Assignments

Class Participation— Students are expected to contribute at least once to every class discussion in this course to receive a minimum of a “D” for this assignment. Grades will be based on whether a student participated and the substance of his/her comments.

Reading-Based Blogging—For specific directions on this assignment, click here.  Blog posts are due by 8AM on the day of class discussion and will be used in class. No late or incomplete posts will be accepted. Students may miss one response without affecting their grade.

American West History Research Project: Students are required to write a 5-to-7-page research paper on some aspect of the American West, broadly defined.  There will be a series of smaller assignments—project description, research-based blogging, and presentation—that will lead to completion of the final paper. Students must have their project proposal approved by the instructor before proceeding with their research. If students decide to change topics, then they MUST repeat all preceding assignments and meet with me individually on each draft. NOTE: all assignments will be marked down a partial letter grade for each day they are late, including weekends.

Project Description (1-2-pages): A short document that addresses the following: 1) the subject that you plan to research, 2) a working argument; 3) the types of sources that you plan to use, 4) the significance of your proposed project, and 5) bibliography. Students must have their project proposal approved by the instructor before proceeding with their research. Make an appointment or email me to discuss possible topics before this assignment is due.  For a specific deadline to post your proposal, see the Schedule.

Research-Based Blogging: For more information on this assignment, click here. Starting week four of the semester, students will write a bi-weekly research journal that will be maintained on their website. Assignments will be due on Mondays by 8AM throughout the semester except for the last two weeks of classes when we will be presenting our research.  For specific dates, see the Schedule.

Final Presentation (5 minutes): Formal presentations to the class on your research. It is required that students include multimedia. For more information, see “Oral Presentations” on UMW’s History Department’s website or make an appointment with the Speaking Center. Final presentations will be given during the last weeks of school.  For specific dates, see the Schedule.

Student Research Paper (5-to-7-pages): This assignment is a culmination of all your research and writing. It will include analyses of both primary and secondary sources that support your thesis statement. A bibliography must be included at the end of your paper.  Final papers are expected to be posted online on the last day of classes by noon.  For a specific deadline, see the Schedule.

Exams—There will be a midterm and a final during the scheduled exam period. Both will be used to evaluate your ability to synthesize the major themes of the course, focusing primarily on questions generated on the class blog.  The final exam will not necessarily be cumulative, but it will build upon material from the first half of the semester. For specific dates, see the Schedule.