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Assignment Instructions

Fall 2014

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Aug. 30: This page is ready to use.


Click on the name of an assignment to see specific instructions.
% of GRADE NAME DUE DATE
10% Summary of an article from JStor Sep. 5
10% Notes on guest lecture Oct. 3
20% First essay exam Sep. 22
20% Second essay exam Oct. 27
10% Analysis of the JStor article from the Sep. 5 assignment Dec. 1
20% Third exam Dec. 9-13
10% Class participation All semester


Find and summarize an article on the History of Spain from JStor (www.jstor.org)

VALUE OF ASSIGNMENT: 10 percent of final grade         DUE DATE: Friday Sept. 5

SPECIFIC INSTRUCTIONS:

Select a topic from the syllabus that interests you. Then follow these steps to find an article from the JStor databasec.

  1. Go to JStor (www.jstor.org). The easiest way is to use an on-campus computer and go through the WCU Library web page at http://www.wcupa.edu/library.fhg/.
  2. Click on Advanced Search.
  3. Check the boxes for "Include only content I can access", "Articles" under Narrow by and "History" under Narrow by discipline and/or publication title. Clear the checks from all other boxes. Ths way, you will only searching academic journals about history.
  4. OPTIONAL: set "Language" to English (but if you can read it, there is no reason not to choose an article in another language).
  5. Type words into the search boxes at the top of the screen and leave the search locations as "Full-Text." For your first search attempt, type "Spain" in the first box and a word or two from your topic into the second box.
  6. Look at the articles that appear as a result of your search. Notice that not all of them have to do with the History of Spain.
  7. Pick one article to analyze for this project. Make sure that it is about something to do with the history of Spain, and it is scholarly (with reference notes, a thesis, an argument and a conclusion). Make sure that it is not a "review article" about someone else's article. REMEMBER that you will use this article to complete a longer assignment due on Monday, Dec. 1.
  8. If your first search fails to turn up a suitable article, go back and try a new search using different words associated with your topic. REMEMBER to make sure that only the boxes for "Include only content that I can access," "Articles" and "History" remain checked.
  9. When you’ve found a suitable article, print it out, including the JStor title page that comes with it.

Prepare a report of 1-2 pages that gives the bibliographic citation, identifies the topic, and summarizes the content of your article. Print it out on 8.5" x 11" white paper with 1" margins and 12-point Courier or Arial font. Include your name and "HIS428, JStor Summary" at the top of the page (do not use a separate title page). If you submit more than one page, staple them together in the upper-lefthand corner. Turn it in to the professor at or before the beginning of class on Friday, September 5.

Return to the top of the page or the syllabus.


Analyze the JStor article from the Sept. 5 assignment

VALUE OF ASSIGNMENT: 10 percent of final grade         DUE DATE: Monday Dec. 1

SPECIFIC INSTRUCTIONS:
Using the article that you summaraized for the
Sept. 5 assignment,, prepare an analytical paper that answers the following questions.

  1. What is the topic of the article and what conclusion(s) does the author reach?
  2. How does the author reach his/her conclusion(s)? In other words, what are the points (or steps) in the author’s argument?
  3. What kind of historical sources did the author use? (old books? letters and diaries? government documents? physical objects like tools, buildings, works of art, graves or weapons? something else?)
  4. How does the author use each type of historical source to support the argument?
  5. Does the author of the article discuss what other historians have said about this topic? If so, to what extent does this author agree or disagree with the other historians?
  6. Is the author's argument clear and specific? Does it address a specific topic or episode in Spanish history and explain why it happened and why it is important? Don't just answer "yes" or "no" -- explain your answer.
  7. In your opinion, how well has the author proven his or her point? Note: Historians are not obliged to address moral questions like "was slavery justified" or "was torture necessary?" Historians try to argue about what happened, why it happened, and how we should understand the meaning of it. Those are the sorts of arguments you want to look for and to evaluate.
  8. Are there any problems, limitations or difficulties with the evidence and how the author uses it?
  9. How can other historians use this article? Does the author's conclusion offer insight into a large issue like the loss of the Spanish empire; a smaller issue like the British defeat the Spanish armada, or a much smaller question like why did Felipe V abdicate?)
  10. After reading this article and the relevant section in our textbook, what new questions or issues does this article raise? Does this article confirm or contradict the themes and lessons from class?
  11. Is the article well-organized and easy to follow? What could improve it? If you say “it was too long” or “it was too short,” can you suggest particular things that should be removed or added?
  12. Overall, what do you think of the article?

Print out your paper on 8.5" x 11" white paper with 1" margins and 12-point Courier or Arial font. Include your name and "HIS428, JStor Analysis" at the top of the page (do not use a separate title page). Staple your pages together in the upper-lefthand corner. Turn in your report PLUS a copy of your artiocle to the professor at or before the beginning of class on Monday, December 1.

Acknowledgement: The idea for this assignment, as well as most of the instructions, were adapted from "Teaching Historical Skills through JSTOR: An Online Research Project for Survey Courses" by Dr. Brent J. Ruswick (West Chester University Department of History) which appeared in The History Teacher, Vol. 44, No. 2 (February 2011), 285-296.

GRADING RUBRIC
PERCENT CATEGORY
20 Your essay shows that you read and understood the article you chose.
20 Your essay shows that you read and understood the Phillips' Concise History of Spain.
20 Your analysis addresses all of the questions that appear above.
20 Your essay is clear and readable.
20 Your spelling, punctuation and grammar are accurate.
-40 Your assignment is late.
-10 Your paper contains mechanical errors: pages not stapled, wrong font size or margins, non-white paper, etc.

Go to the syllabus or return to the top of this page.

Return to the top of the page or the syllabus.


Notes on guest presentation

VALUE OF ASSIGNMENT: 10 percent of final grade         DUE DATE: Wednesday Oct. 8

SPECIFIC INSTRUCTIONS:

Record the following information: The title of the presentation; the name of the presenter; the room, date and time of the presentation; a list of attendees plus description of the audience, the speaker's main points (in the order that they were presented), and a summary of the speaker's augument that ends with the speaker's conclusion.

SUBMISSION FORMAT: Type up your answers and print them out on 8.5" x 11" white paper with 1" margins and 12-point Courier or Arial font. Include your name and "HIS428, Lecture Notes" at the top of the page (do not use a separate title page). Staple your pages together in the upper-lefthand corner. Turn in your notes at or before the beginning of class on Wednesday, October 8.

GRADING RUBRIC
PERCENT CATEGORY
20 Your notes shows that you attended the presentation and paid close attention.
20 Your notes show that you understood the speaker's argument and conclusion.
20 Your notes answer include all of the required information listed above.
20 Your notes are clear and readable.
20 Your spelling, punctuation and grammar are accurate.
-40 Your assignment is late.
-10 Your paper contains mechanical errors: pages not stapled, wrong font size or margins, non-white paper, etc.

Return to the top of the page or the syllabus.


Three essay exams

VALUE OF ASSIGNMENT: 20 percent (each) of final grade         DUE DATE: Mon. Sept. 22; Mon. Oct. 27; and Dec. 9-13 (finals week)

SPECIFIC INSTRUCTIONS: You will be asked to select one of two possible question and write an essay that answers it as completely and clearly as possible using specific historical examples to show that your general statements are true. Great accuracy and number of examples, plus greater number and relevance of ideas, will earn a higher grade.

SUBMISSION FORMAT: Handwritten essay using blue or black in (no other color will be accepted) in a blue book provided by the professor.

GRADING RUBRIC
GRADE MINIMUM REQUIREMENT
A Your essay directly addresses the question, includes main issues and substantial detail, and shows understanding of how it relates to other themes of Spanish history.
B Your essay shows understanding of the question including the main issues and substantial detail.
C Your essay shows understanding of the question but leaves out important concepts and details.
D Your essay contains something relevant to the question, but appears to be a lucky guess rather than evidence that you understood the question and knew how to answer it.
F You attended the exam, signed a blue book and turned it in, but your essay did not address the question, or left doubt as to which question you tried to answer.
0 You did not show up for the examination and you were not able to present an acceptable excuse.

Go to the syllabus or return to the top of the page.


Class Participation

VALUE OF ASSIGNMENT: 10 percent of final grade

SUBMISSION FORMAT: Verbal expression in class that shows preparation, thoughtfulness and a desire to facilitate learning by all members of the class.

SPECIFIC INSTRUCTIONS: Good class participation begins by doing the assigned readings, but also includes spending some time to think about the readings before class begins. Come to class with questions on the readings if you find something that is not clear, and be prepared to make connections between the readings and what is said in class. Good class participation also requires awareness of what others in the class are doing, since the purpose of class participation is to enable everyone to learn better. Listen to what others say, add your own constructive comments and make sure that everyone gets a chance to participate in class. WARNING: Don't think that just by talking more than anyone else, you've participated well.

Return to the top of the page or the syllabus.


A list of all of Jim Jones' course syllabi can be found at http://courses.wcupa.edu/jones.

Fall 2014 Office Hours: MW 9-9:50am & 2-2:50pm, F 12-1:50pm, and by appointment, in 411 Wayne Hall.