World History 1102, Fall 2016

Syllabus -- Schedule -- Assignments -- D2L

Welcome to our World History 2 (HIST 1102) Course page. All the "stuff" of our class is here. We'll use D2L to submit assignments, discuss, and view grades.

2016_12_14 Once you've turned in your final assignment, please login and participate in the survey of instruction. You can access it from the front page of our D2L course or in the quizzes section. I would link to it here, but the survey can only be for students in our course. Thank you!

2016_12_9 I'll start to post the assignment and class I'm grading right now on my blog starting on Saturday.

Please read the following before viewing your grades or emailing.

  1. Final grades are due by faculty on December 20th at noon to the Registrar. I will submit your grades sometime before that.
  2. I will soon switch D2L from showing blanks in the gradebook as null values (not calculated) to registering those as zeros. I do this after I've complete the major grading (see above).
  3. Data errors (as in, "I submitted that assignment and can see it in the Assignment Submission folder, how come there's no grade?") are easy to fix and I welcome your emails.
  4. Technical errors (as in, "I know I submitted that to the Submission folder, 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.
  5. Your class citizenship grades are based on your participation in discussions and respectful behavior towards other students.
  6. I am willing to discuss individual assignments, but not the final course grade. Please consider your communication carefully when asking for regrading.
  7. My grading scale is a standard 60-69 = D, 70-79 = C, 80-89 = B, and 90-100 = A. D2L will only allow me to round at .51, so that's what I will. 89.51 is an A, 89.50 is a B.
  8. I own all the grades (it's a weird college thing) 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 grades are in I must fill out a paper form to change it, and I can change it 5 minutes, 5 weeks, or 5 years after it's been submitted.
  9. 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, ability, or my afinity for you. Grades reflect what you turned in, and only that.
  10. Thank you for a wonderful semester. I will continue responding to emails and guiding your final assignments, I just wanted to get this grade post up before the weekend.

2016_12_7 I graded the Outlines and gave feeback. A common issue is narrowing the thesis to something manageable and accessible. A number of students offered thesis that talked about industrialization or the slave trade matttered. Whole books have been written on that. You have 4-500 words. To shrink your thesis to exhibit size, think about a conversation with a friend over coffee. You say, "I'm doing this web exhibit on X and it's cool because Y. Y had an impact on this specific region in this specific time, and it turns up in everyday life like z."

ALL sources must have a credible Publication, Institution, Author, and Sources. That means no sources designed for children (which won't include sex, violence or politics) no sources that lack a signed author who you can determine is an expert and no wikipedia or Britannica. You have access to all sorts of credible information through our Library website.

Some strong and interesting topics thus far. I think the exhibits could be great, with a great bit of work.

2016_12_7 I'll have feedback and grades on your outlines posted by this afternoon, giving you one week to revise your work for your final exhibit. For your information.

2016__11_29__ I just graded the Week 14 Discussions and wanted to applaud your efforts. Most of the class offered robust and honest posts and engaged each other in a way I wish I could distill and spread to all my online discussions. It's been a tough week as I struggle to grade and respond to increasingly panicked emails about grades. This discussion did a great bit to lift my spirits. Thanks.

2016_11_18 Sorry gang. It's 10:15 pm on Friday night and I've been grading and creating assignments since my kids went to bed around 7. I want to get the assignment up for Maps 2, but my brain is done. I'll get it up as soon as possible tomorrow.

2016_11_17 I'm catching up on grading, so you'll see a bunch of grades update in the next four days.
On a completely different note, we are approaching the 20th century in our study and thus, the people, nations, and ideas we discuss will become more personal. This class has done a great job respecting each other in discussion and I know that will continue. I regularly remind myself that when I'm talking about colonialism or issues of race and agency, those people are our ancestors. We're talking about someone's great grandparents, not abstract historical figures. Have a great weekend.

2016_11_11 The Numbers 1 assignment is now graded. To answer some of the questions: the big dip from 1914-1919 was mostly an influenza pandemic. Wars kill many, but only in war zones. Those that answered a world war got credit as that is part of the correct answer. The mean mortality in our village was 35.92, the median was 18 and the mode was 1. You should not be overly conerned about dying at 34 because you survived the mode death rate. One student correctly calculated that if you take out the mode deaths, your average life span rises to the 55.5.

2016_11_10 A number of you have emailed about difficulties with WordPress. I've resent the invitations to author on the blog to all students. If you have not accepted the invitation (and in some cases even if you did) you should be able to accept the new invitation to author.

VETERAN'S DAY: Friday is Veteran's Day. Service members volunteer to put themselves in harms way in service to our country. Regardless of your politics, that's a stunning sacrifice. If you know a vet, say thanks. There are also a number of organizations online that let you send something to a current service member deployed overseas. I've sent stuff with before. In a week of politics, I enjoy the non-partisan chance to express my gratitude to those who put duty to country above duty to self.

2016_11_9 A couple of notes. 1. The historic election has left many feeling anxious. I spent several hours talking to students today, all of whom had strong feelings about the election. As a historian I cannot encourage you pay attention to evidence and then pretend that this is a regular election. The evidence says otherwise. In the course of the campaign, Donald Trump expressed racist and sexist sentiments that left many of my students in physical fear. As a teacher there is a difficult balance of respecting my students' opinions while creating a safe space for all my students to learn. At this point, all I can say is that I am willing to talk with you if you feel anxious or sad.

  1. On sources of information for this election. I've seen a variety of news reportings on how many people hear only from others who agree with them while reading news or on social media. Conversations with students make me wonder about this narrative, particularly as it relates to generations. It seems to me that many students have friend, parents, grandparents, and extended family offer varied viewpoints. One advantage of history is that with time, we'll have a fuller picture of who communicates with whom about what, and what the conflicting information might tell us about various voters.

  2. I will return to heavy grading tomorrow after having spent most of today listening to students (and faculty) about their lives and concerns.

  3. Thank you to all of you for your continued civil discussions. Your respect for each other while discussing controversial subjects has made this class more productive and more enjoyable for me.

2016_11_8 A little nervous that so few students have accepted the wordpress invitation sent to your Normandale email accounts or posted to our discussion. Am I missing something? Are folks just busy? Join me!

2016_10_18 I graded Time II and Images I today. As has been the case, overall strong assignments. Many students used more general language with Images I, such as "this website would be useful." While that assesmenti s fine, evidence is the bedrock of history. The explression "for example" or "such as" are central to any thesis or argument in history.

I'm hurting tonight as a student who I take seriously wrote some unkind words anonymously and I became aware of them. So, like many who feel betrayed, I encourage you to never suffer in silence, especially in this course. I'll send out the mid-term evalulation before MEA and I encourage you to be courageous enough to speak praise or offer constructive criticism as you are led.

2016_10_16 Just graded the week 7 discussions and wanted to note one thing: the modern prohibitions against the depiction of Mohammed or human characters is the product of a particular strain of Islamic thought. There have been Muslim depictions of Mohommed and humans, especially in areas outside the Meditteranean. Our course doesn't go back this far, but Islam of the pre-1500 era was far more tolerant and diverse than Islam of the post-1500 era, when compared to contemporaries.

Right now I'm witnessing consistent and mostly high-level contributions from this class, and I'm thrilled. Keep those discussions robust - see the "Tips" below - and the assignments rolling in.

2016_10_04 I've posted Assignment Submission Folders for all of the remaining weeks. Please note, not all the assignments will use a submission folder, but several students have asked to have the folders there so they can see when everything is due. It's an imperfect solution as D2L doesn't actually show the Folder due dates in the D2L calendar, but it down locate them all in one place for those who've asked for that.

2016_09_30 Words I, Words 2, and Timelines 1 Questions grades are all finished. I'll work on assessing the discussions this weekend and look forward to your Timelines 2 assignment timelines due today at 8 p.m. I've only posted a half-dozen times this week as I've tried to focus on grading. I'll return to my give-take posting next week as we get into religion!

2016_09_27 D2L installed an update this morning that fixed the grading bug of last week. I'm grading again.

2016_09_25 The Time II Assignment has been posted. I wish I could've gotten it up earlier this week, but the press of emails and D2L grading snafus have kept me busy. Keep the questions coming- especially on Knighlab and how to make good historical arguments.

2016_09_22 Guidance for Online Discussions
80% of the discussion posts are solid. But there are 20% that are consistanlty off, so I'm offering some concrete guidance. I recognize this may be too much detail, but hopefull it'll help level the playing field.


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

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 not a good one.

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, as well as relate to other posts. A 3 entry will use opinion backed with evidence to analyze or respond to someone else's post. All posts should contain a minimum of three, well-considered and articulate sentences.

A 2 post has a strong point, but may not use the text 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.

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 other's 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 I just assess and send private messages of encouragement to students.


See video here.

2016_09_21 My office hours will be 12-1 today as I have a committee meeting.

2016_09_14 Bootcamp II graded. On the whole, strong analysis and solid writing skills across the whole class. A couple of short answers that make grading tough as I can not see your full analysis.

2016_09_14 A couple of grading notes. First, I automatically drop your lowest two quiz scores and lowest two discussion (online) or response (face to face) scores. D2L doesn't assignments or quizzes you haven't taken as zeros, only as null values. So, your first quizzes or discussion/response scores will be marked dropped until you have more than two scores in each grading category.

I turned on the automatic drop feature today, which is why you're seeing it now.

I'm giving credit for the plagiarism tutorial and get to know you form I asked folks to fill out in the "Read this first" and History Bootcamp documents. If you havent' done the tutorial or filled in the form, please do so now for credit. If you have a "0" or fail by those grades in D2L, its because I don't have a submission from you. Don't forget to give me your full name and have the tutorial send the email to [at]

2016_09_13 You may have noticed some slight changes to our course schedule and D2L quizzes. Based on feedback from one of your classmates, I added a "Do" section to each week to let you know when quizzes are do and along what readings the quizzes cover. I also included a reminder that you have discussion posts every week. On D2L, I made each of the quizzes called exactly what the week is called so that the title of the week "Time I" mirrors the quiz "Time I Readings."

Combined I hope these changes help clarify and remind appropriately what is due when.

2016_09_06 I'm off to Louisiana for a family wedding on Thursday. I don't think it right to curtail the amount of time you have to work because I have a family obligation, so no dates will change for our course. Please be aware, however, that I'll be limited to answering questions and responding to discussion posts to evenings or when my kids nap.

  • Several of you have emailed with suggestions (large and small) to make our course web page better or appreciating an element of our course. Thanks for all your comments and keep them coming. As usual, with quetions on assignments or the course in general, our D2L General Quetions Board is best.

2016_08_31 The Bootcamp II Assignment Submission folder is open for your assignments this week. I'm working on ways to make this web page more user friendly, partly by just stinking the useful links you need on every page.

2016_08_30- Questions about quiz. I received a question by email, the answer to which will be useful to all. Your quiz, which opens Thursday and closes Sunday is for the reading for the week to follow. Thus, I quiz you on your reading for the week ahead, not the week we just finished. Why? I want our conversations and work to be informed by the evidence. If I quiz at the end of the week, some students won't read until just before the quiz, making our discussions, well, less-than-useful. So, week two's reading is that which I will grade on for the quiz that closes Sunday. Make sense?

Plain text and using Markdown I ask that you write your papers in a plain text format. Whatever software you want to use is up to you. Every piece of writing software can save as .txt , which is plain text. Microsoft Word, Apple Pages, Wordpad, Notepad, Scribe, Markdown Editor, all save as plain text.

If you want to format your text (bold, itallics, insert a link or a citation) I ask that you use what is called Markdown. Markdown uses several common marks to format. There is no "extra" code behind your document, which is unlike almost all other software. In MS Word, there's a huge amount of code behind your document that includes the font, font size, margins, page width, color, spacing, and even language. For 98% of what you do for this class, you don't need all that stuff. I'm asking you to write words, and using plain text with Markdown lets you do that. You can also write a text file on any device, using any software meant for writing, including lots of good free apps.

This system has two other benefits: 1. plain text files (which are sometimes saves as .md or .markdown but are still just text) are as close to future and past proof as we have. Every computer since 1960 could read a .txt file and every computer until we die will be able to read it. So, we're writing as historians in a format will be durable. 2. Writing in Markdown allows you to publish to the web easily and without knowing how to code. Most of the web is in a code called html (hyper-text markup language). Given the importance of the web, I want to train all my students in skills they can use beyond my classroom, regardless of their careers. Using a writing format that lets you pivot from college to writing for the web just makes sense given how important the internet is to modern life (and jobs).

To get you up to speed on how to use Markdown, please read this (very) brief intro and complete a 10-minute tutorial.

When you write your Bootcamp II assignment, save as .txt or .md (or .mdown or an variety of .markdown). You can use whatever software you have on your computer to write, or explore other options. show you what your Markdown document looks like instantly, much like the tutorial. Other apps (such as Markdown Edit for Windows or MacDown can also show you your finished document as you compose.

Dates I use dates in the format. It's called the ISO 8601 standard. I use it because you can't mess it up (is it month first, year first?, is this paper I'm reading written by a Candadian?) and it corresponds with how most digital history tools that we'll use measure dates. Should you wish, you can add hours, minutes, seconds and miliseconds. 2016_08_23_20_45_23_12 is the 23rd of August, 2016 at 8:45 PM 23 seconds, 12 miliseconds past the minute. Geeky?, yes. Better than other systems- you betcha.