Assignments

GRADING STANDARDS AND CRITERIA:
In this course the plus/minus system will be used.
The grade breakdown is as follows:
98 – 100% = A+
93 – 97% = A (outstanding performance)
90 – 92% = A-
87 – 89% = B+
83 – 86% = B (good performance)
80 – 82% = B-
77 – 79% = C+
73 – 76% = C (acceptable performance)
70 – 72% = C-
67- 69% = D+
63 – 66% = D (poor performance)
60 – 62% = D-
0 – 59% = F

History majors must earn 73% or higher in this course to receive credit. History majors earning grades of 72% or lower must repeat the course.

Keep all assignments and exams returned to you so that any discrepancies can be easily and fairly straightened out.

EVALUATION:

Reading responses (2% x 10 responses) 20%
Class participation 20%
In-class primary source exercises 10%
Course timeline and map 10%
Midterm 20%
Final project 20%

*You cannot pass the class unless you have an average of 50% or higher in ALL of these categories.*

Readings: You are expected to read, digest and consider all of each week’s readings. CSUF expects three hours of outside work for each hour spent in the classroom. That means that this class can have as much as 7.5 hours of outside work each week. You should plan to spend approximately 3-4 hours each week reading for class. If you find that the reading is taking up more time than that, come meet with me to discuss reading and study strategies.

Response papers. TEN times during the semester, starting after week 3, you will post substantive commentary on the day’s reading to the class blog. This blog is meant to be a conversation amongst scholars (you and your peers). These should be more than simple summaries – they should demonstrate a critical consideration of the day’s reading. Through these response papers, you will develop the skills necessary to critically read historical monographs and articles. In the early weeks of the course, you will be responsible for identifying the central thesis of a reading. Over the course of the semester, you will work to be able to identify supporting arguments and types of evidence, and to critique authors’ use of evidence in making their arguments.

For every response after the first day of posts, you must also substantively reference a response written by one of your peers. This should not merely mention something someone has written (“I agree with X”) but build on it (“X wrote that … and this makes me think about …”)

These responses should be between 250 and 350 words, and can be written with informal, personal prose. However, direct references to others work must be accompanied by a citation or hyperlink. You should budget between 30 minutes and 1 hour for each response.

These responses will be assessed as:

  • Excellent (nuanced commentary on both readings and peer responses): 100 points
  • Satisfactory (commentary on both readings and peer responses free of factual errors): 80 points
  • Unsatisfactory (did not comment on either readings or peer responses, OR substantive factual errors): 50 points
  • No submission: 0 points

Your overall response grade will be an average of the grades of your ten responses.

Participation: An essential component of the craft of history is expressing yourself clearly in a variety of ways, including orally. In this course, your learning depends upon your regular, informed and thoughtful participation in discussion, writing and blog posts. In order to participate fully you must have completed all of each week’s reading.

Participation will be assessed both by how much students contribute in whole-class discussions, and how they contribute to discussions in group work.

Participation will be assessed as:

  • Excellent (multiple comments / questions in class or in group work): 100 points
  • Satisfactory (one comment / question in class or in group work): 80 points
  • Unsatisfactory (present in class, but no engagement): 50 points
  • Absent (see absence policy for a discussion of permitted absences)

I understand that speaking in class can be a stressful or daunting experience for some students, so I expect that everyone contribute to making the classroom a comfortable and respectful intellectual environment in which everyone can participate. If you have anxiety about public speaking, please arrange a meeting with me as soon as possible.

Your overall participation grade will be an average of your daily participation grades.  

Primary source exercises. Throughout the semester, you will work in groups to put an assigned primary source in its geographical, temporal, political and social context. These exercises serve as preparation for the final project.

They will be asked to identify:

  • Who produced the source
  • For whom the source was produced (what audience?)
  • For what reason the source was produced
  • When the source was produced – both in terms of broad events and the particular causes for production.

Primary source exercises will be assessed as:

  • Excellent (correctly identified the maker/reason/audience/context for the source): 100 points
  • Satisfactory (correctly identified most of the maker/reason/audience/context for the source): 80 points
  • Unsatisfactory (did not engage with the source, did not make progress towards identifying the maker/reason/audience/context): 50 points
  • Absent (see absence policy for a discussion of permitted absences): 0 points

Course Timeline. Throughout the course, we will build a collaborative timeline of Atlantic history. Class time will be devoted to the tools we’ll use to build this timeline, as well as to actual work on it.

Timeline exercises will be assessed as:

  • Excellent (multiple comments / additions to the timeline during group work): 100 points
  • Satisfactory (one comment / addition to the timeline during group work): 80 points
  • Unsatisfactory (present in class, but no engagement): 50 points
  • Absent (see absence policy for a discussion of permitted absences): 0 points

 Midterm Exam. The midterm exam will take place during a normal class meeting, and will assess competency in the course material up to the point of the exam. Assessment will include:

  • “Turning point” exercises – given a series dates, assess their status as turning points in American history.
  • Identifications of people, places, events or concepts
  • Primary source contextualization. Students are given a primary source and asked to situate it in its historical context, identify by whom, for what purpose, when and where the document was produced, and to make and defend a historical argument based on that primary source.

A grading rubric for the midterm exam will be distributed in advance of the exam.

Final Project. The final project will take the form of a public piece of scholarship that substantially engages with a theme in Atlantic history. It will be equivalent in work and words to a 10 page paper. Throughout the semester, you will identify a topic, identify additional readings and locate one or two illustrative primary sources that help to bring that theme to life. These projects must be public facing, and must include a timeline and/ or spatial component. Class time will be devoted to developing the skills necessary to complete this project.

A grading rubric for the final project will be distributed in advance of the due date.