DIL Syllabus

Welcome to the Syllabus for Cameron Addis’ History 1301 & 1302 Distance Learning Courses (DIL). These are not purely online courses because you’ll be taking your five exams on computers @ ACC Testing Centers or, in some rare cases, with registered Distance Testing proctors.  You won’t be attending lectures or an orientation, though, and the Digital Textbook is free.  Keep in mind that the course load is equivalent to a 16-week college course, even if you’ve signed up for the 6-, 8- or 12-week course.  It transfers to 4-year schools like Texas, Texas A&M, Texas State, etc.  It’s doable if you put in the time, effort and thought, but it’s not a backdoor route to college credit.  You’re already at the site; just click on Chapters in the navigation bar above for either 1301 or 1302.  Your official Orientation is to read this Syllabus over carefully and check in on Blackboard, which might not be up for your section until a week or less before your course starts.  If you do not check in or take the first exam by the first exam deadline I will withdraw you from the course per federal financial aid regulations.  I cannot and will not reinstate you in these circumstances.  Instructions how to check in can be found near the end of the Syllabus.  Do not take this orientation lightly.  Skipping the process of reading the Syllabus and saying you did is an absolute grade-killer, trust me, and you won’t realize it until too late.

The Course Calendar is on the Bb Announcement Page, and at the very bottom of this page or with these page jumps.

Course Calendars >>
Calendar Fall 2017 16-Wk 1302 Session
Calendar Fall 2017 12-Wk 1301 Session
Calendar Fall 2017 2nd 8-Wk 1302 Sessions
Calendar Spring 2018 2nd 8-Wk 1302 Session
Calendar Spring 2018 12-Wk 1302 Session

While these courses require learning factual information as a foundation, their emphasis is on critical thinking and historical context, including interpretation, argumentation, understanding cause and effect, and explaining change and continuity over time.  Two overriding goals are for students to develop reasoning skills and to become informed citizens.  The courses present an unvarnished look at American history and introduce students to controversies over historical interpretation; however, students are not required to take any given side in these debates.  Each student is required to engage in an interpretative debate on the Discussion Board in an informed, respectful, and articulate manner.  Book reviews allow students to go in depth on a subject that interests them.

I’ll send correspondences to your ACC email; check the Gmail account you received when you registered from time to time.  Always include your five-digit course synonym number in your email titles, so I can find you among sections I teach on Blackboard.  You can begin taking exams only on or after the date your class officially begins.  This is not a self-paced course with all the work due at the end of the semester.  You’ll need to hit deadlines for the exams, discussion board posts, and book review.

For general information, see: Distance Learning Student Handbook

Instructor

Cameron Addis, PhD
History Professor
Office: CYP 2204.18
Learning Lab: CYP 2109-2110
CYP History & Govt. Tutor: Vanessa Faz
*Or Any ACC Campus L.L.
BrainFuse: Bb > Tools > BrainFuse
Office Hours:  M 10am-12, 4:30-8:00pm, W 4:20-4:50pm
Summer Office Hours: MW 1-4pm
Or By Appointment, Email, Google Hangout & appear.in
Phone: 512-223-2134
E-mail: caddis@austincc.edu

The basic course requirements are as follows:

  • Take 5 Objective Tests @ an ACC Testing Center Based On Chapter Learning Objectives
  • Post One Short, Analytical Essay in Blackboard In Which You’ll Assess An Argument & Use of Evidence From An Outside Article & Respond to My Follow-Up
  • Write a 5-Page Review of An Authorized History Book for an A or B

What follows below is a more detailed syllabus, including descriptions of the Discussion Board posting, Learning Objectives, and Book Review guidelines.  This is a Core Syllabus, for all the distance learning sections.  Once you’ve registered and the course appears, also find your section on Blackboard (Bb) and read the Announcement on the opening page.  Familiarize yourself there with the buttons on the left-hand toolbar.  Be aware that this Syllabus may include different protocol than previous courses you’ve taken, at ACC or elsewhere.  Please don’t email me to check-in and say that you’ve read the syllabus if you haven’t because that inevitably leads to confusion down the road.  Also, feel free to ask any questions that you might have.  I’m here to help you.

Course Description
The Course surveys the major developments in American (not just U.S.) history and its people before 1877 (1301) or after 1877 (1302). It also includes examples of conflicting interpretations of the progress of that history and a program of historical research. For information regarding the course description, common learning objectives (other than my own), and SCANS Competencies access the history department’s 1301 Master Syllabus & 1302 Master Syllabus.
Aside from the parameters of ACC’s History Department and the Texas Legislature, the course operates within the broad Core Guidelines established by the American Historical Association in 2012 (aka “Tuning”).

History Department Welcome & Expectations Link
1. The History Department does NOT offer “extra credit” in any of its courses.
2. The History Department requires a substantial writing component requirement for an “A” or “B” in any history course.

Instructional Methodologies
Students will read the Textbook online with Learning Objectives to help them focus on preparing for the five exams. In addition, students will post a 300 to 500-word reaction to the textbook and outside article on the Discussion Board within Blackboard, along with a response to my follow-up question concerning the topic they write about.  Blackboard requires you to check in with your ACCeID (the same you use for most ACC logins) and includes announcements and access to your grades (and no one else’s).

Course Rationale
The Texas Legislature requires students to take 6 hours of American history to graduate from an institution of higher learning in Texas. This course helps fulfill that requirement with 3 credit hours. Always check with your adviser concerning which classes transfer to which colleges.  Students taking either History 1301 or 1302 can expect to improve their reading and writing competencies, critical thinking skills, research skills, etc., all of which help students succeed in life outside academia. The exams and Discussion Board will develop and test your critical thinking skills, the Textbook will foster reading comprehension, and the Book Review will hone research and reading skills.

Required Textbook & Materials
The Digital Textbook is free (click on Chapters above).  The chapters are more detailed than the level of information you’ll need to know for the exams.  Have the Learning Objectives with you and go over them before you read the chapters — these are your study guides and reviews for the upcoming exam.  You may want to open the LO’s in a separate window.  Learning Objectives are the key to success in the course.  The questions they pose are not the same as those on the exam; you need to be able to play around with the material in your head, not just memorize facts.  There are links to the Learning Objectives for 1301 & 1302 under the Chapter Menu.  Read over the information at the top of the LO page to help hone your reading skills.  Write a few sentences or even a paragraph for each LO.  Learning to distill essential information from more complicated material is a critical skill to develop as you move through college (it’s the single biggest determinant of who ends up with degrees).  I advise taking 15-20 minutes to complete this Developing Critical Reading Skills workshop to get an idea of what will help you succeed in the course.  Our textbook readings have numerous links embedded in them.  They’re not required and, in fact, I discourage you from opening very many, but you can use them to attain more information or to clarify terminology.  Use the maps to help orient yourself geographically.  Always push refresh before starting a chapter, and familiarize yourself with the zoom in and zoom out functions in your browser to get the font to a size you’re comfortable with.  Make sure to read chapters from the U.S. I column for HIST 1301, and U.S. 2 column for HIST 1302.

Grades & Grading Scale:

200 Points Total =

5 Exams x 30 Points Avg. = 150
1 Discussion Board Post = 20 (15 Initial Post + 5 Follow-Up)
1 Book Review = 30

Scale:
A   180-200 — 90-100% of 200 w. BR
B   160-179 — 80-89% of 200 w. BR
C   120-159 — 60%-79% of 200 w. BR
C   102-170 — 60-100% of 170 (no book review)
D   85-101 — 50%-59% of 170 (no book review)
F     <  85 w. NBR

You must complete all five exams, regardless of your total.  You must complete a Book Review (BR) to get an A or B.  Grades are based on how many points you accumulate and nothing else.  It’s not based on what grade you desire or need for this reason or that.  There is no extra credit or curve.  I stick to the grading scale.  If you feel uncomfortable with the grading criteria, take a different course.  Do not, under any circumstances, whine or beg for a higher grade at the end of the course if you are a few points shy of a higher category.  We have to have cut-off lines somewhere, and over the course of your college career, the times when you are just over or just under cut-off lines will balance out.  By checking in and signing off that you’ve read the syllabus you are agreeing to that policy.  However, you’re always welcome to argue about and/or discuss the actual substance of questions and historical interpretations — in fact, I welcome it.  You can’t challenge anything from earlier in the course at the very end, though.  You must challenge when it’s fresh, before you move on to the next assignment.

Course Policies
Those who want to withdraw from the course should do so by the course withdrawal deadline, listed on the course calendar.  Make sure to obtain your W from Admissions & Records on your own.  Also, be mindful that you have a finite amount of W’s to use up (3 in your first two years, and 6 overall).  Be aware of Census Dates early in the semester whereby you can withdraw with no W showing up on our transcript.  I’ll grant an I, or incomplete, to students with medical emergencies and a note from a doctor who have completed over half the course, but not for any other reason.  I’s are not for the sort of life events and busyness that all of us experience.  You need to push through and not procrastinate by “kicking the can down the road” to the following semester when your life will undoubtedly be just as complicated.  If you get an I, you must finish your coursework in the first four weeks of the following semester or your I will roll to an F.

Testing Center Policies & Distance Testing

You’ll be taking your exams in ACC Instructional Testing Centers (ITC’s) online in Lockdown Browser mode, meaning you can’t access the same exams from a remote location.  Scantrons won’t be necessary because you’ll be taking the exam on the Testing Center computer.  Take a photo ID with you when you go to the Testing Center and hang on to the feedback form (receipt) they give you, in the unlikely event that your score evaporates from the system.  Hang on to your receipts until the end of the semester, after you’ve confirmed your scores.  You will also need my name (Cameron Addis), the Course Abbreviation and Number (HIST 1301 or 1302), the Synonym and Section Number (five- and three-digit numbers in course schedule/catalog and on the calendar below), and Test Number.  Here are Testing Center Locations and Hours.; you can test from any ACC Testing Center, however, keep in mind that RGC (Rio Grande) is temporarily closed for renovations, except on Fridays.  After the course begins, you can take the exam anytime the testing center is open up to and on the due date.  You will do your test in one sitting with no time limit.  Make sure that all your questions (especially that last couple) are SAVED before you push the SAVE & SUBMIT button at the end of your exam.  From the next page, push OK at the bottom right-hand corner to see results.  For questions you miss, there will be Feedback that ties the item to a specific Learning Objective.  There is no re-testing.
There are no notes of any kind allowed in the Testing Centers.  Concealed handguns are not allowed in ACC Testing Centers per these handbook guidelines.

Distance Testing
In rare cases, students can take the course outside of Austin if they can locate a registered proctor to monitor the exams.  Here’s a link to our Distance Testing protocol.  For security reasons, I only use Proctors listed on the ACC network.   It’s up to the student to initiate this process by filling out a transmittal form (see Distance Testing site) and emailing the PDF to Clark Peterson at Distance Learning (cpeterso@austincc.edu).  Make sure ahead of time that the proctor has updated Respondus Lockdown Browser software to access the exams in Blackboard (Bb).

DL Academic Components
Our course revolves around objective exams you’ll take at Testing Centers, a Discussion Board post you’ll submit on Blackboard, and a Book Review for students seeking an A or B (for details on the Book Review, see the section below).

Exams
There are five multiple choice exams averaging 30 points each.  You can take the exams early, before the deadline, once the course has started.  The questions are drawn directly from the Chapters and Learning Objectives (link above), even though the questions aren’t the same as the Learning Objectives.  You could think of the Learning Objectives as your Study Guide — how you prepare and review for the test.  You’ll take your exams in one sitting in any of the ACC testing centers.  With your ID, they can free up the Lockdown Browser in Blackboard.  You must complete the exam in one sitting.  There is no re-testing.  Unfortunately, we can’t provide direct feedback on the exams because people are coming in and out of the testing centers taking the exams at different times.  The only way to really go over an exam in detail is to come to office hours and look over the exams after the deadline is passed.  At no point on an exam will I ask you for precise dates or figures, though they appear in the text to lend context and scale.  Some of the questions involve all-of-the-above or none-of-the-above options.  Those are a more thorough way of assessing if you’re well prepared on the subject matter but aren’t a “trick.”  Prepared students do well on such questions.  If there’s any question you think is unfair or problematic I’m more than happy to go over it with you, and I drop questions if at least a plurality doesn’t get the question right.  Don’t email me immediately after taking an exam, though, if you’re feeling emotional; give yourself a while to calm down and get rational.  Email me the following day when the material is still fresh but you’ve calmed down.  

The number of questions on each exam is as follows:
1301: 30-31-32-27-30 reflects the greater amount of reading in some units
1302: 30-30-30-30-30

Discussion Board Post
You will post one short, analytical essay to a Forum on the Discussion Board within Blackboard by the end of the 3rd unit.  The deadline can found on the Calendar for your section.  The assignment is to find another article outside our textbook on a topic that you find interesting, then assess how the outside article adds to, or contrasts, with our textbook.  How does the author of the outside article make use of primary sources (documentary evidence from the time period in question) versus secondary sources (what others have written or said about the topic) to support his or her case?  Four good places to find articles are Real Clear History, History News Network, Origins and Digital History: ControversiesHistoriography.

This video is aimed mostly at teachers, but it’s worth watching to better understand primary sources and the type of questions historians (and students) must ask when analyzing primary source evidence.  These include considering issues like multiple claims, sourcing, context and evidence-based claims:

You should ask yourself where the primary sources (evidence) come from in your secondary source article, who generated them and why.  How might they differ from other perspectives?

There are detailed instructions in Blackboard.  Click on Discussion Board in the left-hand toolbar, then on Forum.  Click on Create Thread and enter your post.  Your initial post will be roughly 300-500 words long and explain what’s interesting, controversial and/or relevant about the topic you chose.  Explain how the author treats the topic in the outside article.  Make sure to reference your outside article’s title and author, or include a link to it.  I’ll ask you a follow-up question, and you’ll respond to that as well.  Don’t be surprised if I counter your position or play devil’s advocate in the follow-up.  I may ask you to do some follow-up research online or in the History Hub digital library.  You may want to draft your post in WORD and copy it into the Forum so that you can run it through Grammar-Check.  I will count off for sloppy writing.  If you draft in the box, make sure to push SAVE DRAFT if you navigate away from the page before submitting your response.  Also, make sure to push SUBMIT.  The initial post is worth 15 points, and the follow-up worth 5, for a total of 20 points.  In your follow-up, please paste in my follow-up question so I know exactly what you’re answering or, easier yet, push QUOTE instead of REPLY.

Course Prerequisites
ACC Students should have a COMPASS Essay score on Reading & Writing of 5 or above.  There are no prerequisite courses required.  Keep in mind that you can take HIST 1302 before 1301.

Departmental Contact Information
Students can contact Dr. Al Purcell, Chair of the ACC History Department at the Rio Grande Campus (Attaché Building, Rm. 214), or by phone 223-3398 or email: apurcell@austincc.edu.

Request for Student Contact Information
You’ll be contacting me via email (link in Blackboard if you’d prefer) during your Course Check-In.  Since we won’t be using group blogs or Wikis, your personal contact information will not be shared with other students.  Always put your course, section and synonym number in your email subject lines (e.g. HIST 1301-003-34334), because I have many students and I might need to know what class you’re in to answer your question.  I’ll generally initiate my contact with you through the ACC Gmail account, so check that periodically.  If you’d be so kind, remember these three things when contacting me (the instructor):

1. Include your full course number so that I can find you in Blackboard.  Otherwise, I won’t know where to look for you among numerous separate Blackboard sections.
2. No need to ask me questions regarding registration, waiting lists or payment, as I’m not involved in that.  For registration-related questions, refer to Admissions & Records.
3. It’s not a big deal, but my last name is Addis, not Caddis.  It’s common for people to list a first initial at the beginning of their email address.

Technology Expectations
This course does not require elaborate technology, but you’ll need internet access, a browser, and should have anti-virus software installed on your computer.  Anywhere from 2GB of memory on up will suffice.  You’ll need to submit your Book Review as a WORD attachment in Blackboard toward the end of the course.  Refer to the following Technical Skills Checklist to assess the tech requirements and expectations in more detail.  Those that want to communicate through Google Hangout rather than in-person can use your Gmail account.

Student Academic Readiness & Instructor Expectation
This course is designed for mature students with self-discipline and responsibility.  As mentioned at the top, the course load is equivalent to a 16-week college course, even if you’ve signed up for the 6-, 8- or 12-week course.  The hours it takes you to complete the work will vary from person to person.  In any event, you should be the sort of person that keeps a calendar and understands how to meet deadlines.  Students should have a TSI-COMPASS Essay score on reading and writing of 5 or above.  There are no prerequisite courses required.  Keep in mind that you can take HIST 1302 before 1301.  This course is for self-starters prepared to tackle college work (sometimes in a sped-up timeframe), not for people looking for an easy or quick way to meet the course requirement without taking a real class.  Successful completion of the course transfers for credit (if not always grade) to the University of Texas, Texas State, Texas A&M, Texas Tech or any other four-year public school in Texas.  Refer to Learning Style Survey to gauge whether distance learning is an appropriate format for you.  Not all of the tests will necessarily be due on the same day of the week — you can adjust to that.  On the Discussion Boards, be mindful of Netiquette.  Refrain from profanity, rudeness, etc.

Students who are struggling can not only consult me but also take advantage of free tutoring at ACC Learning Labs and via Brainfuse (real-time tutoring).

For BrainFuse:
1) Through the BF Homepage Select “Tutor Match” or “Live Help”
2) Under “Select Topic” Select Social Studies
3) Under “Select Subject” Select History

“Tutor Match” will take you to pre-scheduled sessions you can schedule through “Live Help.”

Deadline Policy
Be aware that I hold students to deadlines.  Basically, my policy is unbending, but the penalty is fairly light for the first four Exams and Discussion Board.  That reduces confusion and cuts down on unnecessary haggling.  There’s no need to contact me about the matter.  If you take an Exam late or post to the Discussion Board late, you lose five points.  The exception to this is the final deadlines for the fifth Exam and Book Review, for which I don’t accept any lates after the deadline.  It’s best for everyone involved, student and instructor, to wrap up the course by the end of the term.  If you’re the sort person that gets upset if an instructor doesn’t let you miss deadlines or straggle across the finish line late, for what you consider a valid excuse, sign up for a different section.  Refrain under all circumstances from begging and explaining why the circumstances of your life prevent you from doing the work.  If you’re busy or overwhelmed, drop the course; the world won’t end.  Otherwise just do the work.

You can take exams early once the term has started.  You cannot take exams late, though, without a five-point penalty.  There is only one exception to this rule.  If you have a serious illness or injury and email me a scan of a doctor’s note.  If you pester me for an extension for any other reason I’ll double the penalty to ten for a late exam and/or discussion board.  I hold to this policy for three reasons.  One is that not holding students to deadlines is unfair to those who work hard and make sacrifices to meet them.  Second, while you personally are no doubt an upright soul, anyone could make up any story anytime for any assignment.  Short of subjecting people to lie detector tests, I would have no way of knowing.  Third and most important, we’re preparing students for employment situations where deadlines might matter.  Jobs vary, of course, but there are several lines of work where deadlines count and, in most of those cases, the whole concept of excused or unexcused is irrelevant.  Why should colleges reverse train students for their future job experience?  If you’re uncomfortable with this policy, sign up for a different class.

ACC College & DL Support Service Links
The following Distance Learning Student Handbook provides you with the support and reference information to successfully complete the course.  You can also consult the general Student Support & Success System.

Student Accessibility Services
Each ACC campus offers support services for students with documented physical or psychological disabilities.  Students with disabilities must request reasonable accommodations through the Student Accessibility Services office on the campus where they expect to take the majority of their classes.  Students are encouraged to do this three weeks before the start of the semester.  Keep in mind that there is no time limit on the exams in the Testing Centers.

Veterans Affairs

Feel free to approach me with any issues or questions you might have.  Veterans can consult the ACC Office of Veterans Affairs at Highland Mall Campus and talk to advisers and counselors.

Concealed Handgun Policy
The Austin Community College District concealed handgun policy ensures compliance with Section 411.2031 of the Texas Government Code (also known as the Campus Carry Law), while maintaining ACC’s commitment to provide a safe environment for its students, faculty, staff, and visitors.  Beginning August 1, 2017, individuals who are licensed to carry (LTC) may do so on campus premises except in locations and at activities prohibited by state or federal law, or the college’s concealed handgun policy.  It is the responsibility of license holders to conceal their handguns at all times.  Persons who see a handgun on campus are asked to contact the ACC Police Department by dialing 222 from a campus phone or 512-223-7999.  For further information see: austincc.edu/campuscarry.

*Be aware the ACC Testing Center’s are Exclusion Zones, meaning that concealed handguns are NOT PERMITTED, even in the lockers outside.

Scholastic Dishonesty & Academic Integrity
WARNING: Scholastic Dishonesty will not be tolerated. Acts prohibited by the College for which discipline may be administered include scholastic dishonesty, included but not limited to cheating on an exam or quiz, plagiarizing, and unauthorized collaboration with another in preparing outside work.  Academic work is defined as, but not limited to tests, quizzes, whether taken electronically or on paper; projects, either individual or group; classroom presentations, and homework.  There are no notes of any kind allowed in the Testing Centers.  Downloading or plagiarizing any part of book reviews is forbidden, as is handing in a paper you’ve submitted in another course (or someone else has used in another course). I might also ask you into my office to discuss suspicious passages or words in a book review.   Any student guilty of scholastic dishonesty will automatically receive an F in the course and be remanded to the appropriate Austin Community College authorities for disciplinary action.   See the ACC Student Handbook for details on scholastic dishonesty.  As the Handbook explains, you cannot withdraw while under investigation for scholastic dishonesty.  If you’re unclear in any way about plagiarism or issues regarding scholastic dishonesty, take this tutorial.

Student Privacy
Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) protects the privacy and confidentiality of educational records. So, to protect your privacy, grades will not be given out over the phone, through a fellow student, posted outside my office (even with the last four digits of your social security number) or via e-mail.  All communication concerning grades will remain between the instructor and student and exclude parents, spouses, friends, etc.  You can also choose to not have your e-mail available for the Blackboard system.

Faculty Evaluation
We encourage you to complete an online faculty evaluation form to provide feedback.  Here is the link.


FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions

So…what do we do?
Always the first question that occurs to any of us when we take a course.  Take the time to slowly and thoroughly read the Announcement on your Blackboard page and this Syllabus.  Then, if you have specific questions beyond what’s mentioned, feel free to email me.

We take five multiple choice exams at ACC Testing Centers after reading chapters that you can link to in the banner above.  You consult Learning Objectives as you’re reading the Chapters to prepare for the exams.  Those are your study guides.  The Course Calendar (in the syllabus) explains when you need to take the exams, as does the calendar below.  This is the Syllabus.  You’ll also post to the Discussion Board once based on your impressions of an outside article you’ll read and answer a follow-up question about your post.  The deadline for that comes just after the 3rd of 5 tests and is also listed on the calendars.

Does the Exam need to be taken before the deadline?
No, you can take it on the deadline.

When on the Due Date can we take the exam? 
Any time that the Testing Center you’re going to is open.

Can we take exams early?
Yes, but only after your course begins.

Are Notes allowed when taking the test?
No.

When do the Testing Centers close?  That may vary from campus to campus, so check the Hours & Locations.

Is there Extra Credit?
No. But if you have extra time to devote to the course, you can spend more time preparing for the exams and writing a good paper, etc.  Most college courses grade on quality, not quantity.

What if the Learning Objectives don’t align with the test?
Some students have claimed that test questions aren’t connected to the learning objectives.  There’s a free A in the course if you come across a test item that isn’t tied to learning objective and can prove that to me during an office visit (spoiler alert: there is no such item).

Do we have a Study Guide
The Learning Objectives are the study guides.

What do we need to know for the Exam?
Ditto – Learning Objectives.

Do we have a Review for the Exam?
Ditto – Learning Objectives.

Do I read the chapters for U.S. I or U.S. II?
Those in 1301 read U.S. I; those in 1302 read U.S. II.

What scores do I need on the remaining exams to get a certain grade?
Figure it out yourself.  It’s arithmetic, not calculus or algebra with x’s and y’s.  Figure out the total you need, subtract your running total and calculate what you need on the remaining exams, posts, or reviews.  If you can’t do the math, let me know and I’ll be happy to help you through it.


Book Review
Those aiming for an A or B in the course (or needing to pull a D or F up to a C) will write a ~ 4-5-page (double-spaced) Book Review, worth 30 points.  See Grading Scale above.  Make sure to check your prospects before deciding to go forth with the book review; you might already be in the C category and still get a C even with the review.  If you are not sitting on a 75% or so by Exam 4, it’s probably not worth it.  You must choose a pre-approved book; you will not receive credit otherwise.  Like any Textbook, ours can only provide a very general overview; otherwise, it would be millions of pages long and take years to get through.  This is, after all, an introductory survey course.   But everything we touch on has a deeper story behind it.  In this assignment, you’ll choose a book to go more in-depth on a particular topic, person, episode, interpretive controversy, etc.  That will give you more detailed insight into a topic, or perhaps allow you to see a more human element in history than the Textbook has time to delve into — more similar to what you’d see in movies or read in fiction.  Depending on the topic, you may be able to see things from the eyes of people who lived the history.

You’ll choose a book from either the period 1492-1877 or 1877-present, depending on whether you’re in 1301 or 1302 (or at least a time period that significantly overlaps).  The vast majority of choices are non-fiction, but there are a handful of fictional novels on the pre-approved list below, too.  The topic of the book you choose could be anything that interests you about history or may stem from your own career goals.  Whatever profession you’re aiming for, it has a history in its own right and has been shaped by history.  For instance, a dentistry student can choose The Excruciating History of Dentistry by James Wynbrandt.  Or a 1301 nursing student might choose Stephen B. Oates’ biography of Clara Barton or Laurel Thatcher Ulrich’s A Midwife’s Tale.  A 1302 computer major might enjoy a biography of Alan Turing.  All of the books on the approved list are historical in nature, though, not analyses of current events.

You will choose from the approved lists below for 1301 or 1302.  Unfortunately, I can’t allow you to read any book of your choice because too many people just review a book they’ve already read.  The only exceptions are those who want to read a history related to their occupational goal and can’t find a suitable title, in which case I’ll help you look for one.

1. You can choose from these pre-approved lists for:
1301
1302
You do not need to get approval for any of these books; they are pre-approved.  

2. Or, you can consider the list of winners and finalists in history for the:
Bancroft Prize
Pulitzer Prize

3. Or, you can consider these titles from the ACC Libraries.

4. You can also consider popular histories from the following authors, as long as the specific book you choose has to do with American history and falls into the time period of either 1301 or 1302.  Clear these choices with me, though, since most of the authors have a broad range of books, some more suitable than others.

Stephen Ambrose
H.W. Brands
Douglas Brinkley

Fawn Brodie
Richard Brookhiser

Timothy Egan
Joseph J. Ellis

Shelby Foote
Doris Kearns Goodwin
S.C. Gwynne
James Haley
Max Hastings

William Hogeland
Walter Isaacson
Annie Jacobsen
Erik Larson
Jill Lepore

Ben Macintyre
Charles Mann

Jon Meacham
David McCullough
Candice Millard

Edmund Morris
Daniel Okrent
Nathan Philbrick
T.J. Stiles

Barbara Tuchman
Simon Winchester

I’ve provided links to their Amazon pages here and many have cheap used copies available, but most of the books are available in ACC’s libraries.  If any ACC branch campus has the book, they can send it to the branch nearest you.

Format the approximately 4-5 page book review as follows: 

Note: for book reviews, you can just put the page number in parenthesis after a sentence that uses a direct quote.  Or, if you’re using Kindle®, you can put the % (how far into the book you are) instead of a page number.  You don’t need to cite outside source but, if you do, you can use either the MLA or Chicago-Turabian (Footnote) method to cite them — whichever you feel more comfortable with.

I. Describe why the topic is important or what drew you to the topic in the opening paragraph.
II. Summarize the contents for two-three paragraphs — in your own words, of course.
III. Explain the author’s particular angle for two paragraphs (read reviews to help in this portion).  What is the author’s thesis?  Do you find the author’s argument convincing?  What sort of biases does the author bring to the table?  In this part of the review, use some direct quotes with page numbers in parenthesis (p1), unless you’re using a Kindle.  Do a little research on the author.  It’s worth noting, for instance, that Fawn Brodie — the author or a biography of Joseph Smith — is a lapsed Mormon.  That’s an extreme case, but each author has an ax to grind.  Why did he or she write the book?  In this section, put a greater emphasis on the author’s thesis than his/her biases – that is the key.  What is the author trying to argue?
IV. Analyze how well the author employs primary source evidence and other secondary sources in marshaling his or her argument.
V.
Finally, conclude with how well you liked or disliked the book and why in the last paragraph.  Would you recommend it?  How did it change your view of the subject or your view of history?

While you should use the outline suggested above, don’t leave the outlining in your paper.  “Take the scaffolding off the new building” by merging the paragraphs and using transition sentences between the sections.  Submit your paper as a WORD attachment in Blackboard.  Don’t try to paste it in the box, or that will mess up the formatting and I won’t be able to download it.  You’ll find the Book Review Assignment tab on the left-hand side toolbar in Blackboard.  Blackboard will run it through SafeAssign to check for originality; plagiarism of any sort will result in an F for the course.

You can find some my comments on your paper in the drop-down portion of the score box in Bb Gradebook after I’ve graded it, but for inline/textual comments you must go back up to the Submission area.  The 30-pt paper will be graded 66% for content (20), and 33% for writing/grammar (10).  Make full use of the WORD Grammar-Check feature to clean your paper thoroughly.  Under WORD (upper left), go to PREFERENCES and click on GRAMMAR & SPELLING.  Have your document set to Standard (Formal is the “King’s English”).  Why 33% of your grade on writing/grammar when this isn’t an English class?  So that I can understand what it is you’re saying about history for the other 66%.  Sloppy papers send the wrong impression to professors in any class or, more importantly, future employers, clients, customers, etc.  We all slip in and out of different modes of speech, but be able to slip into solid Standard English mode, regardless of what line of work you go into.  A college degree carries with it that expectation.

Two other notes: put book titles in italics (or underline) and non-fiction books aren’t novels; a novel is fictional.  Either mistake will cost you one point on the review.


Online Orientation: Check-In & Check-Out
Your official Orientation is to read over this Syllabus and understand what’s expected of you.  Then, go into Blackboard — available a few weeks before the course begins — log in with your ACCeID and find our course.  Once in the course, read over the Welcome Announcement. Then, find Course Check-In in the left-hand toolbar, click on that, and follow the check-in directions.  Basically, you’ll write that you’ve thoroughly read over the Syllabus and understand its contents and what’s expected of you, and pass along contact information (including phone#) I can use if our ACC Gmail connection fails.  Also, please tell me your current degree plans.  This orientation is mandatory.  Failure to do so in a timely manner at the beginning of the term will result in forfeiture of student loan money for this course.  This will suffice as your check-in for the course.  As far as checking out, there is no formal check-out required, but look at your grades on Blackboard and make sure that you don’t see any discrepancies.  If you do, contact me via email.
DIL-Bb-CourseCheckIn

DIL-Bb-CourseCheckInCHECK

DIL-Bb-CourseCheckInSUBMISSION

Calendar Fall 2017 16-Wk 1302 Session
August 28 – December 17
HIST 1302-34525-020
Final Withdrawal Date: November 27

1 Exam 1: Chapters 1-4 (4) Friday, September 8
2 Exam 2: Chapters 5-8 (4) Friday, September 29
3 Exam 3: Chapters 9-14 (6)
Discussion Board Posting
Discussion Board Follow-Up
Friday, October 27
Wednesday, November 1
Saturday, November 4
4 Exam 4: Chapters 15-18 (4) Wednesday, November 22
5 Exam 5: Chapters 19-22 (4) Monday, December 4
Book Review Due Friday, December 8

Calendar Fall 2017 12-Wk 1301 Session
September 25 – December 17
HIST 1301-34498-160
Final Withdrawal Date: November 27

1 Exam 1: Chapters 1-5 (5) Monday, October 2
2 Exam 2: Chapters 6-10 (5) Monday, October 16
3 Exam 3: Chapters 11-14 (4)
Discussion Board Posting
Discussion Board Follow-Up
Monday, October 30
Thursday, November 2
Monday, November 6
4 Exam 4: Chapters 15-18, 23 (5) Monday, November 20
5 Exam 5: Chapters 19-22 (4) Monday, December 4
Book Review Due Friday, December 8

Calendar Fall 2017 2nd 8-Wk 1302 Sessions
October 23 – December 17
HIST 1302-34585-088
Final Withdrawal Date: December 11

1 Exam 1: Chapters 1-4 (4) Monday, October 30
2 Exam 2: Chapters 5-8 (4) Monday, November 6
3 Exam 3: Chapters 9-14 (6)
Discussion Board Posting
Discussion Board Follow-Up
Monday, November 13
Thursday, November 16
Monday, November 20
4 Exam 4: Chapters 15-18 (4) Monday, November 27
5 Exam 5: Chapters 19-22 (4) Monday, December 4
Book Review Due Friday, December 8

Calendar Spring 2018 2nd 8-Wk 1302 Session
March 19 – May 13
HIST 1302-31786-109
Final Withdrawal Date: May 7

1 Exam 1: Chapters 1-4 (4) Saturday, March 24
2 Exam 2: Chapters 5-8 (4)
Discussion Board Posting
Discussion Board Follow-Up
Wednesday, April 4
Friday, April 6
Monday, April 9
3 Exam 3: Chapters 9-14 (6) Tuesday, April 17
4 Exam 4: Chapters 15-18 (4) Wednesday, April 25
5 Exam 5: Chapters 19-22 (4) Saturday, May 5
Book Review Due Monday, May 7

Calendar Spring 2018 12-Wk 1302 Session
February 12 – May 13
HIST 1302-31774-097
Final Withdrawal Date: April 23

1 Exam 1: Chapters 1-4 (4) Monday, February 19
2 Exam 2: Chapters 5-8 (4) Saturday, March 10
3 Exam 3: Chapters 9-14 (6)
Discussion Board Posting
Discussion Board Follow-Up
Saturday, March 31
Monday, April 9
Thursday, April 12
4 Exam 4: Chapters 15-18 (4) Saturday, April 21
5 Exam 5: Chapters 19-22 (4) Saturday, May 5
Book Review Due Monday, May 7

*Check Local ACC Testing Center for Sunday Hours