Syllabus- 1101-Spring 19


History 1101: World History from Prehistory to 1400 with Jack Norton

“You can best serve civilization by being against what usually passes for it.” Wendell Berry

“Learning is always rebellion . . . Every bit of new truth discovered is revolutionary to what was believed before.” Margaret Lee Runbeck

Welcome to World History. We will be doing what is called digital history for our course. That is, we will study the past by using computing technologies (mostly webpages) to create digital projects. I assume you are able to operate a computer (turn it on, open a browser) and no more.

There are no prerequisites for this course, and you do not need any specialized knowledge. The class will be taught in English, with occasional cheesy jokes and mild vulgarities in Spanish.

I want you to learn about the past, learn new skills about how to analyze and present about the past, and learn new ways of how to learn (called metacongition). The learning goals (or outcomes, fit in these three groups. The goals for this course are below. I may sometimes call these learning outcomes, or the stuff I want you to be able to do by the end of this course.

  1. Demonstrate a broad understanding of World History from pre-History through the early modern era (thirteenth through seventeenth centuries CE).

  2. Make use of historical thinking.

  3. Analyze historical sources, distinguishing primary from secondary sources;

  4. Communicate effectively using historical evidence and methods.

  5. Analyze and understand the diversity of peoples within their distinctive historical contexts.

  6. Develop strategies for advancing your learning skills, such as effective reading, writing, acquiring new digital skills and critically analyzing historical sources.

  7. Demonstrate an understanding of the ethics of acquiring, using, and presenting historical sources, as articulated by both professional organizations and historical subjects.
    Required Resources

  • A computer or access to a computer that has multiple browsers.
    Tablets and smart phones will not work for most work we do in this course.

  • High-speed internet connection. You do not need to have home access- you can use Normandale’s computers. For a map of public free wifi spots, see here.

  • Critical Mind

  • Yeah, that’s right, this course has \$0 textbook costs. Tell your friends.

Contact Information – Jack Norton

Office Phone: 952-358-8911.

Cell Phone: 612-208-3723 – Please do not send me text messages. No calls
after 7 p.m.

Email: [at]
Email is the best way to reach me. I respond to emails and calls within 24-36 hours Monday-Friday (most of the time much faster). On weekends I respond by Sunday evening.

Office: Fine Arts Building, F 2204 (In the little hallway connecting Science and College Services) of this map.

Office Hours: Monday and Wednesday 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 2-3 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to noon. Also, by appointment: we can always set up a time to chat 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. by phone or video (skype, google, facetime).

Course Policies

Attendance- Attendance is required! You need to check in with our course regularly throughout the week. In my face-to-face courses I take attendance. For online courses, I expect you to read, post, and otherwise contribute to D2L at least five times a week. The course grades are set up to reward students who work regularly on our course up and penalize students who do not. For example, there are no make-up quizzes or discussions, no exceptions.

As an incentive for regular attendance, online-only students who turn in all their assignments on-time, and miss no discussions or quizzes, will earn a bonus of 4% on their final grade. the same bonus is available to face-to-face students who have no absences for the entire semester.


Grades Items Weighted Percentage
Module Assignments 49%
Exhibits 10%
Discussions(Online)/ Response Documents (F2F) 22%
Quizzes 16%
Class Citizenship 2%

Grades in this course are weighted. To understand how this works, see this explanation.

BONUS: Bug hunt- If you find an error in any course materials that can affect learning (a broken link, an ommitted word that changes the meaning of an assignment), please email me with "bug hunt" in the subject line. I’ll give you an extra 1% on your next assignment. Reporting minor bugs, such as a misformatted web page or non-learning related spelling error, earn my thanks.

E-Learning- What you need to knowYou must use your student email for all emails to me. Despite the digital methods of this history course, this is NOT a learn at your own pace course. The due dates for assignments are hard (Thursday at 8 p.m.) and discussion boards close at the same time (for online classes). Online-only education allows you to learn without coming to campus, but it is in fact a more demanding form of college. Online-only students need to be a reasonably skilled keyboardists and comfortable with computer technology. If the words upload, download, convert to pdf, or "As Jon mentioned in his post on religion. . . " are foreign to you, an online-only course might not be the course for you. I want you to succeed, which is why I want you to be honest with yourself about your abilities. Face-to-face courses let me offer real-time support and are generally easier (or so report my students).

For all my students, to succeed in this course you will need to:

  • Turn on a computer and open a browser.

  • Watch streaming video from and other websites.

  • Navigate the Normandale Library website successfully.

  • Spell check everything.

For online only, you need to be able to:

  • Download and install software on your computer.

  • Recognize that written communication requires more careful word choice than oral communication. For example, sarcastic comments don’t work because you can’t read sarcasm, only hear it.

If you need technology help, you may call our IT help desk at 952-358-8181. Even better, ask them a question on Normandale’s “Ask Us” page, which will help track your request.

Late Work- Assignments are due by the 8 p.m. on Thursday for the week of the assignment listed in the course calendar. Assignments handed in late are penalized 15 points. Late work may be handed in until the D2L Assignment Submission Folder for late work closes, the penultimate week of class April 26th. Quizzes, in-class responses, and discussions may not be made up. Your lowest two quiz grades, discussion grades or in-class response grades are automatically dropped.

Reading and Writing- This is a reading and writing-intensive course. You will read up to 75 pages a week and write at least 16 pages of typed, doubled-spaced pages of text (total, not all at once). Writing guidelines for each assignment will be discussed in course and included on the assignment.

All work will be written in plain text in the Markdown syntax. When it comes to formatting your own writing, I assume you know how to turn on a computer, and open a web browser. Everything else I will teach you how to do with careful instructions and diligent follow-ups.

Grading- Written work, unless otherwise noted, will be graded according to a rubric (a grading chart,) which will be posted at the time of the assignment. If you are struggling with any assignments, please do not suffer in silence. Make an appointment with me so that we can address your questions. I succeed when you succeed.

Academic Standards

Students in this course will adhere to the rules of Normandale Community College’s Code of Conduct. Such rules prohibit plagiarizing other’s work (taking credit for someone else’s work or stealing work from the web) and creating a hostile academic environment for students or staff. Refer to your student handbook for the full Student Code of Conduct or see: here. We will work through how to properly cite material during the semester. Please be aware that the penalty for plagiarism is failure of the assignment, then possibly the course, and possibly dismissal from the College.

Do For a plagiarism tutorial and read these two short introductions to avoiding plagirism one two and take this four-question quiz to test your knowledge of plagiarism. .

Writing Resource- You are encouraged to use Normandale’s Writing Center as you create and rewrite your assignments. It is located in the central hallway between College Services and Fine Arts buildings. All good writers revise their work. Writing tutors can help you at any stage of writing.

Automatic bonus points: all writing assignments worth more than 5% of the grade that have been reviewed by the Writing Center receive an automatic 2% bonus.

When Life Happens

Normandale provides a broad range of support services for you. I strongly encourage you to use these resources as past student experience shows that students who use support services succeed.

  • Counseling- This department, located at the front of the College Services building provides personal counseling and can refer you to community services. For your mental health, they are there, including if you need an emergency mental health session. 952-358-8261.

  • In addition, enrolled students are eligible to see a licensed mental health provider on Normandale’s campus free of charge. Services include mental health assessment, counseling, consultation and outreach/programming. To schedule an appointment, please call 952-358-8926.

  • Academic Advising- This department can help you chose classes, an emphasis, plan for your transfer to a four-year college, and offer career advice.

  • Veterans Resource Center- a one-stop shop for information and support. 952-358-8501

  • Tutoring Center- Houses the writing tutors along with math, science, logic, reading and EAP tutors. Free and walk-in hours. 952-358-8830

  • Child Care- Here is a list of childcare providers nearest Normandale. You should also talk to the financial aid office about possible grants for childcare. Parents facing an emergency choice of missing class or bringing their children to class should bring the kids.

If you are a parent, you should also talk to our Finanaical Aid department about the the MN Childcare Grant, which can pay for a portion of your childcare.

  • Office for Students with Disabilities-I welcome all students to this class, regardless of their different abilities. Normandale Community College is committed to providing equal access for students with disabilities through the Office for Students with Disabilities (OSD). If you experience educational barriers because of a disability, please make an appointment for an intake/interview to discuss these needs and to implement appropriate accommodations for your Normandale courses. Appointments are available by calling the OSD staff at 952-358-8625, emailing, or stopping by the L2751 office. This syllabus is available in alternate formats upon request.

  • Success box- I have the following items available outside my door to students who are facing economic hardship and need a bit of help: toothpaste and brush, soap, shampoo, and deodorant. I also have warm weather hats and t-shirts and snacks inside my office.

  • Internet- If you have a student in your home who qualifies for free lunches, your household qualifies for a low-cost (\$10/month) internet connection from Comcast. See here for details.

  • Showers- The bathrooms in the lower-level of the Koop Student Center have showers, which can be used any time the Student Center is open.

  • Homelessness- C 1032, Nath Advising Center – Advising and Counseling Services, 952-358-8261

  • Immigration Legal Advice- Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota, 651-641-1011,
    Available Food Shelves in Municipality – Student Resource Center, 952.358.9349,

  • Nursing Mothers There is a lactation room in the basement of the the Library building, adjacent to the women’s bathroom. You can get a key card from the security department that will give you access to the room for the semester. Security is located across from the theater.

  • Food

  • Normandale’s Campus Cupboard | campuscupboard | Activities Building A2503 | 952-358-8119

Fall Hours:
• Monday-Thursday 8:00am-6:00pm
• Friday 8:00am-2:00pm
The Campus Cupboard is Normandale’s food pantry. Students can visit the pantry once per day and can get up to 3 items each visit.

  • VEAP | | 9600 Aldrich Ave. S. Bloomington, MN 55420 |952-888-9616

• Monday-Wednesday, Friday 9:00am-4:30pm
• Thursday 9:00am-6:30pm

VEAP offers food resources including a food pantry to residents in Bloomington, Edina, Richfield, and parts of south Minneapolis by appointment. They provide social services related to financial assistance, bus passes, and referrals. VEAP also has a Mobile Food Pantry located at:
• Southgate Apartments (8100 12th Ave S, Bloomington, MN 55425) on Wednesdays 2:30pm-4:30pm
• Dar Al-Farooq (8201 Park Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55420) on Fridays 12:30pm-2:30pm

  • Good in the ‘Hood | |612-440-7463

Good in the ‘Hood has two pantry locations and offers other food resources and programs.
Pantry Location and Hours:
Cedarcrest Church (1630 E 90th St. Bloomington, MN 55425)
• 1st and 3rd Tuesday of every month from 5:00pm-8:00pm
Beacon of Hope Church (2827 Newton Ave. N. Minneapolis, MN 55411)
• 2nd and 4th Thursday of every month from 5:00pm-8:00pm

Hunger Solutions has an interactive map with locations of free dining sites, food shelves, farmers market, and more food resources and organizations.

This website can also be a helpful tool to search for food pantries by city.

Why are grades on D2L but most of the course material are on

The Federal Education Rights Privacy Act requires that all computer systems with access to private student data (like your grades) have a secure login. I’m not willing to maintain this type of system, so we use D2L for those items related to grades. For everything else, having the course avaiable on the open web is a superior option. If you want to know more, please see me. The tl;dr is that the open web is better for access, accountability, and responsive teaching.

Changes will be announced on our course website.

Image of Comic About Credibility

I reserve the right to amend this syllabus to better facilitatestudents’ learning. Changes to the syllabus (if any) will be announced
in the news section and an ammended syllabus will be posted on the classwebsite.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License