I make extensive use of the Moodle Gradebook: this gives you the ability to check your course standing at any time.  I’m happy to discuss your grade with you during my office hours.  Please just take the time to calculate your current standing using the grade allocation outlined below first.  While the individual grades and comments in the Moodle Gradebook reflect my evaluation of your course performance to date, you cannot rely on Moodle’s calculation of your course average.

Grade Components:

Professionalism & Participation (10%):


Your active participation in class activities and discussion are crucial to the success of the course.  You are expected to come to class fully prepared to discuss the day’s texts; this includes bringing copies of your reading assignments so that you can support your ideas with specific examples, your completed historical analysis worksheets, and your notes and questions on the material.  You will be graded on the quality of your contributions to our class discussions.  Simply attending class without any further involvement in our discussions will result in a participation grade of “C” or “Satisfactory.”

You will be given the chance to evaluate your participation and make a case for what participation grade you deserve several times during the semester.  This is a chance for you to reflect on your involvement in the class, and to let me know how you feel you are doing.  I take your personal assessment very seriously.

Classroom exercises will include debates, primary source analysis, peer review, and short creative non-fiction. You will take a Map Quiz at the beginning of class on Monday, September 2.  You must pass this map quiz (score of 75% or higher) to pass the class.  Anyone needing to take the quiz more than once may make arrangements to do so during my office hours.

Course Blog Posts

A few times during the semester you’ll write short blog posts about your developing research project.  Students will use our course blog to share discussion questions about Victors & Vanquished and Slave Revolution in the Caribbean.

Class Notes Blog Post

Class notes blog posts serve as a place for you all to synthesize the work of our intellectual community. You are all authors building a common understanding of our class work.

Historical Analysis Prep (20%)

Studies suggest that interteaching – in our case, student completion of short, targeted historical analysis assignments before seminar, coupled with shorter, student-tailored lectures – can help students focus their attention and better prepare for class discussions.  They give me a sense of what you do and don’t understand from the day’s reading.  In addition, they let us devote more time in class to active learning.  As you read each day’s materials, please complete the corresponding Historical Analysis Prep.  These will form the basis of our active discussions.  I’ll randomly check one third of the class’ work every session, grading for completion and good effort.  On other days, I’ll collect all the sheets to give more detailed feedback on your work.

Short Essay: First Reports (10%)

This short paper (750-1000 words) will allow you to hone your skills as a historian analyzing an early European depiction of Latin America, and arguing how you think this portrayal of Latin America should be understood in light of modern historians’ research. Upload to Moodle by noon on Friday, September 20.

Critical Book Analysis (Class Presentation) (10%)

Critical book reviews encapsulate thoughtful presentations of the author’s work: the book’s purpose, methodology, sources employed, argument made, and contributions to the historiography.   You’ll share your critical analysis in a short (5-minute) oral presentation.

Midterm Exam (10%)

Identifications, short answer, and primary source analysis.  Given in class on Wednesday, October 2.  CLA Midterm Study Guide FA19

Research Project (25% total)

This semester-long project should demonstrate your mastery of several student learning goals set by the Department of History: developing a historical question, researching primary and secondary sources using the College of Wooster library system and online databases, creating a compelling historical narrative, and critically analyzing primary and secondary sources.  It will also allow you to show your appreciation of the diversities of cultures and historical experiences in colonial Latin  America.  Your final project will be a 4-6 minute iMovie.

This integrated project is also designed to emphasize how to use a range of high-quality, well-chosen sources as evidence to support an argument, whether you’re communicating your findings in a digital encyclopedia entry and a multi-media audio slideshow.

We will break this project into multiple steps with numerous chances for revision and refinement during the course of the semester.

  • Initial blog post with two research ideas and why they are important on Wednesday, September 11.
  • Blog Post with your revised research question and source ideas on Wednesday, September 25.
  • Research Prospectus: Upload to Moodle by 10am on Friday, October 18. (5%)
  • Full storyboard (script and list of images) is due by noon on Monday, October 28. Your script will be 4-6 minutes long, so about 500-700 words.
  • Peer review of 2 audio slideshows before class on Wednesday, October 30.
  • Optional: Deadline for submitting your revised script and revision memo for my feedback  is Wednesday, November 6.
  • You must bring your voice-over track, images, and audio clips for our workshop on Wednesday, November 13.
  • Final Audio Slideshow: Post abstract and YouTube url (web link) to Moodle by Friday, November 22 at 10am. (20%)

Comprehensive Final Exam (15%):

Identifications, very short answer, and two take-home essays.  The final exam will be on Monday, December 9 at 3pm.  This is the only time the exam will be administered, so please take this into account when making your travel plans.  Colonial LA Final Exam Review Handout FA19