World History 2 (1102) Face-to-Face, Fall 2019

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2019-12-20: All grades submitted
Please read the following before viewing your grades or emailing me.

  1. Final grades are posted and accurate in D2L.

  2. I haved switched D2L from showing blanks in the gradebook as null values (not calculated) to registering those as zeros.

  3. 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.

  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 consultations, reflections, and respectful behavior towards other students. I also look at attendance for face-to-face 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. I round at .56. So, a 79.56 is a B and a 79.55 is a C.

  8. 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 grades are in 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.

  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, effort, ability, or my afinity for you. Grades reflect what you turned in, and only that.

  10. Thank you for a wonderful semester. My out-of-office email reply is on, but I will respond to students as soon as possible.

2019-12-17: Experiment 15 graded

Students chose quality articles and the summaries provided were, overall, strong. A couple students chose 20th century topics, not 19th century. A couple students chose actual historical articles, not articles about modern topics that addressed 19th century racism.

I note that your classmates reflected personally on white supremacy's origins and how it impacted your lives. I intended the assignment (partly) to help students see that everything has a history, including racism, and that history can be well-practiced outside of academia. This was not intended as an exercise in morality: I assume you are against white supremacy, then and now. That said, I want to acknowledge the pain that a number of you expressed about about racism today and let you know I am available to talk, now or in the coming semester.

2019-12-17: Experiments 13 and 14 Graded

Experiments 13 and 14 have been graded. The biggest issue with 13 was students posting to the correct group and using a name I recognized. If you have a "0" for Experiment 13 and did it, please contact me so we can discuss your work.

Experiment 14 was largely good. The strongest answers to the AfricaMap questions had specific examples, such as "I note that large portions of the Mediterranean sea switched from Ottoman to Western European control between 1800 to 1900 CE."

I'm doing nothing but grading now, so I hope the rest of your finals are going well. Final grades must be posted by December 24th at noon and I leave my D2L courses open until Normandale deletes them in two years, so you'll have access to both your grades and your work.

2019-12-6: Experiment 11 and 12 graded and next week

Students universally summarized well. Many students cited websites created for National History Day projects or blog projects by high schoolers. While those blogs may have cited sources, they were still written by high school students, who are not experts. More concerning were the blogs that had sources but no authors. Unsigned work is almost always not-credible only because we can't evaluate the author's crediblity.

Your final assignment will be available on Monday and will be due the following Monday at 8 p.m. It will about the same size of an assignment as you normally complete, but you will have atypical control over the topic and tools you use.

2019-11-20: Experiment 10 Graded

Overall, strong answers to the statistics questions. Several students didn't answer the last block of questions, so a quick reminder to read the instructions thoroughly.

2019-11-15: Failures

I failed several times this week, first not posting this week's readings and then mis-posting them. The readings are correct now and the quiz corresponds with the correct readings. If you took the quiz before today, let me know and I'll zero out your score. My apologies.

As a teachable moment, let me note that this situation is one reason I like publishing all my materials to the web: it promotes accountability. ****


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2019-11-1: Experiment 8 Graded

I've assessed Experiment 8. Overall, strong reviews of museum collections. In the summaries of the collection I was looking for students to note the geographical, temporal, and (if relevant) thematic organization of the collections. For example, this museum had many 12-14th century coins from India and China, but very few painting from those countries. When it came to evaluating historical significance, I was looking for an evaluative statement about the collection, such as "this collection contains mostly small devotional materials that everyday people used, that may not reflect the larger beliefs of the time." Anything that indicated you evaluated how the collections is historically significant earned higher marks.

On the question of using your collection for a book, student answers that included specific examples were the strongest. General statements, such as "yes, this collection contains a lot of information for a book" were less clear than "a writer could use the paintings in this collection to understand different Buddhist sects in India during the 18th century."

2019-10-25: Still sick(but trying)

I'm still pretty sick, but am trying to grade and post as much as I can. Thank you for your patience as I climb out of this illness.

2019-10-23: Continued absence

I beg your further indulgence as I am still a bit feverish. Minneapolis public schools ask kids not to come back to school until they are 24 hours post-fever, which seems like a good model.

I will be absent Thursday, 2019-10-24, from Normandale.

The Closing quiz 9 and Opening quiz 10 are now posted. Apologies for the 4 hour delay. There will be no 6th question this week as those take significant time and effort to find relevant sources and craft brief but illustrative questions.

2019-10-22: Out sick

With apologies, I am home sick with my son: we're both sick. I've lost my voice all together so email is definitely my friend. I'll try to return to campus Thursday.


2019-10-18: Experiment 7 Graded

Some fantastic posts this week: I encourage you to go back to the Experiment 7 discussion board to see some of the strong historical thinking evidenced there. The best pieces tied their themes tightly to the chosen sources, showing specifically how source A, B, C, and D related to the theme. Some chose to talk about sources without specifically tying those sources to the argument, which is less effective.

Students made similarly strong arguments in arguing for being a girl in 1600 or 1800 India or China. Again, showing why based on your specific sources showed a stronger command of the material.

2019-10-14: Opening Quiz 8 did not have feedback

Basic: Student searched internet for the words, and related the words to some theological teachings. 
Developing: Student searched the internet for the words, and related the words to a specific theological idea related in the readings. 
Proficient: Student correctly identified the words as song lyrics, and offered a tie between specific words and a specific religion.

The original song is from a group known as The Indigo Girls who use abundant metaphors. There was no right answer, only those that made stronger or weaker arguments tying the lyrics to specific religious beliefs as articulated by your readings. Several students seemed to take the lyrics personally, wrting about how the words revealed something about their personal belief, using first person plural "we," or "us." As we are discussing historical religions, contemporary belief is not terribly useful and can obscure the nuance of historical belief.

2019-10-7: Closing quiz 6 and opening quiz 7 graded

The question on rural life in India had answers of various strengths. The strongest answers asked "W" questions (who, what, when, where, how, and historical significance). For example, referencing the 1876 of 1899 famine and whether it was before or after 1858 when the British government took over direct colonial rule.

The question on The Tale of Genji resulted in weaker answers. Answers seemed to indicate that students did not look up what The Tale of Genji was, or when it was published. All of the responses only focused on what was in the picture, and did not apply any of the SIFT techniques we used in the first couple weeks. Adding wikipedia would have told you that The Tale of Genji was published around 1000 CE, and remains a formative novel in Japanese literature. Answers that incorporated the 700 year difference between when the painting was created and when the story was written were stronger. Answers that recognized that the painting was responding to a story, and not attempting to capture realistic view of Japanese life, also demonstrated competence.

A student asked me how much one needs to answer to get full credit for quiz questions. I cannot imagine an answer that would get full credit with fewer than three sentences and that references the prompt, the historical context of the prompt, and the readings for the week (even if implicitly.)

2019-10-4: Week 7 For Your Information

On Wednesday, October 9th I'll be heading to Atlanta to present at the International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning. You can see my a description of my talk here.

All of your grades will be the same, and the due dates for your assignments will not change. I will continue to answer questions and converse with you on the discussion boards as usual.

My face-to-face course will not meet on Thursday, but will turn in their work normally.

I have made the assignment for this week straight forward technically.

I am adding an office hour on Tuesday from 1-2 p.m.
2019-09-23 Closing quiz 4 and Opening Quiz 5
I've grade these two. Closing 4 included mostly strong answers. Opening 5 included several conclusions that were not supported by the limited evidence included in the graph. A strong answer would include some sentiment such as "these are four word counts in the works of three author's: it's hard to draw any conclusions from this limited data without some wider context." We'll talk more in class.

Kudos to the student who recognized how an allegory works.
2019-09-19: Exhibit 5 posted

Experiment 5 is posted. Please disregard this earlier post. I misposted from my world history 1 experiment. I included a larger html file and a smaller pdf file. The larger html file is over 5 mb, which is a huge single page, especially for computers with just a little RAM. The smaller pdf file loads faster, though it has actual pages, not a continuous scroll. Questions? Hit me up in our consultation discussion for Exhibit 5.

2019-09-11: Reflections graded

I've read and graded your reflections. I'm impressed by the thoughtfulness of most reflections. You will earn 5 points for each reflection. Over 16 weeks, that sums to 80, but I am going to drop the lowest two, so your total in the gradebook is out of 70 points. As of today, 2019-09-11, you should have 10 points for two weeks of reflections. A very few of you will have 15 points as you already turned in your week 3 review.

Here are some things to consider in your reflection:

  • This assignment is to reflect on your learning. Some weeks you may focus more on new knowledge you gained, other weeks you may focus on a new skill. I find it all fascinating and useful, just keep those groups (knowledge and skills) in mind so you aren't writing excursively on one.
  • Honesty works best for these. If you had a rough week, didn't understand something, or struggled with motivation, it's better to write that as you discuss your learning as it will shape my next week's teaching.
  • Comments about what you think should or shouldn't be in this course can be honest reflections, but they are not reflections on your learning. As the professor, it's my job to include relevant information, and I have. Reflecting on your interests and how some subjects engage you or turn you off is great. Telling me how to do my job reveals little about your learning and doesn't help me help you learn.
  • Students did a great job copy editing their reflections. I found almost flawless capitalization, punctuation, and language usage: keep it up.
    2019-09-9: Closing quiz 2 and Opening quiz 3

The quiz that asked you to evaluate the Tree Octopus (Closing 2) revealed most students are using SIFT to evaluate sources. Please continue to use SIFT as you evaluate sources, remembering that you cannot evaluate a source based on the source alone: opening new tab is your research super-power.

The quiz on Busbecq revealed our class has widely-different understandings of "historical context." Several students attempted to quote extensively from Busbecq, but did not reference what else was going on in 16th century Turkey and the Mediterranean.

Thus far I've graded credit/no credit on Experiments. Going forward I will include learning goals on which you will be assessed using a rubric.

2019-09-4: Grades for Quizzes and Feedback on Opening Quiz 2

For your quizzes, you will typically have 6 questions: 5 multiple choice questions at one point a piece and one open ended question. Multiple choice checks your comprehension of the reading. The open ended question lets me gage your ability to think historically. I want you to consider how you are developing as a historical thinker as well, so I'll always include an explanation of what basic, developing, and proficient answers look like after you've submitted your answer.

My experience is that students demonstrate learning better when they know they'll receive immediate feedback and they learning is not high-stakes in terms of a grade. So, there are four grades for the open-ended quiz question:

0 = you wrote nothing
3.5 = you demonstrated basic historical thinking skills
3.7 = you demonstrated developing historical thinking skills
4 = you demonstrated proficient historical thinking skills

95% of students wrote in complete sentences with formal language and appropriate capitalization and punctuation, as expected, when answering the open-ended questions.

Because I need to grade the open-ended questions, your immediate grade will appear as an F, such as 4/9, until I grade the open-ended question. I will grade quizzes within one week of when they are submitted so we stay in conversation about where you are as a thinker.

I graded the Opening Quiz 2 and my feedback is here: . Please read carefully as most students did NOT accurately evaluate AskHistorians (which I expected and is normal for this early in the semester).

For students looking for help navigating D2L, here is a video playlist of how to do things. Playlist is on youtube


The lab experiment and consultation will be posted Monday before noon. FYI.

The closing quiz is for after you have completed the other assignments for the week. I did not put a start gate on it, as I did not think students would try to take it before completing the rest of the work. I will revisit that assumption. Closing questions will be available by 3 o'clock on Wednesday afternoon. The closing quiz for week one is live.

Welcome to our World History 2 course. On this website you will find most material that you need to prepare for our weekly work. Your grades and graded material will be housed on D2L.

Before you do anything else in our course read this first

Please watch this space as I will post class anouncements here, along with tips on how to succeed in our course.

Looking forward to a great semester. I have confidence you can do well in this course.