BST913B

Primary Sources and the End Game

Since the midterm, I have noticed that several of my students are continuing to struggle with primary sources. Of course, they know what primary sources are, and to a pretty good degree, how to extract information from such documents. Nevertheless, it is apparent that a great number simply prefer to deal with and to use primary sources one…

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Your Bias is Showing

Earlier this semester, I started to notice an interesting trend in class discussions.  My students kept bringing up the bias, or lack thereof, of the authors we were discussing.  The term kept coming up again and again.  It was clear that when it comes to historians, my students wanted to hear from scholars without bias. …

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Fighting Pre-Holiday/End-In-Sight Distractions

Halloween is over, Thanksgiving is coming, and the big box stores are pumping out Christmas tunes and sales galore. Meanwhile, our students are beginning to see the end of the semester. The pre-holiday distractions combined with the inevitable conclusion of the course often result in disengaged students. Some are thinking about family time and fun…

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Questions to Ask for a Good Discussion

After fumbling and bumbling questions in my classes and failing to channel my inner Oprah and getting my students to just open up their intellectual inner landscapes to me, I started thinking about what makes good discussion questions. It occurred to me that the best questions are not the ones I ask students, but the…

The Problem of Monographs in Undergraduate Courses

I am constantly debating what kinds of sources to assign in my various courses, which ones to include, and, arguably more difficult, which ones to exclude. Yet this sometimes is one of the more enjoyable exercises in teaching. When making course syllabi, I tend to revisit books and articles that, as a graduate student, had…

blake1

Team Teaching: Rewards and Challenges

At this point, we have a lot of evidence that the lecture-based model isn’t optimal for student learning. We also know that the more active students are in class, the more information they will retain. But the larger question for history professors is how to create an active learning environment in a discipline that has…

tara strauch

Reading the Survey

I am teaching the first half of the American history survey this semester. We have just gotten the Constitution ratified and Washington elected, but I’m already deep in thought about teaching the second half of the survey next semester.  My book list is due soon and it has got me thinking about what we assign…

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Teaching Primary Sources: The Mary Dalzell Assignment

Mary Dalzell died in 1764 and was buried in Trinity Church in Lower Manhattan, the same cemetery where Albert Gallatin and Alexander Hamilton are buried. But unlike these more illustrious historical figures, she left behind no voluminous collection of papers, and no detailed accounts of her life exist. What we know about Mary Dalzell comes…