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Teaching Thursday: Revised Classes for Spring

I apologize for missing a post yesterday.  I seem to have acquired a catastrophic stomach bug.  But I am back in the office today equipped with saltines and weak tea.

I have (perhaps foolishly) revised both of my classes for this spring.  For Western Civilization, this has involved moving some of my weekly lecture material to podcasts.  Each podcast is around an hour and presents the basic historical narrative for the class.  Since my class emphasizes the nature of pre-industrial states and societies, most of these lectures focus on the basic political history for each period.  It’s been a challenge to compress, say, all of Archaic and Classical Greece down to an hour, but has encouraged my to prioritize the structured, narrative information that I provide each week.  The goal behind these podcasts is to allow allow me to spend more time in class dealing with primary source texts and writing skills.  Last semester I experimented with a more lecture based format (entirely appropriate, I think, for a class of 100+ students).  I was unsatisfied with the results overall but nevertheless regarded the format as well-suited for the dissemination of basic historical information.  Here’s the syllabus, and I will post some of the podcasts soon!

As for my History 240: The Historians Craft… Traditionally I have run this class as an open seminar allowing students to conduct research on any historical topic while providing basic structure to guide them through the writing and research on their chosen subject matter.  This worked relatively well, judging from my basically solid reviews and the fairly decent final products.  The only down side was that the class was hardly a seminar.  There was little in the way of conversation among the students as their topics were often as divergent as “Ninjas” and “Women in the Revolutionary War”.  To remedy this, I have created a more focused seminar on the history of the University of North Dakota.  This is meant to key on both the recent 125th-i-versary celebrations here at UND as well as get the students into the University Archives.  There is no substitute for exposing the students to real archival material (raw and unedited!).  The biggest challenge will likely be encouraging the students to think beyond the boundaries of UND and engage the broader historiographic context for their research.  If I can do this, however, there will be a significant upside: the students will be forced to consider how their own experiences here on UND’s campus fit into broader trends.  Here’s the syllabus, and I will report back on our progress soon!

For more Teaching Thursday:

Teaching Tuesday: Trends in Grades in a Western Civilization Course
Teaching Thursday: Interviews (K. Kourelis)
Teaching Thursday: Rethinking Lectures, Content, and the Classroom Vibe
Teaching Thursday: Teaching by Templates
Teaching Thursday: A Historical Perspective on Teaching Research Methods with Kate Turabian
Teaching Thursday: Teaching Time
Teaching Thursday: Classroom Modernism (K. Kourelis)
Teaching Thursday: Teaching the Election
Teaching Thursday: Making Room for Experiments
Teaching Thursday: More on Writing
Teaching Thursday: Making the Test
Teaching Thursday: Red pens, Reading, and Assessment
Teaching Thursday: The Structure of Seminar
Teaching Thursday: Jennifer Ball’s Teaching Thursday (K. Kourelis and J. Ball)
Teaching Thursday: The Changing Meaning of the Large Lecture
Teaching Thursday: The Modern Graduate Student
Teaching Thursday: Reading the Digital Palimpsest for Traces of an Analog World
Teaching Thursday: Who Are My Students? (K. Kourelis)
Teaching Thursday: Another View on High Tech Teaching
Teaching Thursday: Transmedia Teaching
Teaching Thursday (K. Kourelis)
Teaching Thursday

Categories: Uncategorized
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