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Assignment Instructions

Fall 2011

What's New?

Dec. 4: Added links to final papers to the skills test section of this page.
Nov. 30: Added detail for the skills test


Click on the name of an assignment to see specific instructions.
% of GRADE NAME DUE DATE
10% Essay on your choice of a research project Sep. 26
15% Notes on a primary source Oct. 7
15% Detailed outline of your project Oct. 19
5% Progress report Nov. 14
20% Final report on your research Dec. 2
15% Oral presentations Dec. 5-9
10% Skills test (final exam) Dec. 13-16
10% Class participation All semester


Essay on your choice of a research topic

VALUE OF ASSIGNMENT: 10 percent of final grade

SPECIFIC INSTRUCTIONS: Read the article by Bruce Bawer, "The Other Sixties" in The Wilson Quarterly (Spring 2004), pp64-84. It is available at no charge through the WCU Library website using the JSTOR database. Then consider the major topics discussed in class on September 2. Choose a specific research question that examines a consequence of your major topic on West Chester in the 1960s. Then write an essay that 1) identifies your major topic, 2) explains why you chose it, 3) states your specific research question, and 4) explains how you selected it.

SUBMISSION FORMAT: Write and print out an original essay of 500-1,000 words on 8.5" x 11" white paper with 1" margins and 12- point Courier or Arial font. Include your name and "HIS480, 1st assignment" at the top of the page (do not use a title page). Staple your pages together in the upper-lefthand corner. Turn it in to the professor at the beginning of class on the day that the assignment is due.

GRADING RUBRIC for Research Topic Choice Essay
PERCENT CATEGORY
20 Your essay shows that you read and understood Bawer's article.
20 Your essay shows familiarity with West Chester's history.
20 Your research topic is original and specific.
20 Your essay is clear and readable.
20 Your spelling, punctuation and grammar are accurate.
-20 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.


Notes on a primary source

VALUE OF ASSIGNMENT: 15 percent of final grade

SPECIFIC INSTRUCTIONS: As you conduct research, you must take notes. Other students have already taken notes on articles from the West Chester Daily Local News. Your assignment is to

1) go the the CCHS library or WCU library
2) read the Daily Local News (on microfilm) for six months (which will be assigned to you)
3) take notes on any article dealing with how these topics affected West Chester:

  • Cold War: Cuban missile crisis, nuclear war, fear
  • Vietnam: protests, treatment of veterans
  • Civil rights; protests, activity by churches
  • Housing: construction, quality, demolition
  • Technology: new items, effects, praise and concerns
  • Automobiles: types, uses, effects on people's behavior
  • Traffic: West Chester Bypass, truck traffic, road-building in and near West Chester

4) use the format described in the essay on
taking notes from newspapers (See an example.)

Here's a suggestion -- if you're willing to spend some money on photocopies, copy all of the relevant articles, scan them into a wordprocessing file, proofread the results, and then format the results into notecards. While this will take longer than simply taking notes, it will give you a lot more useful data and it will help you to familiarize yourself with what it contains. FYI: Photocopies cost 10 cents each at WCU library and 50 cents each (for better quality copies) at the CCHS library.

SUBMISSION FORMAT: Type your notes into two Word or Wordperfect documents -- one with notes on your research topic, and the other with notes on everyone else's research topics -- label them so I know which is which, and send them to your instructor as attachments to an email. [You may use this link.] Then replace any carriage returns (HARD PAGE) in each document with a line of equal signs (====) and print them out to hand in at the beginning of class on the day this assignment is due. (NOTE: The reason for replacing HARD PAGE codes with a line of equal signs is so that you can save paper by printing more than one note card on a page.)

In order to avoid a "late penalty," your email must be date/time-stamped before noon on the day that the assignment is due. Suggestion: Turn it in a day early to avoid problems.

GRADING RUBRIC for Notes on a primary source
PERCENT CATEGORY
10 Notes on each article begin with a date (YYY/MM/DD), keywords and complete reference note in the proper format (Chicago Manual of Style).
10 All abbreviations have been expanded or explained, and there are no ambiguous pronouns.
10 All of your notes are in complete sentences (except for data from tables or quoted material, if applicable), and the first sentence in every paragraph explains the topic of the paragraph.
10 Your spelling, punctuation and grammar are accurate.
2 For each article relevant to your research topic.
2.5 For each article relevant to one of your colleagues' research topics.
-20 Assignment is late.

See detailed instructions on how to take notes from secondary reading, go to the syllabus or return to the top of the page.


Detailed outline of your project

VALUE OF ASSIGNMENT: 15 percent of final grade

SPECIFIC INSTRUCTIONS: Your outline is designed to show the instructor that you have been working on your project and to help you to think about the general direction that you intend to pursue. Your outline should explain how you intend to answer a historical question about the ways in which one of the major topics of history in the 1960s affected the history of West Chester. Your outline should specify your question, list the steps in your argument, and explain your conclusion (if you have one already) or your hypothesis (where you think your research is taking you). For each step in your argument, your outline should identify the data sources that you have already consulted and any data sources that you intend to consult.

Note that your outline is not legally binding, so if further research leads you to revise your argument and/or conclusion after you turn it in, you may do so. But the more work you do before you write your outline, the greater your chance of success will be on all subsequent stages in your research project.

SUBMISSION FORMAT: Write and print out an original outline of 500-1,000 words on 8.5" x 11" white paper with 1" margins and 12-point Courier or Arial font. Include your name and "HIS480, Project Outline" at the top of the page (do not use a title page). If necessary, staple your pages together in the upper-lefthand corner. Turn it in to the professor at the beginning of class on the day that the assignment is due.

PERCENT GRADING RUBRIC for Project Outline
20 Your outline contains a clear historical question.
20 Your outline shows evidence of thought beyond the act of creating a historical question
30 Your outline includes a list of sources and a description of research you have already completed.
30 Your outline is written with complete sentences and all spelling, punctuation and grammar errors have been corrected.
-20 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 the page.


Progress report on your project

VALUE OF ASSIGNMENT: 5 percent of final grade

SPECIFIC INSTRUCTIONS: Your goal is to show the progress you've made since you turned in your project outline. Describe all new sources that you have consulted since then and explain how they have influenced your historical question or hypothesis. Conclude with a paragraph on what you still need to do in order to complete your final project.

SUBMISSION FORMAT: Write and print out an essay of 250-500 words on 8.5" x 11" white paper with 1" margins and 12- point Courier or Arial font. Include your name and "HIS480, Progress Report" at the top of the page (do not use a title page). If necessary, staple your pages together in the upper-lefthand corner. Turn it in to the professor at the beginning of class on the day that the assignment is due.

GRADING RUBRIC for Progress Report
PERCENT CATEGORY
30 Your report describes new research since your outline.
30 Your report shows how your thinking has progressed since you submitted your outline.
20 Your essay is clear and readable.
20 You used accurate spelling, punctuation and grammar.
-20 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.


Final report on your research

VALUE OF ASSIGNMENT: 20 percent of final grade

SPECIFIC INSTRUCTIONS: The final report on your research must include an introduction that relates your topic to the larger study of West Chester's experience during the Sixties, a clear statement of your historical question, an equally clear statement of your conclusion, and a clear explanation of how you reached your conclusion. It must also include reference notes (end notes preferred) that identify every sources used in your paper, and a complete bibliography at the end of the paper.

Your final report should incorporate any feedback that you received on your detailed outline, your progress report, bia other communications with your professor (such as email). It may also include tables, graphs, maps or illustrations (each with a suitable reference note) to make your argument easier to understand.

SUBMISSION FORMAT: You may select either a written paper or a web presentation to present your research. If you chose to submit a written paper, you must submit both a hardcopy (print out) and machine-readable form (email attachment). Your hardcopy should be printed on 8.5" x 11" white paper with 1" margins and 12- point Courier or Arial font. Include your name and "HIS480, Final Report" at the top of the page (do not use a title page). Staple your pages together in the upper-lefthand corner.

To submit your paper in machine-readable form, save your paper as a Word, Wordperfect or RTF file and attach it to an email whose subject line reads "Final report from [your name]." Make sure that the body of your email contains your name and the email address to which you want me to send my response. In order to avoid a "late penalty," your email must be sent before noon on the day that the assignment is due and you must turn in your hardcopy at the beginning of class on that same day.

If you chose to submit a web presentation, use any means to program it that you chose, but make sure that your project is completely compatible with IE7 (Windows Internet Explorer version 7 or earlier). Submit your files on a CD-ROM and name your start page "INDEX.HTM." Your CD-ROM should be self-contained; i.e. all links lead to one of the files on your CD-ROM and none require an active Internet collection (except those for webpages listed in your bibliography). A typical file structure will include 1) INDEX.HTM, 2) PROJECT.HTM, 3) NOTES.HTM, AND 4) BIBLIOGRAPHY.HTM. Place any images or other materials in one or more subdirectories.

Note that the attractiveness of your web presentation is less important than its content. Before you add anything -- a film clip, colored text, an audio track, an image or anything else -- ask yourself what it contributes to the clarity of your historical argument. If the answer has more to do with an appeal to the senses than to the intellect, you probably should not add it.

PERCENT GRADING RUBRIC for final project
30 Your project presents a historical question, cites primary and secondary sources that provide relevant data, and uses that data to present an understandable argument reaches a logical conclusion.
20 Your project provides correctly formatted reference notes for all of the data used in your argument, and a correctly formatted bibliography containing all of the sources used in your project.
20 Your project is written using complete sentences organized in logical paragraphs (except for data from tables or quoted material).
10 All abbreviations have been explained and you used no ambiguous pronouns.
10 There are no spelling, punctuation or grammar errors.
10 Your final paper incorporates feedback that you received on earlier assignments.
-20 Your assignment is late.
-10 Your project contains mechanical errors: pages not stapled, broken links, etc.

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


In-class presentation

VALUE OF ASSIGNMENT: 15 percent of final grade

SUBMISSION FORMAT: You will receive at least one week notice before you present your research to the rest of the class. You will have ten minutes to discuss your work and at least five minutes during which to respond to questions from the class.

SPECIFIC INSTRUCTIONS: Your presentation should identify your research topic, summarize your method, describe your sources and explain your results. If you wish to distribute handouts, prepare sufficient copies for the instructor and all class members. If you want to illustrate your presentation, inform your professor at least one week ahead of time, prepare your illustrations as a Powerpoint or Web presentation, and bring them to class on a CD-ROM.

PERCENT GRADING RUBRIC for oral presentation
30 Make your presentation on the assigned day. Subtract thirty (30) points if you are not prepared to present your work on schedule.
30 Your presentation explains your topic and summarizes your argument clearly.
30 You demonstrate awareness of your audience by using appropriate language, answering questions or in some other way.
10 Complete your presentation within the alloted time (ten minutes).

Review the instructions for oral presentations, go to the syllabus or return to the top of the page.


Skills test

VALUE OF ASSIGNMENT: 10 percent of final grade

SUBMISSION FORMAT: This test will be administered during the final exam period (Friday, December 16, 1-3pm). It will consist of questions about the techniques that we learned this semester and the research presented by the members of the class during their oral presentations on Dec. 5-9.

Use these links to read your classmates (ungraded) papers and prepare for the Skills Test:
     
Monday papers (Buelow, Clancy, Irvin)
      Wednesday papers (Citko, Dimidio, Danziger)
      Friday papers (Glassey, Hilton)

PERCENT GRADING RUBRIC for oral presentation
100 Answer all questions correctly.
-2 For each minute late after 1:05pm on the test day.
-100 Fail to show up for the test.


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.