Course Information


TSI satisfied in Reading and Writing, HIST 1301 recommended but not required.

General Education Core Objectives:

·         Critical Thinking Skills (CT) - creative thinking, innovation, inquiry, and analysis, evaluation and synthesis of information

·         Communication Skills (COM) - effective development, interpretation and expression of ideas through written, oral and visual communication

·         Social Responsibility (SR) - intercultural competence, knowledge of civic responsibility, and the ability to engage effectively in regional, national, and global communities

·         Personal Responsibility (PR) - ability to connect choices, actions and consequences to ethical decision-making

Student Learner Outcomes:

Upon successful completion of this course, students will:

1.       Create an argument through the use of historical evidence.

2.       Analyze and interpret primary and secondary sources.

3.       Analyze the effects of historical, social, political, economic, cultural, and global forces on this period of United States history.

Required Course Materials:

This textbook is required for all written assignments: David M. Kennedy, Lizabeth Cohen, and Mel Piehl, The Brief American Pageant: A History of the Republic, 9th edition. It is the one-volume edition containing 41 chapters and is used for both History 1301 and History 1302. The ISBN is 9781337124645; however, that ISBN is a “bundle” and includes both the textbook and an online program called Mindtap. In this course, we will not use Mindtap.

You must use your textbook and other resources provided in the course (including primaries for your 2nd writing assignment) as your only source for your written assignments. For all written assignments, you must cite a specific page from the textbook or a primary for your facts. (See Evidence Requirements at the bottom of Lesson Units and on the Course Menu.)

You must use your textbook and required primaries and other resources provided in the course as your only source of facts for your written assignments. For all out-of-class written assignments, you must cite a specific page from the textbook or primary for your facts.

Six Drop Rule:

Under section 51.907 of the Texas Education Code, “an institution of higher education may not permit a student to drop more than six courses, including any course a transfer student has dropped at another institution of higher education.” This statute was enacted by the State of Texas in spring 2007 and applies to students who enroll in a public institution of higher education as a first-time freshman in fall 2007 or later. There are many exceptions to this rule. Please refer to the current WCJC catalog for information.

Dropping a Course with a Grade of “W:

In the History Department, instructors may not drop students. Students must drop their course. WCJC sets the last date for a student to drop a course. That date is on the first page of this syllabus and also on the Course Schedule at the end.

Method of Instruction:

History is not only a required course, but also helps you succeed in your future. Understanding history:

·         Provides useful information that can help you in all of the roles you will have in your life—family member, student, worker who may have to retrain many times in a rapidly changing world, and decision maker about your own life and about your own vote.

·         Develops useful skills in reading, analysis, decision-making, and practical writing that are necessary for all of those roles.

Organization of the Course

United States History II covers from 1877 to the 21st Century. The course is split into three Units, or major time periods, that reveal shifts in our history. The three time periods are:

·         Unit 1: Creating a New America from 1860 to 1913 

·         Unit 2: Moving to the World Stage –  America from 1890 to 1945

·         Unit 3: Transformations – America from 1945 to the Present

Blackboard and Its Use in This Class:

In this course, you need to use Blackboard for five things:

1.       Using resources including links, maps, and primary sources (sources created during the period we are examining).

2.       Taking the 4 required Evidence Quizzes

3.       Taking required Learning Quizzes.

4.       Submitting written assignments to Turnitin within Blackboard. Caution: You must be in Blackboard to submit.

5.       Using Blackboard’s My Grades to see your grades throughout the course and, if needed, your instructor’s Comment to you about that grade as guidance on what you need to do.

If you have limited Internet or computer access, see me for ways to work with less time online.

Course Requirements

Getting Stared Activities:

The Getting Started activities are provided in the top of Lesson Units. If you come in after the due date, you must still do at least your Course Plan, but I will record—temporarily—a 1.11 for the grade. At the end of the term, you email me that you have not been late with other assignments and I will gladly change the grade to match what I have entered in the Comment for that grade.

Assignments That Help You Learn Efficiently and Prepare for Exams and for Writing Assignments:

How Quizzes Work in This Course for Both Self-Testing and to Earn Full Points

Quizzes, whether about concepts or evidence, always consist of:

·         A self-test so you can find out what you know and do not know—with no points lost for find that out!

·         Once you submit the self-test, Blackboard automatically displays additional content (if needed) and a full-test that you may repeat. The highest score counts.


If you take the Self-Test by the recommended date in the Course Schedule, you earn 1 extra credit point. (You must also attempt the Full-Test, which is located in the same folder. Tip: Why not repeat until you have the highest score?)

Evidence Quizzes as a Key to Understanding Historical Writing and Basics That You Must Apply When You Write

These quizzes occur in Unit 1 and Unit 2. The content of the Evidence Quizzes comes primarily from a tutorial on the 5 Good Habits for Evidence, with some additional content provided with it. The grading of writing assignments is on how you apply these basics of evidence. (See Evidence Requirements, available on the Course Menu and in Lesson Units.)

Learning Quizzes, Concepts, and the Goal of Exam Questions

Learning Quizzes let students focus on concepts, such as the meaning of words, the location and traits of places, and parts of essential documents. Understanding concepts helps you understand accurately the facts you encounter. Questions from these quizzes are also 8 (over 30%) of the 25 questions on each Unit exam.

In this class, questions do not require that you show you know everything, but that you show that you know something. The questions focus on your recognizing significant traits of such things as regions, time periods and their dominant beliefs or events, and historical figures. The Course Plans that you submit during Getting Started provide a link with examples of this type of question. Use that link.

3 Unit Objective Exams

The questions in the Unit Objective Exam are pulled from Learning Quizzes (8 of the 25 questions), the instructor’s Lesson links, with these requirements reinforced in the study guide. There are 25 questions in sets (so questions vary from person to person).

Departmental Final Exam—F for the Course If Not Taken

There is a review for the Final Exam provided in the course in a Learning Module at the bottom of Learning Units. The Final Exam has 50 questions, at 2 points each. The questions in the Departmental Final Exam were written directly or chosen by the History Department.

Caution: Departmental policy is an F for the course if you do not take the Final. In other words, if you have an A average for all of the prior work in the course and if you do not take the Final Exam, I am required to enter an F for your final Letter grade for the course.

Written Assignments:

How Writing Assignments Work in This Course

Writing assignments are freshman level, brief, and use only the textbook and resources in the course. You focus on a specific historical question as though you were teaching another student. You follow rules for citation provided in the course. Every part of the writing and all feedback, including your peer review of others’ work, is to be based on the 5 Good Habits for Evidence. It is not about style or opinion. It requires you practice skills essential to get and keep a good job. Points are entered only after you respond to feedback—whether that feedback was from your instructor or a student who peer reviewed your paper.

Your writing assignments are located in Required Writing, available on the Course Menu and in Lesson Units. Instructions and any materials you need and the Turnitin Assignment that you use are there.

A 3-Part Writing Assignment – Paper, 2 Peer Reviews of Other Students’ Papers, and Your Responses to Feedback

For your paper, you follow the instructions and answer one of the questions provided. You use primaries. You write a brief paper and a reflection. Since a word count can be hard to think about, the paper—if printed—is to be under 1 page double-spaced; the reflection, under ˝ page. For both, you provide citation as specified.

For your peer review, you follow the instructions on how to give specific feedback on the form and to mark the student’s page. You focus your feedback on whether the other student followed the 5 Good Habits for Evidence. For this, you are specific. If you refer to something in the textbook, you provide citation.

Writing Assignments and Requirements about Using in Turnitin in Blackboard

With Turnitin assignments in this class, you:

·         Submit your file to Turnitin in Blackboard. (We do not use Turnitin at a separate website.)

·         May resubmit your file many times until the Due Date. For example, you may submit to Turnitin for feedback on grammar and plagiarism, then correct the file, and resubmit it. Submit early so you can ask questions on such things as what Turnitin has identified in its originality report.


With these Turnitin assignments, you must do these 2 things for your work to be graded.

1.       Submit your file before 11:59 PM on the Due Date (always a Sunday). Cautions: Do not wait until the last minute. Be sure you see and print/scan the digital receipt before you exit. You do not turn in the digital receipt, but save it in case there is a problem. If it seems to be taking an unusually long time to submit your file, it is usually safest to exit and resubmit.

2.       Bring a print of the paper to your instructor before the seating chart is complete on your next class day after the Due Date. Caution: Do not wait until the last minute. Dis

Course Evaluation

Grading Scale:

This is a 1000-point course, with points added as you earn them. You can see your current total in Blackboard.  At the end of each Unit, I post an Announcement in Blackboard to help you determine your current letter grade. If the grade is lower than you want, please ask for help. The Final Letter Grade is determined by this scale:

Point Range

Final Letter Grade

895 – 1000

A (exceptional)

795 – 894

B (above average)

695 – 794

C (average)

595 – 694

D (below average)

Below 595

F (failing)

Grading Formula:

The 1000-point course consists of these points, with the first 2 being general assignments, the middle 4 being objective assignments, and the last 2 being written assignments:

·         30 – Getting Started activities (How you start frequently determines your success at the end)

·         90 – Participation and Self-Management to Help Both Objective and Written Work

·         40 – 4 Evidence Quizzes @ 10 points each

·         200 – Lesson Quizzes

·         300 – 3 Unit Objective Exams @ 100 points each

·         100 – Comprehensive Final Exam– Departmental policy is an F for the course if you do not take it.

·         60—4 in class short essays @ 20 points each, with the lowest being dropped.

·         240 – 3-Part Writing with the paper @ 100 points, 2 Peer Reviews of Other Students’ Papers @ 50 points each, and Your Response to Their Feedback @ 40 points


Your Course Plan and Extra Credit for How You Work and Opportunities to Improve a Weak Grade

This course does not offer extra credit at the end of the class to help a few people make a higher grade. It does offer extra credit to all students for doing things that will make them better students.  Because these offers require that you do things at a specific time or way, what you do is covered in the Course Plan that you do in Getting Started.

Caution about the History Department’s Course Objectives and the Requirement for 25% Writing

The History Department has student learner outcomes that require writing based on evidence and that require that you use primaries as well as secondaries. The Course Plan you submit during Getting Started provides a link to explain those objectives and the meaning of the terms primary and secondary. Use that link.

The written work must be over 25 percent of your final grade, a requirement for all history instructors. That minimum means formal writing assignments are essential to pass. The Course Plans that you submit during Getting Started provide a link to show you math examples so you can see how that 25% writing requirements makes success in writing essential. Use that link. The Course Plan you submit during Getting Started provides a link to explain those objectives and the meaning of the terms primary and secondary. Use that link.

How This Course Tries to Help Different Types of Students Succeed with History

For many students, a United States history course is the first time they have had to write about something that is real—not just opinion—and therefore requires verifiable evidence from a reliable source. Some students never had United States history before. Some students are very uncomfortable and inexperienced with writing.

Also, history is cognitively like biology: both disciplines are real and both are also detailed, complex, and interconnected. That means you have plenty of ways to be wrong about those realities. Many students seem to have problems with both of these disciplines.

To try to help students with the issues above, this course does three things. First, it provides information and quizzes on these basic rules of evidence so you can find out what you do not know about evidence before you write. Second, it uses one rubric for all writing assignments and your feedback on that rubric tells you which of the 5 Good Habits for Evidence—which way of working—you may need to change. Third, with permission of the History Department to do this experiment to try to help students, it divides written grades in two parts:

The Course Plans that you submit during Getting Started provide a link to show you how dividing written grades in those two parts can help your grade—and your skills. Use that link.

How This Course Tries to Help Different Types of Students Succeed with Self-Management

Factual accuracy is a key to success with assignments based on evidence, not opinion. Being able to focus on factual accuracy in class requires self-management by the class. To encourage self-management, the seating chart is a way to record distracted or distracting behavior and—the ideal—focused behavior.

If you read carefully before class, your focused participation can help the class dialog as part of the lecture. Good participation is useful to others and means such behaviors as:

1)      No guessing and no use of information other than from the textbook or sources within the course

2)      No answers that are off topic

3)      Asking questions that are on topic (You can always ask general questions at the beginning of class.)

4)      No hogging or bullying (examples available)

5)      No use of electronics, including no attempts to hide them while using them

Each Unit has a Self-Management grade @ 30 points for a total of 90 points (9%) of your final grade. A mark on the seating chart in orange means no points for the Unit; no marks at all, 23.9; and one or more marks in blue, the grades shown below.


Letter Grade

What Do You Do to Earn It?

How Is It Measured?

Quantity Required


C++ averaging as a B-

In class, no distracted or distracting behaviors

No orange dots in your seating chart for the Unit.

0 (Absolutely not 1 time during the Unit)


Averages as a mid-B

Does the above and also does focused participation in class dialog within lecture

1 blue dot in your seating chart for the Unit

At least 1 time


Averages as an A-

Does both things above

2 blue dots

At least 2 times



Does both things above

3 or more blue dots

At least 3 times

Course Policies

Class Behavior Policy:

Disruptive behavior that is a consistent problem will result in the student’s dismissal from this course. The term “classroom disruption” means behavior a reasonable person would view as substantially or repeatedly interfering with the conduct, instruction, and education of a class. Examples include resorting to physical threats or personal insults, coming to class under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance other than prescriptions, or abusing students or instructors with offensive remarks. They also include repeatedly leaving and entering the classroom without authorization, making loud or distracting noises, persisting in speaking without being recognized. (See WCJC’s Student Handbook.)

Attendance Policy:

WCJC’s Student Handbook explains responsibilities for attendance and when a student should withdraw from the course. I will consider active attendance throughout the course favorably when computing final grades that are borderline. (Details provided in class.) Active attendance means 3 things: 1) using the upcoming Lesson’s Learning Quizzes before class, 2) using that preparation to participate positively in problem solving in class, 3) taking notes, and 4) removing all distractions. Using a cell phone, smartwatch, computer, or other device during class makes active attendance improbable. Put up all of these devices before class starts. Your self-management in class during each of the 3 Units is measured for a grade. (Covered above.) If you cannot resist using your cell phone—for example—during class, then you will not only lose the points for the Unit, but also before the beginning of the next class you will need to place the device in a safe location provided by the instructor and then pick up your device at the end of class.

Exceptions: If you have a family emergency or equivalent event that requires your being able to respond to cell phone messages during a class, then see me before class. If counseling has confirmed that you need to use a computer during class and if you use it only for work going on in this class, then provide their form to me and talk with me privately.

Attendance Policy and the Seating Chart and the Beginning of Class:

Attendance will be taken once daily at the beginning of the class. If you come into class after it has begun (after the seating chart is complete), you are not marked as attending for the day. Students who frequently come to class after the class has begun tend to make very low grades for the course. For example, they miss announcements about topics for the day and they do not hear other students’ questions about upcoming assignments. With out-of-class assignments, work is due at the beginning of class. For example, if you arrive after the seating chart is complete, you cannot hand in your paper copy of a Turnitin Assignment. If you cannot come to class, have the printed copy timestamped at the reception area before the class starts.

On the date in the Course Schedule (at the end of this syllabus), you choose your preferred seat; however, students who chat after class starts will be moved to another seat on the next class day.

Academic Honesty Policy:

WCJC’s Student Handbook explains student responsibilities and provides examples of misconduct. It states “plagiarism and cheating refer to the use of unauthorized books, notes, or otherwise securing help during a test; copying tests [or] assignments….” The Handbook provides details on college-level policies. In this course, copying any part of an assignment from the Internet or another source is a zero (0) on the assignment.

Due Dates, the Course Schedule (at the end of this syllabus), and Your Responsibilities:

It is your responsibility:

1.       To talk to me if you do not know what to do or need help. The earlier we talk, the better your chances of success.

2.       To use the Course Schedule to determine:

·         What Lessons we are covering in the coming week and therefore what Learning Quizzes you should start

·         What is DUE—including preparation and what you print and bring to class before the seating chart is completed.

3.       To understand the Late Work Policy (below) so you can understand the consequences of your decisions.

Late Work Policy:

It is your responsibility to talk to your instructor if you do not know what to do. The earlier we communicate, the better are our chances for success.

With due dates for any assignment, including exams and required writing, there are no extensions unless it is appropriate to make an extension available to all of you. You have these responsibilities:

  1. If your planning at the beginning of the term shows you cannot do these assignments, such as having previously scheduled a trip, tell your instructor immediately and suggest an earlier date for you do the assignment.

Tip: Examine the Course Schedule to determine if you have conflicts and immediately propose an earlier date.

  1. If something happens that you cannot plan for, such as suddenly becoming very ill (doctor’s note required) or having a death in the family, tell your instructor immediately and provide a valid, written excuse.


With a valid, written excuse for something that no one could plan for, these rules apply.

·         If you miss an exam, your make-up exam is taken on the date of the Final Exam.

·         If you miss a Required Writing (with the exception of Peer Reviews), you receive an extension, set by me, with no penalty.


Without a valid, written excuse for something that no one could plan for, you receive a 0. Tip: If you had an event that does not meet the criteria of something that no one could plan for and if you cannot prepare as much as you prefer, do the assignment as best you can. A low grade is better than a 0.