Assignments

The assignments for this class are a mix of informal progress checks and responses and formal projects. One of the most challenging aspects of an online asynchronous course is that we don’t have the opportunity to develop community through informal connections in the classroom. We’re going to try to develop a sense of class community through various means; though it won’t be the same as an in-person experience, it will still be meaningful.

This semester is going to be a very hard semester for some of you, maybe for all of you. My goal is to be as adaptable and flexible as I can in order to help you learn while also juggling the many other physical, mental, and emotional stresses. To that end, I reserve the right to alter the assignments in the schedule as we go, due to shifts in student interests, new materials, or societal (or personal) upheaval.

Responses

Our course is broken down into week-long content sections. You’ll be responding to the course materials (how many depends on what grade you contracted for) through a variety of means.

I will provide you with a few prompts for how you may respond; however, if you have another burning question or concern, you may always respond to whatever struck you the most about our materials. The prompts will almost always deal with multiple weeks’ worth of material, asking you to make connections or synthesize the ideas.

You have a variety of mechanisms to create your response, though not all options are in play for every response. I’ll mark your options next to the response in the weekly plan. These mechanisms include:

  • Blog post, written and posted on your own blog, submitted through this form
  • Flipgrid video, submitted through Flipgrid
  • Some sort of creative creation (a drawing, a comic, an original song, etc.), submitted through this Google Form

Projects

There are 7 small projects in this class plus the final project. No matter what grade you contracted for, you must complete the three base projects and the final project. How many of the others you do is up to your grade contract.

Project Base 1: Setting up your website
Project Base 2: Citing reliable secondary sources
Project Base 3: Using high-quality primary sources
Creative Project 1: Timeline
Creative Project 2: Narrative map
Creative Project 3: Podcast
Creative Project 4: Creative expression
Final project

All of your projects will center on one antebellum conflict, which you will select in the first week of class. You may choose from these options:

  • American Revolution
  • First Barbary War
  • War of 1812
  • Seminole Wars
  • Mexican-American War

A few weeks in, you’ll be narrowing your topic even further.

Participation

Participation is a vital part of this course, but it also may prove the most challenging. Your level of participation will vary throughout the semester, and it will also be tied to your grade contract.

You can participate in a number of ways. First and foremost, you will need to use our Slack group to interact with your classmates. This will mean a number of things:

  • You respond to your classmates’ responses.
  • You respond to the discussion prompts given in the class materials.
  • You work independently to explore areas of interest that you’ve found through working through course materials.

Third, you will need to have one 15-minute office hours appointment with me, your professor, or our TA, Caitie, at some point during the semester. This isn’t if there are problems in the class; it’s just to check in with me and see how you’re doing with this class and everything else.

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