World History 1101, Fall 2018

SyllabusAssignmentsSchedule D2L Home

If you’ll be in World History 1 (1101) with Jack Norton this fall, please read this first.

2018-12-12 2018-12-12 See the note on my home page

2018-12-6 Late night assurance Your grades for your outline/bibliography will not be based on getting a perfect thesis or sources. I expect around 1/4 of the students to change their subjects after getting feedback and almost all students will refine and narrow their theses. Great questions about sources thus far! I’ve answered 60 source questions by email in the last 24 hours alone (and I enjoyed talking to the three of you who called too).

2018-12-6 Guidance on the Exhibit Outline/Bibliograph Several students have asked for an example of a finished exhibit. Here is a link to an exhibit from a Spring 2016 class. Please note, this exhibit, like yours, will be on the open web until such time as you take it down or make it private. The exhibit is not perfect, but it gets does a very good job presenting evidence with various sources and linking everything together.

A couple of notes:
– You primary sources will be 200 years apart. Your secondary sources should all be written after 1945 and well outside the period you are studying.
– A GIS map is any map that has an interactive component. That is, a map that multiple layers of data, which can be maniputlated. Harvard’s WorldMap collection is a place to start.
– A thesis is: provable (you can argue chocolate ice cream is the best flavor, but you can’t prove it); non-obvious (Augustus changed the face of the Roman world – true but obvious); brief (one or two sentences); an opinion backed by evidence (you can’t “talk about” something, you have to take a side and advance an argument.”
– If you can finish this sentence you will likely have a thesis: “this exhibit will demonstrate that X shows Y about Z in the past.”
– The easiest physical object for you to use is a book: a regular, go to the library shelves and check it out book.
– Historians never start research with the internet: we always get a book, raid the biblography for sources, and then look for more material. We work from big secondary works backwards to primary sources.

2018-11-27 Numbers 2 Graded Overall, a solid assignment. I’m not posting the answers to the open web, yet arithmatic was not a major issue. Many students confused percentage change (%) with absolute change (which was in dollars -$-). As a class we’re still working on what constitutes a credible source: remember, you cannot evaluate a source based on the source itself, you need to read laterally: what are other people writing about the source? Is it referenced by others, or did you get to it by google just because it’s been around from a dozen years.

Let me say how proud I am of some of you, my math happy students. It was clear from many of your answers how comfortable many of you are with using math. Well done.

2018-11-20 Numbers 1 is graded Most folks did a great job answering all the questions. I noted which questions you did not answer or answer correctly/completely in the feedback session.

A couple of notes on the questons:

The mean age of death in the village was 35.92 years. Given the high number of child deaths, however, your chance of dying is fairly low. Recalculating the age of death without the 1 year olds made the mean age of death 55.56 years. I also accepted statistical explanations that used median and mode to explain why you wouldn’t need to be worried about dying in the coming year.

Some students did not answer the age questions, perhaps because they thought the questions rhetorical?

There where multiple right answers to the stability of the price of wheat question. The closer you tied you answer to evidence, including citing an article from the week’s reading, the easier it was for me to give you full credit. Answers that focussed on long-distance trade, such as the silk road, did not receive full credit. Wheat is heavy and spoils if it gets wet. A full, corrrect answer would have noted the necessity of a government feeding a population to maintian control, the stability of agricultural practices in England, the role the plague played in decreasing the population in the 14th century, and the limited role trade could play to keep prices even.

2018-11-20 Social Media Assignment Please give yourself enough time and consider what you have learned about credibility and history for this week’s assignment. Finding credible information from social media is arguably the most-challenging assignment you will complete this year.

2018-11-14 Words I and II Graded The analysis was all over the place. Some students did a close reading of the articles and then summarized them in their assignments. Several students fully grapsed the power of distant reading and dropped some outstanding analysis, comparing political speeches of competing candidates or truly long articles (more than 4000 words) to show clear connections between word counts and meaning. The biggest grading issue for me was that some students didn’t indicate if they had used stop words. Any indication that stop words had been used got credit. As a result of this issue, more 70% of students got the same grade on Words 1, which was 100% for 3/4 categories and 33% for the stopwords category.

2018-11-2 Maps 1 Graded Overall, very good. A reminder, if you have a “0” I didn’t see your work. There were at least 12 records without names on them. If you are lacking a name, please put your name in the title of the record and email me the title of your records. This assignment was in Omeka- Neatline- Groundstories.

2018-10-30 Citation assignment I’ve added a citation assignment. You’ll read a web page, watch a video, and then take a quiz. I’ve added this assginment to ensure we’re all on the same page in terms of expectations for citation for your final project.

2018-10-26 Time 2 and Images 1 and 2 Graded Please double check your assignments before submitting/saving them. Most of the assignments have learning goals at the beginning of the assignment and the grading criteria at the end of the assignment. Particularly for the Omeka assignments, many students completed most of the requirements, but did not do one required element. It happens, this is just a little encouragement to double check. As we say with woodworking, measure twice, cut once.

2018-10-10 Time 1 Graded Mostly strong assignments. A number of students did not include a learning goal for themselves, which hurt some grades. If you submitted an assignment but received a “0,” I didn’t see your assignment. If you submitted the assignment on time, please be sure your name is in the description box and email to tell me the title of your resource and that it has your name on it. I’ll go back in and grade then.

2018-10-10 Reminder for Face to Face students There is no class today. I’m grading in my office and am happy to answer questions here.

2018-10-5 Maps 1 Demonstration Site For students who wish to see an example of a full historical map of the type you’re learning to build in the coming week see .

2018-09-28 Discussion Grades Your discussion grades are up to date. 90% of the discussion posts are strong. Please review the grading guidance below for help if you’re not getting all 3s. The biggest issues I read is when students fail to reference each other’s posts or the evidence for the week. Happy weekend.

2018-09-19 I’m catching up on grading this week. The grade book may get moved around, but what assignments are worth won’t change from the syllabus. A number of students haven’t filled out the “Get to Know Your Form.” If you don’t have credit for it, please fill it out here .

2018-09-17 Two discussion (online students) or response documents’ (face to face students) grades are automatically dropped. D2L only drops what it can “see,” so even if you have three grades that are 100%, D2L will drop two of them. Your lowest two quizzes are also dropped. Life happens, computers fail, and I consider these built in drops part of a teaching philosophy that holds students accountabel for what they know without penalizing them for the everyday problems.

2018-09-16 _ONLINE ONLY:- Making our discussions better

I’m grading discussions for weeks 1, 2, &3. You’ll note that each week is worth 3 points. Guidance on how I grade is below. Because I haven’t given guidance on how I grade in great detail, I’m grading “lightly” the first three weeks.

Those who write exceptional posts or post their first post by Tuesday night (and there are many) may receive a 3.1 out of 3.

Please respond to the first thread (whoever writes first) of the discussion. Creating your own thread breaks up the conversation into silos, and I’m hoping for more big-tent conversations.

The first line of the post prompt will always include how many times you must post to receive full credit. Please try to make our first post before Wednesday night at 8 p.m. to allow for a full discussion. Three posts in a row at 7:50 Friday night is a monologue, and doesn’t help your fellow students.

A “post” is a single entry in the discussion board. Two posts will require two separate entries. For everything in this class, doing the minimum earns a passing grade (a C). Discussion posts will be graded 1, 2, or 3.

A 3 indicates a well-considered post, written in complete sentences. It should reference both the weekly reading or image (specifically), as well as relate to other posts. A 3 entry will uses evidence to advance opinion in order to analyze or respond to someone else’s post. All posts should contain a minimum of four, well-considered and articulate sentences.

A 2 post has a strong point, but may not use the evidence or refer to other’s ideas. A 2 post may also be too short (a couple sentences) or too long (many rambling paragraphs) and lack a clear point. It may have a couple errors of usage, but not many.

A 1 post makes not a great deal of sense, but relates marginally to the topic at hand. It does not reference a specific source nor others’ posts. Quick “I think this is cool” or “what Fatima said” posts will typically earn a 1. As well, dropping in multiple posts right before the Friday deadline at 8 p.m. will earn a 1 as these are not contributing to a conversation, but merely offering short monologues for points.

Not posting earns a 0. I’ll grade as quickly as possible. Discussions will run from Monday until Friday night at 8 p.m. I’ll try to post subjects as early as possible even if the discussion board isn’t open yet.

Spell check your posts. It’s the little abc button in the bottom right. See it? Repeated failure to spellcheck or use of text language will earn lower discussion grades. You deserve a capital “I” not an “i.”

Most discussion posts will ask you to make an argument about a subject. An argument is an opinion based on evidence. This evidence comes from both primary and secondary sources, but also from your existing knowledge. For example, when arguing over the justice or injustice of a subject, you have an existing comparative model: modern U.S. and MN laws. Everything can’t be related to the present, but we don’t exist in vacuum. My best advice for useful and interesting discussion posts is: a. have confidence in yourself and your arguments. And b., be as clear as possible in your logic and your language. Historians are lawyers of the past: evidence and good judgment are our guides.

I participate in the discussions in different ways. Some weeks I chime in regularly, particularly with controversial subjects. Some weeks I’ll just ask questions to help move the discussion. Some weeks (rarely) I just assess and send private messages of encouragement to students.


One of your fellow students asked for guidance on how to email me. Here is a list of email guidelines. I’ve adapted it from a longer list of email guidelines created for the University of Minnesota. You guys are doing a great job of reaching out to me by email: keep it up.

2018-09-14 Time 2 Assignment is up. Please click on the appropriate Omeka link (online or face to face) to get to our Omeka sites.

2018-09-8 The Time Assignment is up (15:00). You can read through the assignment and then check your email from Omeka to start working. Your username is your full name, as listed in D2L without spaces or capitilzation.

2018-09-7 I’m still working on the assignment for the week. It requires I build a bunch of web pages all together and enter all the students in by name. The assignment isn’t complicated, but the prep is. I’ll have it up as soon as possible. You can see version of the assignment here This semester’s theme will change how you engage the material, yet the tools are similar.

2018-08-28 Thanks to the two of you who found the plagiarism tutorial link was broken. I’ve fixed it in both the schedule and the syllbus. For a brief video introduction to our course, please see here

2018-08-26 – This course page is where I’ll provide useful guidance for the course. For example, I may remind you of upcoming due dates or give hints for how to work through a particular assignment.