Effective: Late Spring 8-Week, 2018/2019

HIST 101: Western Civilization I

Back to Top

  Course Description

European history from the Ancient Near East and Egypt to 1715. G.E.

Prerequisite: None

Proctored Exams: Final



  • Kagan, Donald, Steven Ozment, Frank Turner, and Alison Frank. The Western Heritage, Volume 1. 11th ed. Boston: Pearson, 2013.  
    • ISBN-978-1-323-82536-5
      • Note: This course uses a VitalSource ebook that must be purchased through MBS Direct. Access to this book is complimentary for the first three days of the session. To maintain access after this period has ended, you must purchase the eBook through MBS Direct. If you wish to have a print book in addition to the ebook, it can be ordered as a loose-leaf print on demand book through VitalSource. Please note there is an additional cost for this, and financial aid book vouchers cannot be used for the print. Once orders are placed, it can take approximately 5-7 business days for you to receive your print on demand book.

MBS Information

The eBook for the course should be ordered from MBS Direct. You can order

For additional information about the bookstore, visit http://www.mbsbooks.com.

  Course Overview

History and historical knowledge are the heart and soul of a liberal arts education. History enriches your understanding of the past and present and can help you prepare for the challenges the future will bring. This survey course will explore the antecedents to modern-day Western civilization. It will examine social, religious, intellectual, scientific, artistic, economic, and political aspects of various cultures from ancient times to the early modern era. The course will emphasize elements of ancient, medieval, and early modern Western cultures that are significantly reflected in American life—its philosophies, laws, and customs.

  Technology Requirements

Participation in this course will require the basic technology for all online classes at Columbia College:
  • A computer with reliable Internet access
  • A web browser
  • Acrobat Reader
  • Microsoft Office or another word processor such as Open Office

You can find more details about standard technical requirements for our courses on our site.

  Course Learning Outcomes

  1. Identify and describe the major political concepts and systems of Western Civilization.
  2. Identify and describe the role of major religions of Western Civilization.
  3. Identify and describe the role of wars and conflict in forging Western Civilization.
  4. Identify and describe the contributions of women to Western Civilization.


Grading Scale

Grade Points Percent
A 900-1000 90-100%
B 800-899 80-89%
C 700-799 70-79%
D 600-699 60-69%
F 0-599 0-59%

Grade Weights

Assignment Category Points Percent
Discussions 200 20%
Essays 300 30%
Quizzes 300 30%
Final Exam 200 20%
Total 1000 100%

  Schedule of Due Dates

Week 1

Assignment Points Due
Discussions 1 & 2 25 Friday/Sunday

Week 2

Assignment Points Due
Discussions 3 & 4 25 Friday/Sunday
Quiz 1 100 Sunday
Proctor Information N/A

Week 3

Assignment Points Due
Discussions 5 & 6 25 Friday/Sunday
Essay 1 100 Sunday

Week 4

Assignment Points Due
Discussions 7 & 8 25 Friday/Sunday
Quiz 2 100 Sunday

Week 5

Assignment Points Due
Discussions 9 & 10 25 Friday/Sunday
Essay 2 100 Sunday

Week 6

Assignment Points Due
Discussions 11 & 12 25 Friday/Sunday
Quiz 3 100 Sunday

Week 7

Assignment Points Due
Discussions 13 & 14 25 Friday/Sunday
Essay 3 100 Sunday

Week 8

Assignment Points Due
Discussions 15 & 16 25 Thursday/Saturday
Final Exam 200 Saturday
Total Points: 1000

  Assignment Overview


To be eligible to receive full credit on your discussion postings, you need to respond to at least two of your classmates’ posts each week in addition to your primary posts addressing the questions. You need to plan on following the progress of the discussion threads throughout the week so that you can contribute to the ongoing discussions at least three different times each week.

Your primary posts addressing the questions are due by Friday night at midnight. Your responses to classmates’ posts are due by Sunday night at midnight. (In Week 8, primary posts are due Thursday, and responses to classmates’ posts are due Saturday.)

Primary postings should include either a concise summary of information from the textbook or an analysis of the topic under study. Please do not use long quotations. If you do use any source other that the textbook, please note within the text of your discussion posting where you got the information.

Each response to your classmates’ posts should add to the discussion in a meaningful way by bringing up an original and relevant point. It is not your job to tell other students that they have not addressed parts of the discussion topics, although you are encouraged to express a different interpretation or ask for additional information from other students on particular topics.


You will write three essays in this course, due in Weeks 3, 5, and 7. All essays are responses to questions based on your reading of primary source documents, but will require that you understand the background material presented in the required textbook. Essay questions are found in the syllabus and course Content area. The essays are worth 100 points each and must be between 300 and 500 words in length, double-spaced, and submitted to the dropbox in either MS Word or Rich Text Format.

In responding to the questions in the discussions and on the essay, you may want to use resources in addition to your textbook. This is encouraged, as it allows you to explore areas of interest in more detail. I do caution you, however, to be aware of any biases that some authors might have in dealing with the subject matter. Remember that Wikipedia is not an acceptable resource, as it is not refereed, and therefore not reliable. I recommend the sources found in the databases available through the Columbia College library. Be sure to document your sources properly using either the MLA or Turabian (Chicago Manual of Style) format. Essays that have any plagiarized material will receive zero points.


There will be three quizzes in this course in Weeks 2, 4, and 6. Quizzes must be completed before the midnight on Sunday night deadline.

Final Exam

The final exam in this course must be taken in a proctored setting. This will be a closed-book exam. You will not be able to use your text or other references or notes during the exam. Please see the information below about finding a proctor. I must have your proctor information by the end of Week 2. Submit your proctor information to the folder in the Dropbox.

  Course Outline

Click on each week to view details about the activities scheduled for that week.


Chapter 1, Pages 1-32.

Discussions 1 & 2

Discussion 1: In the "Introductions" discussion, introduce yourself to your fellow students. Please tell us a little about yourself, including your name and your major, and discuss any special interests you may have in history. If you don't think you have any interest in history, think about any movies you have seen that are set any time in the past. What intrigues you about the movie's setting?

Discussion 2: How did geography, culture, and climate play a role in the development of different religious outlooks in Egypt, Mesopotamia, and Israel? How were the political and social structures of each civilization tied to its religious views?


Chapters 2 and 3, Pages 33-96.

Discussions 3 & 4

Discussion 3: If you could choose to live in one of the two Greek poleis featured in your textbook (Athens or Sparta), which would you prefer, when and why? In making your decision, be sure to consider both the major differences between these poleis and the cultural and philosophical ideas that unite them into a single culture.

Discussion 4: How did the Greek view of the relationship between man and nature influence their conception of the Gods? How was this view expressed in Greek philosophy and the arts?

Quiz 1

Covers material from Chapters 1-3, Pages 1-96.

Proctor Information
Submit your proctor form to the appropriate Dropbox folder by the end of the week. Remember to “Save” the form before placing it in Dropbox. See the Content area for more information.

Chapters 4 and 5, Pages 97-171.

Discussions 5 & 6

Discussion 5: What factors led to the collapse of the Roman Republic and the emergence of the Roman Imperial government structure?

Discussion 6: Discuss the factors that contributed to the downfall of Roman imperial administration. What part did the Roman military, the influx of barbarian peoples, and the reforms of Constantine play in this transformation?

Essay 1

Read the Funeral Oration of Pericles in the Ancient History Sourcebook at Fordham University (http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/ancient/pericles-funeralspeech.asp). Given the context of this speech, do you believe everything Pericles says about Athens in the Funeral Oration? Why or why not?


Chapters 6 and 7, Pages 172-233.

Discussions 7 & 8

Discussion 7: How did the Europe under the rule of the Charlemagne differ from Europe during the time of Constantine, and what did the title of "emperor" mean during each period?

Discussion 8: Discuss the differences and similarities between Western (Roman Catholic) Christianity, Eastern (Orthodox) Christianity, and Islam.

Quiz 2

Covers material from Chapters 4-7, Pages 97-233.


Chapters 8 and 9, Pages 234-287.

Discussions 9 & 10

Discussion 9: How did medieval Universities differ from universities today? See Jacques de Vitry’s description of medieval students (http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/vitry1.html) for one scholar’s description of students in medieval universities.

Discussion 10: Describe the social, political, and religious misfortunes of the 14th century and the effect of these events on the psychological and material fortunes of Europeans.

Essay 2

Read Robert the Monk's account of Pope Urban II's call to crusade found on the Internet History Sourcebooks Project site at http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/urban2a.html. Why would Christians in the West be moved to embark on a dangerous journey to fight in the Holy Land after hearing Pope Urban's speech at Clermont?


Chapter 10, Pages 288-319.

Discussions 11 & 12

Discussion 11: Why did the Renaissance start in Italy? Describe the role of the aristocratic courts of such powerful figures as the de Medicis and the papacy in engendering and sustaining this cultural revival.

Discussion 12: The main goal of all Renaissance humanists was to fix their own world by recovering the glories of ancient Rome and Greece. How was this effort to revive antiquity reflected in the art and literature of the Renaissance?

Quiz 3

Covers material from Chapters 8-10, Pages 234-319.

Course Evaluation
Please evaluate the course. You will have an opportunity to evaluate the course near the end of the session. A link sent to your CougarMail will allow you to access the evaluation. Please note that these evaluations are provided so that I can improve the course, find out what students perceive to be its strengths and weaknesses, and in general assess the success of the course. Please do take the time to fill this out.

Chapter 11, pages 320-353.

Discussions 13 & 14

Discussion 13: What were some of the topics Luther raised in the 95 Theses (http://www.iclnet.org/pub/resources/text/wittenberg/luther/ninetyfive.txt)? What did he see as the major problems with the religious practices of his day?

Discussion 14: Why did the Reformation happen in the early 16th century after Martin Luther posted the 95 Thesis rather than earlier in response to other protests against Church practice? 

Essay 3

Read Luther’s 95 Theses at the Internet Christian Library (http://www.iclnet.org/pub/resources/text/wittenberg/luther/ninetyfive.txt). Martin Luther wrote these propositions in order to engage in a debate with fellow theologians. How do the issues Luther present for debate illustrate the problems in the Church of his day?


Chapter 12, 13, and 14, Pages 354-448.

Discussions 15 & 16

Discussion 15: Identify the basic causes, both political and religious, of the bitter struggles of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries in France, the Holy Roman Empire, and the Netherlands. Describe the political and religious dimensions of the settlement of each of these conflicts.

Discussion 16: How did Versailles symbolize the authority of the French king and how did the Louis XIV use Versailles as a way to establish and maintain power?

Final Exam

The exam may be taken any time during Week 8. You will have two hours to complete the exam. No notes or textbooks are allowed at the proctored final exam.

  Course Policies

Student Conduct

All Columbia College students, whether enrolled in a land-based or online course, are responsible for behaving in a manner consistent with Columbia College's Student Conduct Code and Acceptable Use Policy. Students violating these policies will be referred to the office of Student Affairs and/or the office of Academic Affairs for possible disciplinary action. The Student Code of Conduct and the Computer Use Policy for students can be found in the Columbia College Student Handbook. The Handbook is available online; you can also obtain a copy by calling the Student Affairs office (Campus Life) at 573-875-7400. The teacher maintains the right to manage a positive learning environment, and all students must adhere to the conventions of online etiquette.


Your grade will be based in large part on the originality of your ideas and your written presentation of these ideas. Presenting the words, ideas, or expression of another in any form as your own is plagiarism. Students who fail to properly give credit for information contained in their written work (papers, journals, exams, etc.) are violating the intellectual property rights of the original author. For proper citation of the original authors, you should reference the appropriate publication manual for your degree program or course (APA, MLA, etc.). Violations are taken seriously in higher education and may result in a failing grade on the assignment, a grade of "F" for the course, or dismissal from the College.

Collaboration conducted between students without prior permission from the instructor is considered plagiarism and will be treated as such. Spouses and roommates taking the same course should be particularly careful.

All required papers may be submitted for textual similarity review to Turnitin.com for the detection of plagiarism. All submitted papers may be included in the Turnitin.com reference database for the purpose of detecting plagiarism. This service is subject to the Terms and Conditions of Use posted on the Turnitin.com site.


There will be no discrimination on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin, sexual orientation, religion, ideology, political affiliation, veteran status, age, physical handicap, or marital status.

Student Accessibility Resources

Students with documented disabilities who may need academic services for this course are required to register with the office of Student Accessibility Resources. Until the student has been cleared through this office, accommodations do not have to be granted. If you are a student who has a documented disability, it is important for you to read the entire syllabus as soon as possible. The structure or the content of the course may make an accommodation not feasible. Student Accessibility Resources is located in Student Affairs in AHSC 215 and can be reached by phone at (573) 875-7626 or email at sar@ccis.edu.

Online Participation

You are expected to read the assigned texts and participate in the discussions and other course activities each week. Assignments should be posted by the due dates stated on the grading schedule in your syllabus. If an emergency arises that prevents you from participating in class, please let your instructor know as soon as possible.

Attendance Policy

Attendance for a week will be counted as having submitted any assigned activity for which points are earned. Attendance for the week is based upon the date work is submitted. A class week is defined as the period of time between Monday and Sunday (except for week 8, when the work and the course will end on Saturday at midnight.) The course and system deadlines are based on the Central Time Zone.

Cougar Email

All students are provided a CougarMail account when they enroll in classes at Columbia College. You are responsible for monitoring email from that account for important messages from the College and from your instructor. You may forward your Cougar email account to another account; however, the College cannot be held responsible for breaches in security or service interruptions with other email providers.

Students should use email for private messages to the instructor and other students. The class discussions are for public messages so the class members can each see what others have to say about any given topic and respond.

Late Assignment Policy

An online class requires regular participation and a commitment to your instructor and your classmates to regularly engage in the reading, discussion and writing assignments. Although most of the online communication for this course is asynchronous, you must be able to commit to the schedule of work for the class for the next eight weeks. You must keep up with the schedule of reading and writing to successfully complete the class.

No late discussion posts will be accepted.

You will automatically be penalized 50% for all other late work.

Course Evaluation

You will have an opportunity to evaluate the course near the end of the session. A link will be sent to your CougarMail that will allow you to access the evaluation. Be assured that the evaluations are anonymous and that your instructor will not be able to see them until after final grades are submitted.

Proctor Policy

Students taking courses that require proctored exams must submit their completed proctor request forms to their instructors by the end of the second week of the session. Proctors located at Columbia College campuses are automatically approved. The use of ProctorU services is also automatically approved. The instructor of each course will consider any other choice of proctor for approval or denial. Additional proctor choices the instructor will consider include: public librarians, high school or college instructors, high school or college counseling services, commanding officers, education service officers, and other proctoring services. Personal friends, family members, athletic coaches and direct supervisors are not acceptable.

  Additional Resources

Orientation for New Students

This course is offered online, using course management software provided by Desire2Learn and Columbia College. The course user guide provides details about taking an online course at Columbia College. You may also want to visit the course demonstration to view a sample course before this one opens.

Technical Support

If you have problems accessing the course or posting your assignments, contact your instructor, the Columbia College Helpdesk, or the D2L Helpdesk for assistance. Contact information is also available within the online course environment.

Online Tutoring

Smarthinking is a free online tutoring service available to all Columbia College students. Smarthinking provides real-time online tutoring and homework help for Math, English, and Writing. Smarthinking also provides access to live tutorials in writing and math, as well as a full range of study resources, including writing manuals, sample problems, and study skills manuals. You can access the service from wherever you have a connection to the Internet. I encourage you to take advantage of this free service provided by the college.

Access Smarthinking through CougarTrack under Students -> Academics -> Academic Resources.