History 202 (Online)

History 202 (Online)

Professor Rees’ Online US History Survey Course


History 202 (online)

Colorado State University – Pueblo

Spring 2017

Office: GCB 314/Psy 118

Office Hours: MWF 1-2PM, TTh 11-Noon in GCB 314 (the Center for Teaching and Learning).

E-Mail: drjonathanrees@gmail.com


Before we start, here are a few things that you need to know about this course:

1.  It is almost entirely online. While I will be available during regular office hours, it is entirely possible and acceptable to complete all the requirements of this course on your computer without meeting me once in person during the semester.

2.  This course is asynchronous. That means there are no regular meeting times. You can complete the requirements during normal school hours. You can complete the requirements at home after dinner or at four in the morning if you please.

3.  In order to participate in this course, you will need to acquire access to a number of programs. This course will be based in Canvas, like the syllabus that you’re reading now. The assignments will appear in the assignments tab here. Your grades will also be listed on canvas (but they won’t be tabulated – more on that later). Besides Canvas, we’ll be using Revel (from Pearson) which hosts the main textbook, Milestone Documents for additional readings, Slack for discussion and Hypothes.is in order to annotate draft papers and summarize documents on the class blog. Don’t worry if this list sounds daunting, the first week of class will be devoted to helping you acquire access to and master all these tools.

This University abides by the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which stipulates that no student shall be denied the benefits of an education “solely by reason of a handicap.” If you have a documented disability that may impact your work in this class and for which you may require accommodations, please see the Disability Resource Coordinator as soon as possible to arrange accommodations. In order to receive accommodations, you must be registered with and provide documentation of your disability to: the Disability Resource Office, which is located in the Library and Academic Resources Center, Suite 169.


You do not have to purchase any physical books because all your reading for this class will be found online. Nonetheless, all students are required to purchase access to two resources; The textbook Learning US History, Volume II by H.W, Brands et. al. and an online collection of primary sources called Milestone Documents. [I will know when you have purchased access to both these resources as the publishers provide me a class list.] I will invite you to the Brands textbook online. Milestone Documents will be accessed through a green card available through the book store or through their web site, milestonedocuments.com.

There will also be sources from out on the World Wide Web that you should consult in order to complete each assignment. The appropriate links to those (free) sources will be near the bottom of each assignment and will be listed on the class blog shortly after the assignment goes live here on Canvas.

You may be shocked at the amount of reading that is listed at the bottom of each assignment. Relax. You are not expected to read all of it. Indeed, you and your fellow students will be summarizing some of it each week specifically to help the rest of you decide whether you want to read that particle piece of reading or not. However, you will be expected to read and test on two chapters from the Brands book for each assignment and to include information from at least five other sources in the essays that are the product of each assignment. To find five sources that are appropriate for your particular essay, you may need read more than five. Of course, I encourage you to read more than that if you are so inclined, but reading everything listed at the bottom of each assignment is not a requirement of this course.

Assignments and Grades

10% OF YOUR GRADE will be determined in the first two weeks of class with a broad assignment based upon your ability to meet the technological and theoretical requirements of this course.  That means 1) You will send me your e-mail so that I can invite you to Canvas and you will log in at least once. 2) You will log in to Slack (after I invite you via e-mail) and write a brief, one-paragraph message in the general channel introducing yourself to the class.  3) You will get yourself a free Hypothes.is account and leave a note on the blog post that reads “Welcome to the Class Blog!.”  4) I will invite you (via e-mail again) to purchase access to the Brands textbook. Then you will log in to this class. Do all these things by January 27 at 5PM and you will get an “A.”  I will take off one letter grade for every one of those things that you fail to do.

20% OF YOUR GRADE will be based on 4 out of 5 short papers based on two Brands Chapters, some Milestone Documents and some outside sources.  You should write between 800 and 1000 words for each of those essays, and use at least five different sources NOT INCLUDING THE BRANDS CHAPTERS.  You are also required to list those five sources (even if you do not quote them directly in your essay) at the end of your essay.  Those citations do not count as part of the final word count. More information about these assignments (including the questions) will be available three weeks before each one is due under the assignments tab.

20% OF YOUR GRADE will be based upon a Midterm exam that will cover all the sources and Brands chapters that you have read by that point in the course.  Your answer should be between 1500 and 2000 words long and no citations are required for this assignment.  5% of your midterm grade will be made up of your preparatory sourcing assignment.  Find two sources from the World Wide Web that cover material in this section of the course (similar to the sources at the bottom of each assignment) and compare those sources to what it says about the same subject in your Brands textbook in order to judge its reliability.  Explain whether the sources you found are reliable by comparing it to the Brands section in a few brief sentences.  These exercises are due exactly 24 hours before your midterm essay is due. Post them in the Slack #outsidesources channel.

20% OF YOUR GRADE will be based upon a Final exam.  It should be based just like your midterm but will be based on just material covered after the midterm exam. 5% of your midterm grade will be made up of your preparatory sourcing assignment.  Find two sources from the World Wide Web that cover material in this section of the course (similar to the sources at the bottom of each assignment) and compare those sources to what it says about the same subject in your Brands textbook in order to judge its reliability.  Explain whether the sources you found are reliable by comparing it to the Brands section in a few brief sentences.  These exercises are due exactly 24 hours before your final exam essay is due.  Post them in the Slack #outsidesources channel.

15% OF YOUR GRADE will be based upon 4 out of 5 sets of questions you ask, answers you give and sources you summarize.  [For the rest of the course, I’m going to abbreviate these sets of tasks as QAS – the plural being QASs: Question, Answer, Summary] During the first week of each non-test assignment period, you can go to the appropriate assignment channel in Slack and see a few questions from me about that section’s paper.  You will be required to answer one of those (or someone else’s) question and ask a question of your own.

You will also be required to briefly summarize one of the documents for that assignment using Hypothes.is. You will be invited to join our Hypothes.is group during the first two weeks of class.  Below there will be links to the blog posts that list all the sources for that assignment.  This is because Hypothes.is requires a URL outside of Canvas in order to work. You will only get credit for asking questions for which you follow the responses as far as they can go during the assignment period. You cannot summarize a source on Hypothes.is that another student has already summarized.  Feel free to respond to anyone else’s summaries as you see fit.

The QAS assignment will be due on the second Monday of each assignment period (five days before the essay itself is due), although I expect the discussion to continue during the second writing week. Shortly after the QAS is due, I will count each source to make sure that each student has completed these four tasks as described above. If you’ve done them all you’ll get an “A.” I’ll drop your score a letter grade for each task that you haven’t completed. [There is no QASS assignment associated with Assignment #1 (which introduces you to the tech), the midterm or the final.]

15% OF YOUR GRADE will be based upon 4 out of 5 grades based upon pairs of Brands book chapter tests. As part of your preparation to write each essay, you will be required to read two chapters from the Brands American Stories book. After finishing each chapter you will take the cumulative chapter test. If you get more than 50% of the answers correct on both chapter tests, you will get an “A” for that week’s Brands assignment. If you score more than 50% correct on only one of the chapter tests, you will get a “C” for that week’s Brands assignment. If you get less than 50% of the answers correct for both chapters or if you don’t attempt the cumulative chapter tests, you will fail this assignment for that week. Your four best scores for the five chapter pairs will be the ones that count towards your final grade.

Extra grade consideration will be given to students who are active on Slack throughout the semester. Failure to be active in that forum for the period of four straight weeks risks students failing the entire class by virtue of their poor online “attendance.”

A note about the grade book: The “Grades” tab on Canvas only contains the letter grades you’ve earned on the essays and tests. It does not include a running record of your questions, or Brands chapter scores (although you can find those in Revel). It is also impossible for me to duplicate the weighting system I’ve outlined above in Canvas.  Therefore, the totals in the grade book are not an accurate running reflection of what your final grade will be, just what you’ve earned so far. I will compile that number on a spreadsheet and post those on the grade book at the end of the course.

Any form of academic dishonesty will result in a failing grade for the entire course. This includes plagiarism, the taking of words and/or ideas of another and passing them off as your own. If another person’s work is quoted directly in a formal paper, this must be indicated with quotation marks and a citation. If you do not understand this definition of plagiarism, it is your responsibility to discuss this topic with me further. For more on plagiarism, click here.

Week by Week Routine, Readings and Assignment Due Dates

The assignment for each section of the course will be posted on this blog and in the assignments section on Canvas at 9AM Monday morning three weeks before they are due. The exam questions for the midterm and final will be posted as soon as the previous assignment is completed. This means that in theory you can begin the next assignment a week before you are expected to get your readings done. For regular assignments you will ideally spend one week discussing the question on Slack and Hypothes.is and then one week writing your essays (although you are welcome to continue the discussion during the writing period). I will actively participate in the discussion throughout both periods. [Please feel free to ask me any questions you may have through public channels as if you have them, many other people in the class probably have them too. You can also visit me during my regular office hours.]  Essays are due at 5PM on the Friday that the assignment period ends.  That is also when I will count answers, questions and summaries. No late essays will be accepted for whatever reason as you have plenty of flexibility for budgeting your time.

Look for periodic announcements about the course here on Canvas. Grades will be posted in the Canvas grade book as they are completed. Links to materials outside of Canvas are available in the assignments, or you can always sign into Slack or Milestone Documents separately and access documents there that way.

Here is a brief summary of the general topics we’ll cover and the course schedule:

Week 1: Setting up Tech

Week 2: What Is History and What Is a Reliable Source?

Weeks 3 and 4: Industrializations and Its Effects

Weeks 5 and 6: Age of Reform

Week 7: Midterm

Weeks 8 and 9: The Cold War Here and Abroad

Weeks 10 and 11: Radicalism and Reaction

Weeks 12 and 13: Deindustrialization and the Post-Cold War World

Week 14: Final Exam

Thank you for reading the syllabus all the way to the end. As a sign that you’ve done so, please dig the Slack invitation out of your e-mail and join. After doing that, click on my name “drjonathanrees” a little more than halfway down the column on the left side of the screen. Then send me a direct message that reads “I have read the entire syllabus!” and you will have completed the first task for #assignment1.