The ability to analyze and academically discuss an issue is a key component to understanding history. Historians gain a further understanding of historical accuracy when they discuss and critically analyze their views with others. The discussion portion of the course provides you with an opportunity to discuss and challenge each other’s views of the assigned readings for the week.
Apart from the Introduction Discussion in Week 1, each week there will be three (3) questions/topics over the week’s reading assignments. You are required to answer each question with a 250-word minimum initial response and two peer post responses of 100 words each for the same question/topic. For each week, your original post for each question/topic is due by 11:59 p.m. CT, Thursday. Your responses to peer posts are due by 11:59 p.m. CT, Sunday for Weeks 1-7 and 11:59 p.m. CT, Saturday for Week 8. Each original post is worth 4 points and each of the two responses to peer posts is worth 2 points. You can receive a maximum of 8 points for each discussion question.
Each discussion is set so that you must post your original thoughts before reading the posts of your classmates. Your answers and responses must be written clearly, thoughtfully, and insightfully. Merely stating in your responses to fellow students that you agree or disagree is not considered a quality response, and will not be counted. Your answers and responses must show a familiarity with the reading assignments and a holistic understanding of the week’s topics by citing your sources and backing up what you say with evidence. Although you cannot receive more than 8 points for each question/topic, I will use extra comments in deciding borderline grades. See the grading rubric for more details regarding the assessment of discussion postings found in the Assignment Expectations. Please adhere to the guidelines of The Chicago Manual of Style.
By the end of Week 7, you will be required to submit a research paper based on the topic chosen by you and approved by the Instructor. The assignment is broken down into 3 components: Research Paper: Topic Submission, Research Paper: Outline Discussion, and Research Paper: Submission. The first two components are discussion activities while the third component has to be submitted in the appropriate Dropbox folder.
Research Paper: Topic Submission
During the first week of class, I would like you to consider a topic for your paper. You may choose your own topic; submit that topic to the instructor via the appropriate discussion board by 11:59 p.m. CT, Sunday of Week 2. In your Research Paper, you will need to critically analyze primary sources and research related secondary sources. Though this is not a graded activity, be sure to post your topic for instructor approval or your paper will not be accepted,
Research Paper: Outline Discussion
By Week 5, you are required to post an outline of the research paper along with the primary sources you intend to use to the appropriate discussion board. You must post your outline by Thursday, 11:59 p.m. CT, and respond to two (2) of your peers’ posts by Sunday, 11:59 p.m. CT. Posting the outline is worth 15 points and 5 points are for two peer responses with suggestions on their paper and sources.
Research Paper: Submission
In your Research Paper, you will need to critically analyze primary sources and research related secondary sources.This assignment will not only provide the opportunity for you to take an in-depth look at a subject, but also provide you with the opportunity to improve your research and writing skills.
A quality paper is one that consists of the following:
- A well-constructed thesis statement
- A critical examination of primary sources
- Consulted quality secondary sources
- Well-constructed paragraphs
- Proper use of language, spelling, and punctuation
- 1-inch margins and lines that are double spaced
- Uses the Chicago Manual of Style for documentation
- A separate Bibliography page, which lists both the primary and secondary sources consulted
The research paper should be 10-12 pages and it should be about 2500-3000 words in a double-spaced font, such as Times New Roman, 12 points. Page total only applies to the text. Bibliographies, cover page, table of contents, or synopsis are not included. Also, you will use 4 primary and 6 secondary sources. Please be careful when using internet sources. Many of these are not good sources and are merely like Encyclopedias. They don’t tell much. However, this is not to say that internet sources are useless. You can refer to the Stafford Library guidelines for detailed information on this. Many historical journals are now online. Your best sources are those found in JSTOR through the Columbia College Stafford Library. Please see grading rubric in the Content area for grading criteria. The paper will be submitted through Turnitin.com to check for plagiarism. The Research Paper is due to the Dropbox by 11:59 p.m. CT, Sunday of Week 7 and it is worth 180 points. Please refer to the Resource Guide for help in locating good sources of information for your research on the History of the American West.
Historians like to test their knowledge and understanding of the past by engaging in examinations. You will be required to take two proctored exams – Midterm Exam and Final Exam. You must submit the “Student Proctor Information Submission Form” to the Proctor Information Dropbox by the end of Week 2. This form and additional information about Proctoring are located in the Content area of the course. Each Columbia College site has its own hours and methods for handling proctoring. Each exam is worth 300 points toward your final grade and the duration is two (2) hours. These two tests are an exercise to measure your ability to grasp the material that is being read, discussed, and analyzed. Each exam will consist of 25 multiple-choice questions (worth 2 points each), 10 short answer essays (worth 10 points each), and 3 long answer essay questions (worth 50 points each), and only one (1) attempt is allowed. The Midterm consists of questions from topics covered in Weeks 1 through 4. The Final consists of questions from topics covered in Weeks 5 through 8. The Midterm exam opens on Monday at 12:01 a.m. CT and it is due by 11:59 p.m. CT, Sunday of Week 4. The Final exam opens on Monday at 12:01 a.m. CT and is due by 11:59 p.m. CT, Saturday of Week 8.