HISTORY 415

SENIOR SEMINAR                               FALL 2004                               FEDRICK   

INTRODUCTION

History is the record and the interpretation of significant past events. As a Senior History major you are expected to have a general knowledge and comprehension of the more significant events in American and world history. You are expected to have a general knowledge of the significant resource materials available to increase your knowledge of history. And you are expected to have a general knowledge of the major interpretations of the more significant events as well as the skills by which to develop your own sound judgments and interpretations of these events. You will, hopefully, view the study of history as “celebration and critique”.

 You are taking this course designed to integrate discipline-specific knowledge into a culminating senior experience. You will be required to analyze and discuss all facets of history and historical presentations, including scholarly works and public history. You will make an in-depth public presentation, demonstrating some aspect of historical research, study, or professional involvement. This course offers senior history majors an opportunity to both sum up their undergraduate historical study and prepare for careers beyond graduation.

 

HISTORY 415 – SENIOR SEMINAR

A.  Objectives:

1.  To identify the major events, persons and ideas of history.

2.  To develop concepts and methods which give an understanding to what influenced attitudes and behavior of peoples in the past and present.

3.  To apply critical and analytical skills to historical problems.

4.  To identify and analyze significant problems and situations as they relate to the continuing issues and the investigation of the past.

5.  To be aware of options for careers and activities after graduation. 

B.  GOALS: 

1.  To improve understanding of the major events which have influenced the modern world. 

2.  To understand the influence of the past on contemporary events and problems, or, in other words, to develop Historical Mindedness.

3.  To be an intelligent consumer and evaluator of information about events in the world.

4.  To develop a global perspective which recognizes the political, social, economic, cultural and technological interdependence of all nations.

5.  To prepare for life in our contemporary society.  

 

C.  General Learning Outcomes:

In addition to the more content-related objectives described above, this course promotes some general liberal learning goals of developing academic skills.  It is expected that successful completion of this course will help you improve your ability:

1.  To manage information, which involves sorting data, ranking data for significance, synthesizing facts, concepts and principles.

2.  To understand and use organizing principles or key concepts against which miscellaneous data can be evaluated.

3.  To differentiate among facts, opinions and inferences.

4.      To frame questions so as to more clearly clarify a problem, topic or issue

5.  To compare and contrast the relative merits of opposing arguments and interpretations, moving between the main points of each position.

6.  To organize your thoughts and communicate them clearly and concisely in written and oral form.

7.  To obtain practice in selecting and presenting information and arguments within a restricted environment, including examinations, timed presentations, word limited essays or articles.

  

D.  COURSE REQUIREMENTS

 1. TEXTS

 Gustafson, Melanie S. Becoming a Historian: A Survival Manual. Washington, D.C.: American Historical Association, 2003.

Schulz, Constance, Page Putnam Miller, Aaron Marrs, and Kevin Allen. Careers for Students of History. Washington, D.C.: American Historical Association, etc., 2002.

 These books are intended both to provide you with important factual and background information before discussion and to be used as a review and reference work afterwards.  Before class, you will read the assignments listed on the Class Schedule. You should prudently mark up, underline, highlight and otherwise annotate your books as you study.  After class, regularly through the semester, you should review your class notes and compare them with the text’s versions of the material.

         You should also use other American and/or world history textbooks as reference works. It is strongly recommended that you acquire a standard American and a standard world history textbook.

The instructor will give quizzes to test your textbook reading and comprehension.

 

2. Class Participation & Attendance:

 Participation and attendance are necessary because lecture and discussion provide the essentials for achieving class goals and objectives.  Thus a portion of your grade (20% - 25%) will depend on your in-class performance.  You are required to attend each class, arrive on time, remain attentive, maintain proper classroom decorum, respond to questions, ask questions and participate in projects and/or discussions.  For class discussions you should be aware of current political and historical events.  For class discussions you may be asked to present a short oral report or lead a discussion.

Absences due to College activities, emergency or extended illness may be excused by the appropriate College official.  Other absences are unexcused and will substantially lower the class participation portion of your grade. It is to be correctly assumed that it will be impossible to receive a grade which is higher than the percentage of days attended without significant reason for absences.
After any absence, you are responsible for making up missed work, requesting hand-outs and already returned assignments, or borrowing notes from other students.

All students who have a learning disability, physical handicap and/or any other possible impediment to class participation and requirements should schedule an appointment with the instructor within the first two weeks of classes to discuss available accommodations. 

If at some point during the semester you must discontinue the course, due to poor performance, illness or some other cause, be sure to follow proper procedures for withdrawal. 

3. Academic Honesty:   

Be aware of academic honesty policy concerning cheating and plagiarism, and your moral, ethical and legal obligation only to submit work completed by you yourself.

       For more information, please consult Academic Integrity at http://www.kings.edu/student_handbook/studentregulations_rights/conductcode.htm

 4. DUE DATES / Deadlines:

 Meeting due dates is an important aspect of written assignments.  You must give a presentation on the assigned date or receive zero points for that assignment. Written assignments must be handed in, in person, at the beginning of class on the dates assigned.  Late papers/projects will receive zero points for that assignment. 

5. Written Assignments 

Throughout the semester you will participate in various projects in class (to be announced) and have brief written assignments due as assigned, each worth from 10-20 points.  Total -  five minor written assignments per student. 

 For presentation guidelines of the assignments and the  Major Project please refer to http://library.uww.edu/GUIDES/turacite.htm

 Citations/Bibliography should be in Turabian/Chicago Manual of Style format.

 Minor Assignments: 

1.  You will regularly read  The New York Times and report on the historical dimension of current events (50 points).  The instructor will assign you a social studies topic area for that week.  At the beginning of the next class you will verbally present your story, how it fits in the context of the social studies, and with other past and contemporary issues.  You will also hand in a half-page long written commentary with a copy of the story. You will be evaluated on the value of the story, the clarity of your presentation and writing, your connection of the story to historical dimensions, and your contribution to any subsequent discussion. 

2.  Employment skills summary (20 points).  During Career Planning and Placement Center’s Senior Week, you will attend a regularly scheduled session.  In the following class you will submit a resumé appropriate for a potential future job application. Due visit to CP&P Center: September 6 - 10; Summary due: September 14.

3.  You will also produce a study guide on one social science (25 points).  The instructor will assign you a social science.  You are then to prepare a study guide for your fellow students, with a brief description of the basic principles of the field and at least 10 (ten) key terms defined, and two book annotations.  Make and distribute enough copies for the class and the instructor.  Your oral presentation should not just go over the study guide, but convey key concepts worth knowing about the field.  Your study guide will be evaluated on its clarity, usefulness for review, comprehensiveness, and thoroughness.  Due: October 26

 

Major project: 

You will have different assignments depending on which track is appropriate for your study.  Your track must be explicitly confirmed by the instructor in writing after an individual discussion in his office before September 28.  The instructor will provide you individually with more detailed requirements and evaluation criteria.  For each project you will submit a short answer question (and its appropriate paragraph long answer) for the final exam. The question should be based on your individual project.

 

Track 1:  Education.  If you are a secondary education major or have other concrete educational career plans, you will be in this track.  Your main assignment will be to prepare a complete lesson plan and assessment program for classroom instruction.

 

Track 2:  Law School.  If you are planning to pursue a law degree or enter public service, you will be in this track.  Your main assignment will be to prepare a detailed and balanced legal and constitutional study of a current public policy problem, identifying the pertinent legal or Constitutional issues.

 

Track 3:  Professional Historian.  If you are planning to go on to graduate school in history or take a position as a professional historian, you will be in this track.  Your main assignment will be to prepare a research paper on a significant historical subject.

 

Track 4:  Other.  If you have different, or uncategorized career plans (business, following your second major, etc.) you will be on this track.  Your main assignment will be individually tailored to your expected future needs.

 

6. Status Reports:

         On the scheduled day of Status Reports you must give a five-minute presentation of the current progress of your research.  You will also turn in an annotated bibliography.  You will be evaluated on the clarity of your presentation, the apparent amount of work achieved, and the indications of thought about further progress.  You must be able to answer questions about your project.  You should, if possible, offer help to other students with their projects.  It will be worth 20 points of your class participation grade. 

 

7. WEB CT DISCUSSIONS

        On a biweekly basis a reading and a related Question for Discussion will be posted  to the DISCUSSIONS component of WEB CT.

        It is expected that each student will read the material and enter  the graded discussion on the reading.

  

8. Exams and Quizzes:

Throughout the semester you will have to take exams and quizzes.  This may entail knowledge from readings, or general knowledge about major historical questions, current events, material you have learned as a history major, or the material of social studies. 

         To study for these quizzes, you should read any assignments, but also review material learned over the years, and attend to daily news reports.

The final exam will be made up of questions related to the presentations of the major projects AND general knowledge of history and the social sciences. 

 

E.  Grades

You earn your grade.  It is your responsibility to understand what steps you can take to maintain or improve your grade. You are encouraged to consult with the instructor during office hours or by appointment about all assignments.

For your protection, in case of errors of recording, you should keep copies of all assignments until you have received official notice of your final grade. 

Grading Scale (Fedrick) to be used is as follows:
A+ = 98    A = 95    A- = 92
B+ = 88    B = 85    B- = 82
C+ = 78    C = 75    C- = 72
D+ = 68    D = 65    F = 59

 Your final grade will be based on a percentage of the sum of the following points:

10 for each quiz or exam, or in-class project, or written assignment;

20 for Employment Skills Summary

30 for the Social Studies Review

100 for the Final Exam;

50 for the Current Events Commentaries;

250 for your Major Project; 

50 for Web CT BiWeekly Discussion Participation

100 for your Class Attendance & Participation.

 

 F.  CONTACTS

 

OFFICE CONTACT  AND  OFFICE HOURS

Learning is not achieved only within the confines of a classroom. To that end be advised of the following:

 

  

G. Class Schedule

All topics and assignments on the schedule are tentative;  the instructor may change them at his discretion. 

date          topic........... pages to be read in texts

Aug  31    Orientation:  History and You

Sept   7     No Class:  Career Planning and Placement Center

Sept   14   Career Planning........... Careers, pp. iii-52

Sept   21   What is a Historian?........... Becoming, pp. 1-26, 35-56

Sept   28History Review ………..  Major Project Topic due 

Oct    5     No Class 

Oct   12    No Class

Oct   19    Status Reports........... Tentative bibliography due

Oct   26    Social Studies ........... Review Due

Nov   2    Project........... Major Project due

Nov   9     No Class:  Individual meetings with the professor 

Nov 16    Presentations   

Nov 23     Presentations 

Nov 30     No Class

Dec   7      Review

Dec  14                 Final Exam