Revision of America in the Sixties Course with Digital Assignment

Below is a revision of my “America in the Sixties” course which I will teach in the spring of 2014. (Lucky for me I’m on sabbatical in the fall). In order to add this assignment, I had to give up a “role playing” game. For more on these role playing games see: Reacting to the Past. Though I’m willing to give up this game for this course, I strongly encourage members of the digital history community to familiarize themselves with this innovative student-centered learning technique pioneered by Mark Carnes of Barnard College.

Course Outcomes: (Derived for common Departmental and AHA-tuning-in project standards)
1. Knowledge of era: Students will use course materials to make connections between past and present issues.
2. Thinking skills: Students will demonstrate analytical and critical thinking skills necessary for interpreting and using sources as basis for thesis/argument.
3. Academic/Professional Standards (Writing): Students will be able to write competently, including using correct mechanics and style appropriate for audience.
4. Academic/Professional Standards (Oral/Visual/[Digital]Presentation): Students will present work with professional appearance and demeanor.

1) Peter B. Levy, ed., America in the Sixties—Right, Left, and Center: A Documentary History (Praeger, 1998).
2) David Maraniss, They Marched Into Sunlight: War and Peace, Vietnam and America, October 1967 (Simon & Schuster, 2003)
3) Assorted scholarly readings available via jstor or posted online.

1) Two papers (27.5% of grade.) (See attached)
2) Class assignments and participation (25% of grade)

3) One group “digital” assignment (25% of grade) (4-5 students per group)

A. Goals of Assignment: The object/goals of this assignment are threefold:
1. To enhance student research skills and critical thinking skills.
2. To enhance student understanding of the time period.
3. To enhance student skills and comfort in using digital technologies
B. To fulfill this requirement student can chose one of two options.
1. Compose and post a blog, using Word Press, on a topic of your choice. For a sample of a blog see: Please note that this blog, much like a formal paper, contains an argument, supported by evidence drawn from primary and secondary sources, and references in Chicago Manual of Style format. The blog post is roughly 10-12 pages long, includes visual media and its creators have considered its design as well as its content. (Further clarification on the assessment of the blog will be posted.)
2. Produce a video documentary and post on You Tube (preferably a private channel) on a topic of your choice. The video should focus on a theme examined in the course applied to the local level (York College, the York community, or your home community), such as the rise of the counterculture in York or the sexual revolution and York College. It must make use of primary sources and students should consider making use of sources available at the Special Collections Department at York College and/or the York Historical Society. (Further clarification on the assessment of the production will be posted.) Your video production should include audio—music and/or narration and must include references to source material. The documentaries will be apx. 10-15 minutes long.
3. Alternatively, students can produce a radio program following the same rules for the video documentary. For a good example of a radio documentary, listen to one of the segments on “Will the Circle Be Unbroken: An Audio Documentary of the Civil Rights Movement.”

[Such an assignment aligns with both my program’s (major’s) Academic/Professional Standards outcome and with the College Mission statement which calls for “thoughtful application of relevant technology.”]

Please be well-advised that you will not be able to successfully complete this assignment if you put it off to the end of the semester. Time will be set aside for in-class work on it but student groups are expected to meet regularly out of class. Specific deadlines for the two projects, including selecting the topic, identifying key sources, and developing a draft for peer review, will be distributed next week.


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