment 1 discussion board. Welcome to World History 2. To get started, read this first