1.    Searchable Syllabus – What you do

This is what I showed you as we discussed parts of the syllabus. The links for you are ones that I’d click on. Success is possible but it—in my experience—has to be “intentional” and thinking about that has saved me many times.


Students fail not because they are incompetent but because they do not understand:

·         That college is different from high school – The rules are different and the risk shifts to the student. (With each of these bullets I am trying to make sure you understand because I want you to be OK.)

·         That history is different from other classes—The History Department has rules that all history instructors must follow. I believe in these rules and support them, but you have to know about them to succeed.

·         That this history class is different from other classes—I have done things to try to help different kinds of students both learn what the History Department requires AND be able to earn a decent grade. The differences are to help you.


So what do you do? Do these 3 things carefully.

1.       Use this web link and its links so you can see what I’d show you if we were together. Also, the searchable syllabus has a table of contents—something not in the formal syllabus. You can see what’s there and click on it. You also can always the magic combo of Ctrl-F for Find. Click that and then key the words you want in the box. Tip: Try brief  search letters first. Example: if you want to find Learning Modules, try the letters Modu first.

I have tried to shade in blue every statement or link of something I’d show you if we were together. That may help you.

2.       If you have questions, ask. The Discussion named 2. Searchable Syllabus Discussion is just below this link. If you do not have a question, you might want to look to see if others do. Answer if you know.

3.       When you are done, click on the assignment named 3. Searchable Syllabus Assignment.  You download the small file and state you agree and then submit it to the Assignment. Do not just get it done. Do you can have a higher grade and less misery, OK?


This is everything in the syllabus that is not course- or date-specific. Not everything has a link but scroll down to find links in light blue because they show examples.

Table of Contents:

Course Information. 1

Prerequisites: 1

Communication Policy: 1

General Education Core Objectives: 1

History Department Student Learner Outcomes: 1

Required Course Materials: 1

Required Preparation to Use Blackboard: 1

Method of Instruction: 1

Organization of the Course: 1

1 Method (and the Only Safe Method) to Know When Work Is Due. 1

2 Methods to Locate Work in the Course: 1

Method of Using Quizzes to Help Students with Varied Backgrounds: 1

Course Requirements and Graded Assignments. 1

Getting Started Activities: 1

Learning Quizzes and the Exam for the Unit: 1

Discussions for Each Unit: 1

3 Unit Exams and the Goal of Exam Questions to Be Useful for Your Life. 1

Departmental Final Exam—F for the Course If Not Taken. 1

Requirement to Do the Sample Respondus Exam Correctly in Order to Take the Final Exam.. 1

Written Assignments: 1

Grading Scale: 1

Grading Formula: 1

Caution about the History Department’s Course Objectives and Its 25 Percent Writing Requirement. 1

How This Course Tries to Help Different Types of Students Succeed with Writing about History: 1

Extra Credit (Incentives to Help You Persist). 1

Grading Response Timeframe: 1

Course Policies. 1

Late Work Policy: 1

Technology Outage Policy: 1

Attendance Policy: 1

Online Classroom Behavior Policy/Classroom Civility: 1

Academic Honesty Policy: 1

Dropping a Course with a Grade of “W”: 1

Six Drop Rule: 1

Addition: What does WCJC’s Orientation for Students Say? Guys, it is an alert to you. Look!. 1

Addition: Why Learning How to Figure Things Out Is Useful 1

Addition: What Are the 5 Big Rewards of College?. 1


Course Information


TSI satisfied in Reading and Writing

Communication Policy:

Your Responsibilities to Communicate

You must log in at least 3 times a week and check both Course Messages (Email) and Announcements. Both are on the course menu (Blackboard’s menu you may display on the left of the screen). Caution: If I email you in Blackboard, you must read and reply or call your instructor if you do not understand. You must read all announcements since your last login.

Visual Examples:

·         http://www.cjbibus.com/Course_Orientation_Whats_on_the_Course_Menu.pdf


Your Instructor’s Timeframe for Responding

I make every effort to return messages (course email, phone, discussion postings) within 36 hours (weekends and holidays excepted). Tip: I usually check course email again before I leave for the day, but not after I leave for the day.

Online Office Hours, Hours On-Campus, or Help by Phone

During Online Office Hours (listed on the first page of this syllabus), I respond to course messages and postings on the Discussion Board. I am glad to help you online, to meet you on campus, or to work with you by phone. If we both have Blackboard open, working together by phone frequently brings the fastest solution. I teach on two campuses: Richmond Campus on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and Sugar Land on Tuesday and Thursday.

General Education Core Objectives:

·         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

History Department 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:

History Department’s Required Textbook

David M. Kennedy, Lizabeth Cohen, and Mel Piehl, The Brief American Pageant: A History of the Republic, 9th edition. The ISBN for the 1 volume edition (41 chapters covering both History 1301 and History 1302 is 9781337124645. This ISBN is a “bundle” and includes 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 3-Part Writing assignment) as your only source for your written assignments, and you must cite a specific page from the textbook or a primary for your facts. (For details, see Evidence Quizzes & Part 1, Part 2, & Part 3 Writing In the course.)

Distance Education’s Statement of Requirements

You will need a computer, an external webcam and microphone, a reliable internet connection, and access to the WCJC Blackboard site. Following the method recommended by the Distance Education Department, this course requires an external (clip-able) webcam.

Caution: You must use an external (clip-able) webcam. Clip-able means that you:

1.       Unclip the external webcam from your laptop or from the monitor on a desktop computer.

2.       Point the external webcam at your laptop or desktop computer showing all of the areas left and right in the checklist.

3.       When you are done, clip the external webcam back on the laptop or monitor of your desktop computer.

4.       Then you look again at Respondus Monitor’s screen to be sure the external webcam continues to point at your face and shoulders and you stay in that position during the test.
Caution: Respondus Monitor alerts instructors to problems with “facial recognition” so your staying so your face is consistently visible is essential.

Tips for buying the external webcam efficiently and cheaply. After Spring Break, I did check with Distance Education to confirm that it is still true that WCJC bookstores have cheap but adequate external webcams. I also learned that “students can also use their financial aid to purchase them if need be.”

Required Preparation to Use Blackboard:

You are responsible to prepare your computer and its browser to work with WCJC’s Blackboard. Getting Started provides the Distance Education FAQs that contain the technical information you need and how to get more help if needed. You will also find resources at Blackboard’s Help & Resources (a link on Blackboard’s Login page).

Method of Instruction:

This course tries to help students with varied backgrounds so everyone can succeed. You test your own knowledge of basic concepts and map locations and of the basics of evidence for history (and jobs). If you already know the content, you earn full points. If you do not, you use quizzes to teach yourself—and you then earn full points. Each unit provides online lessons and a discussion where you ask or answer questions. The History Department requires that 25 percent of graded work consists of writing and that you use primaries (documents written during the period covered by the question). The Blackboard course provides everything you need to do the writing—except the textbook.

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 1900 

·         Unit 2: Moving to the World Stage –  America from 1900 to 1945

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


Visual Example of What’s on Every Unit (All have the same type of content and tools such as quizzes, discussions, and an exam):

·         http://www.cjbibus.com/Course_Orientation_WhatInUnit_1302.pdf

Two resources at the top of each Unit help you know how to work:

·         The Checklist for Success for the Unit shows you what to do in the Unit.

·         The Unit Study Guide helps you focus your work so you save time—and make a good grade on your Unit Exam.

1 Method (and the Only Safe Method) to Know When Work Is Due

The only safe way to know when your work is due is the List of Due Dates. It is available at the end of this syllabus and is also on the course menu (Blackboard’s term for the menu that you can display on the left of the screen).


·         Visual Example of List of Due Dates at the top of Learning Modules: http://www.cjbibus.com/Course_Orientation_What_s_on_Learning_Modules_1302.pdf


2 Methods to Locate Work in the Course:

This course provides 2 methods available on what Blackboard calls the course menu:

·         Shortcut to All Graded Work (No Content or Instructions)–Only provides Blackboard tools to submit work

·         Learning Modules (All Content/All Graded Work)—Provides everything you need: study guides, instructions, lessons, primaries and all of the Blackboard tools you use from assignments to quizzes to discussions to exams.


Visual Examples:

·         http://www.cjbibus.com/Course_Orientation_Whats_on_the_Course_Menu.pdf

·         http://www.cjbibus.com/Course_Orientation_What_s_on_Learning_Modules_1302.pdf


Method of Using Quizzes to Help Students with Varied Backgrounds:

Whether Learning Quizzes on concepts or map locations (200 points) or the Evidence Quizzes for history (40 points), quizzes always consist of:

·         A self-test so you find out what you know and you do not know. The name is self-test because you are testing yourself so you know what you need to do.) The goal is positive so no points are lost. Self-Tests are extra credit and have questions that are only worth .01. (A .01 is so small that it is equivalent to a penny compared to a dollar.)
Tip: On the other hand, it is in your interest to answer Self-Tests accurately so measure your own brain accurately for 2 reasons. 

1.       You want to know what you know and do not know to save time and to correct or complete what you do not know. Caution: With Evidence Quizzes, this is particularly important because, if you miss many questions, you must follow instructions carefully because writing about history is different from your prior experiences.

2.       If you already know the content in the Self-Test and prove that by being correct on over 80 percent of the questions on that Self-Test, you earn the points for its Full-Test without taking it.
Your instructor enters those points at the end of each Unit after the Learning Quizzes close.

·         Once you submit the self-test, Blackboard automatically displays additional content (if needed) and a Full-Test so that you can earn full points while teaching yourself the vocabulary and map locations that you do not know. You may repeat as many times as you wish, and your highest score counts.


Visual Examples:

Course Requirements and Graded Assignments

Getting Started Activities:

The Getting Started activities are listed on the last page of the Course Orientation link. If you come in past the due date, you must still do these activities but I will record—temporarily—a 1.11 for the grade. At the end of the term, you email your instructor 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.

Learning Quizzes and the Exam for the Unit:

The exact words for questions from these quizzes are also 8 (about a third) of the 25 questions on each Unit exam.

Discussions for Each Unit:

You work together as a group to ask or answer questions. The questions can come from Learning Quizzes, Evidence Quizzes, content in a Lesson, items in the Study Guide, or any content or work covered during the Unit. For discussions where students help each other learn, your instructor uses what Blackboard calls a “moderated” discussion where your instructor must approve your post before it is visible to the group. If you made an error that might damage other students, your instructor gives you feedback so you can correct and repost. Tip: Your instructor’s 1st post in the discussion contains a) how to use Blackboard’s “moderated” discussions, b) examples of posts, and c) the grading rubric.


3 Unit Exams and the Goal of Exam Questions to Be Useful for Your Life –Bullets and Strong Emphasis Added (If you use an online reader, it “shouts.”) and 1 Addition

There are 25 questions in sets (so students in Blackboard see different questions).


How to Study (Heading Addition):

In this class, questions do not require that you show you know everything, but 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 representative historical figures. Tips:

·         The best way to recognize and learn these things is in your instructor’s Lessons in each Unit, not in a textbook.

·         The best way to use the Lessons efficiently is to use them with the Unit’s Study Guide (top of each Unit’s folder).

·         The Lessons are like a textbook that has bullets and that you can search.
Example: if you need more about something in the Study Guide about Lesson 2, click on that Lesson, press Ctrl-F (for Find), and type a key word in the Find box. Click through all uses of that word in that Lesson. If you need help with searching for something, post a question: in the Learning Discussion.


Visual Examples:

Departmental Final Exam—F for the Course If Not Taken

The Final Exam consists of 25 questions, at 4 points each. A review is provided in Learning Modules. Cautions:

·         Departmental policy is an F for the course if you do not take the Final. Example: if you have an A average for all the prior work in the course and if you do not take the Final Exam, your instructor is required to enter an F for your final LETTER grade for the course.

·         Do not ignore the requirement to do the Sample Respondus Exam correctly in order to do the Final Exam. Meet that due date early in the 3 weeks that the Sample Respondus Exam is available to be sure you are safe.

Requirement to Do the Sample Respondus Exam Correctly in Order to Take the Final Exam

Introduction to Respondus Monitor

Distance Education has provided this introduction: This course requires the use of Lockdown Browser for taking online exams. The Lockdown Browser software prevents a user from accessing other applications or going to other websites during an exam. The webcam records you during the exam to ensure you're only using resources that are permitted. Together, these tools make it possible for students to take online exams from any location, and at times that are convenient. It also creates a fair testing environment for everyone in the course. Instructions for downloading the Lockdown Browser software are posted in the course.

Exam Conduct: Respondus 1-page Checklist Used to Grade the Sample Respondus Exam and the Final Exam

In this course, we use Respondus Lockdown Browser only with the Final Exam. You have a 3-week period to take the Sample Respondus Exam and have me watch it so you can be sure you know what to do when you take the Final Exam.

All students must observe carefully Distance Education’s excellent video. Online at How to Test with Respondus. Link address: https://softchalkcloud.com/lesson/serve/8hkmXWAjVbt9S4/html.  Respondus 1-page checklist of each action shown in the video serves a reminder to students and a way for your prof to grade your video.


Respondus 1-page Checklist

Click here for the Respondus 1-page Checklist or here if you prefer to see the checklist with more space between lines. The one that fits on 1-page is easier to use as a checklist that you follow when you set up the test area and when you do the Respondus Steps. I also use it to grade by. 

Tip: In this course, you may use this 1-page checklist to help yourself to do Respondus correctly in the Sample Respondus Exam. At the start of your taking the Sample Respondus Exam, show the Checklist. Then check it off as you work. Redo incorrect steps until you know you followed the checklist.


Personal Comment about why I take Respondus and cheating so seriously.

1.       I believe that people who get away with cheating are not prepared for the world of work—unless they live with mom until they die. In my view of life, it’s not honorable for me to let you cheat because you will be damaged.

2.       Also consider that a prof who let people cheat would get in trouble with WCJC and—with Respondus—if I let people cheat, WCJC could prove it with same videos that prove that you cheated.

Think about both of those for a bit.


Exam Conduct Requirement:

Consequence for Violation of Exam Conduct:

Valid photo ID shown

Penalty up to minus 30 percentage points

Correct placement of webcam

Penalty up to minus 30 percentage points

Complete environment scan

Penalty up to minus 30 percentage points

Microphone turned on and recording

Penalty up to minus 30 percentage points

Sufficient lighting of the testing environment

Penalty up to minus 30 percentage points

Student is in seated position with computer on hard surface (desk, table, TV tray etc.)

Penalty up to minus 30 percentage points

Student remains in webcam view during exam

Penalty up to 0 for the Exam

No unauthorized materials near desk area

Penalty up to 0 for the Exam

No talking with others during the exam or playing of music or other audio recordings.

Penalty up to 0 for the Exam

How to Make the Full 10 or 15 or 20 Points and Save Time

You must earn 5 for points for the grade “Video Review“ to see the Final Exam. You may earn 10 or 15 or 20 points for this assignment if you act early and are correct the 1st time as measured by the Respondus 1-page checklist (above):

·         20 points - 1st week Respondus is available and you meet Distance Education’s (DE’s) requirements the 1st time.

·         15 points - 2nd week Respondus is available and you meet DE’s requirements the 1st time.

·         10 points - 3rd week Respondus is available and you meet DE’s requirements the 1st time

·         5 points - Any time in the three-week period but you had to try more than 1 time to meet DE’s requirements

To succeed the 1st time with the sample exam and have no Penalties with the Final Exam, do these practical things:

1.       Use the top of the Respondus 1-page checklist. Examine where you will take the Sample Respondus Exam and later the Final Exam. Check off each item to be sure you have prepared the room as required. Caution: If you were correct with the Sample Respondus Exam, you must also be correct on the Final Exam. Do not trust your memory or you will lose points on the Final Exam. Check off each item for the Final too.

2.       Use the bottom of the Respondus 1-page checklist as you look carefully at the Distance Education video (above) to understand what you must do. Then use the 1-page checklist as you do the Sample Respondus Exam--Just tell me in the video that you are using it. As you work, slow down and look at yourself. Respondus Monitor lets you see how you did and—if you look at yourself and realize you are incorrect—it lets you try again. Get it right.

3.       If you trouble making your name readable and your picture clear enough in the external webcam so your instructor can confirm your identity, you may make a clear picture of your photo ID and email it to me using Course Messages (Email). When you take the Sample Respondus Exam and the Final Exam, remind me a) orally in the video and b) by an email just before the exam that I have a picture of your Photo ID on file.

4.       When you are sure you meet the requirements and want me to check the video, reply in the Respondus Sign up discussion. I check your last sample exam and reply in the discussion saying to check your Course Messages.

5.       When I say I have checked, go to Course Messages. I either tell you that you did fine and enter the points or—if there is a problem—I send you screen prints so you can see what I see and you can redo the Sample Respondus Exam correctly. If you do not understand, just email me back or call during office hours. I am glad to help you succeed, not only with history but with meeting these requirements all Distance Education students must meet.

6.       Before you do the Final Exam, use the Respondus 1-page checklist to remind yourself of the steps. Tip: If where you live has people who play loud music or come into your room even with a sign on the door or if you do not want to buy an external webcam, remember WCJC has Respondus testing facilities at its campus locations.

Written Assignments:

How the 3-Part Writing Can Help You

The 3-Part Writing lets you look at the same content (what you have to learn) and use the same focus on evidence (what you have to do with evidence) in 3 assignments—a paper, 2 peer reviews, and a reply to those peer reviews. Instead of 3 sets of content with your starting over with each assignment, you have 1 set of content and 3 experiences with the same content and you can start to understand how to work with evidence. One student expressed this very well at the end of her class: “I figured out how you were trying to help us.”

How Writing Assignments Work in This Course

Writing assignments are freshman level, brief, and use only the textbook and primaries 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 5 very basic rules for evidence—rules essential not just for history but keeping a job.  Grading is not about your style or your opinion or your memories—or mine. It requires you practice skills essential to get and keep a good job.  The Searchable Syllabus Assignment provides a link to the 5 Good Habits for Evidence and how they are essential for jobs.

You post your writing in a type of Blackboard discussion that requires that you post before you can see other students’ writings. Caution: This means you must read the instructions carefully before you post your paper—you cannot rely on a good student showing you what to do. Your instructor does 2 things:

1.       Opens and closes the same discussion when each of 3 Parts stop and start according to the List of Due Dates

2.       Based on your action, either makes you a Participant (a person able to post in the discussion) or a Reader (a person who can only see the posts):

·         If you have met the Evidence Quiz prerequisites and emailed me that you have, you become a Participant who can post the 1st Part.

·         If you posted the 1st Part and you replied to my emailed feedback on it, you become a Participant who can post on the 2nd Part.

·         If you did the 2nd Part, you become a Participant who can post on the 3rd Part

Tip: The objective of these prerequisites is to reduce the odds that you do work contrary to instructions and fail the whole assignment. Ask if you do not understand so I can help you.


By the date in the List of Due Dates, you must post your peer reviews of 2 other students’ work in the same discussion and later, in that same discussion, reply to the feedback from those who peer reviewed you. In both cases, you focus on content and evidence using the Good Habits for Evidence rubric, not grammar or style.

3-Part Writing Assignment–Paper, 2 Peer Reviews, and Replies to Peer Reviews

·         1st Part: For your paper, you follow the instructions and answer the question provided. You use primaries. You write a brief paper. Since a word count can be hard to think about with discussion, the paper—if printed—is to be under 1 page double-spaced. You provide citation following the instructions and using the specific citation for each required source provided in the instructions.
Feedback: Your marked paper and your marked Good Habits for Evidence rubric in an email in Course Messages

·         2nd Part: For your peer review, you follow the instructions on how to give specific feedback in the discussion tool. You focus your feedback on whether the other student followed the 5 Good Habits for Evidence. You also follow the rules for evidence in your peer review. For example, if in your peer reviews you refer to something in the textbook or primaries, you must follow the same rules for citation as you did with the paper.
Feedback: Your instructor also grades your peer reviews with a rubric in the Discussion tool.

·         3rd Part: For your reply to the 2 people who peer reviewed your paper, you write a brief, evidence-centered reply. Merriam-Webster’s Online Dictionary defines the word reply as “a thorough response to all issues, points, or questions raised.”
Feedback: Your instructor marks a brief rubric and emails it to you in Course Messages.

Grading Scale:

This is a 1000-point course, with points added as you earn them. Announcements let you determine your current letter grade at the end of each Unit. If the grade is lower than you want, ask for help. The Final Letter Grade uses 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 594

F (failing)

Grading Formula:

The 1000-point course consists of these points, with the last being written work:


Caution about the History Department’s Course Objectives and Its 25 Percent Writing Requirement

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 written work must be over 25 percent of your final grade, a requirement for all history instructors.



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

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 a rubric that tells you which of the 5 Good Habits for Evidence could help you avoid problems revealed by your paper. Third, with permission of the History Department to do this experiment to try to help students, it divides written grades in half:


Extra Credit (Incentives to Help You Persist)

This course does not offer extra credit to help a few people make a higher grade. It offers extra credit to all students for actions that make them better students. Merriam-Webster’s Online Dictionary defines the word incentive as “something that makes a person try or work hard or harder.”

There are two types of incentives in the course to help you persist:

1.       With the 3 Learning Discussions, you earn 10 incentive points on each one—small but a 50 percent increase

·         If you post as its rubric explains and if you earn over 14 points out of 20 on the Unit Discussion

·         If you make over 60 on the Unit Exam

2.       With Learning Quizzes and Evidence Quizzes, you earn 1 incentive point for each quiz if you:

·         Either already knew the content in the Self-Test and were correct on over 80 percent of the questions on that Self-Test (In other words, you earn the points for its Full-Test without taking the Full-Test. At the end of each Unit, your instructor enters both your points for the Full-Test and the 1-point incentive.)

·         Or complete—if you make less than 80 percent on the Self-Test—the Full-Test to 80 percent or higher on 1 day before the Unit Exam starts. Why Do the Full-Tests in addition to the 1-point incentive? a) The Full-Tests let you teach yourself any missed concepts by taking the test as many times as you want. b) You pre-learn about one-third of the Unit Exam questions. c) That the highest score counts is also an incentive to persist—what Duckworth calls “grit,” something everyone needs for college and a job and life.

Examples: Thinkers who may help you think about success with grit and with 5 abilities to think well:

·         What’s “grit”?: Click on this video of a Ted Talk by Angela Duckworth (URL: https://www.ted.com/talks/angela_lee_duckworth_grit_the_power_of_passion_and_perseverance)

·         "Teach Students How to Learn: Metacognition is the Key!" by Saundra McGuire. Click here for 5 abilities you need to think well, with the last being “know what you know and know what you don’t know.

Grading Response Timeframe:

I make every effort to provide feedback for written assignments by the date in the List of Due Dates. If I cannot, I post an announcement. I generally:


Examples of the 1.11:

If there is a problem with a grade or with anything incomplete about an assignment, your instructor enters 1.11 as a temporary placeholder for the grade and posts a comment with that grade telling you what you need to do. You must check Blackboard for your grades.

Course Policies

Late Work Policy:

It is your responsibility to email or 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 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 List of Due Dates to determine if you have conflicts and immediately propose an earlier date. Caution: Use the List of Due Dates (not the Calendar, not My Grades). Ask; do not assume.

  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.

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

o   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 or if you cannot prepare as much as you prefer, do the assignment as best you can. A low grade is better than a 0.

Technology Outage Policy:

If Blackboard is non-functioning, first, please try a different browser to determine if the source of the problem is browser-specific. If the problem persists within another browser, then submit a Request for IT Support Form (opens is same window/tab) or contact them directly at 979-532-6568. See Blackboard’s Help &Resources page (upper right side of Blackboard’s Login Page) for a link to IT Help Desk hours of operation. Also contact your instructor immediately using a working form of communication (email, phone, etc.) should a Blackboard outage occur.

Attendance Policy:

WCJC’s Student Handbook explains responsibilities for attendance and when a student should withdraw from the course. With distance education, Blackboard stores extensive data on time spent and where. Given the speed of an 8-week course covering 16 weeks’ of work, students should log in at least 3 times a week to work online with quizzes, resources, and student discussions. Students should also work offline, including careful reading of the required sources.

Online Classroom Behavior Policy/Classroom Civility:

WCJC’s Student Handbook explains student responsibilities for civility. As with on-campus classrooms, each student is expected not to disrupt the class or abuse any person. Blackboard stores what you do (including messages you create with any tool), when you do it, and where you go. Some Blackboard tools—such as the Discussion Board—not only store messages permanently, but also make what you write visible to everyone in the class. When communicating publicly with the whole class and with individuals, you need to be both kind and collaborative.

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 consequences. Also see the Academic Honesty Statement for Online Classes in Getting Started. In this course, copying any part of an assignment from the Internet or another source is a zero (0) on the assignment.

Caution: With how I grade and how I require you to use and cite sources I provide in the course or specific textbook page, I can not only catch cheating without trying and also prove it.

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 in the Essential Information section (below). In making this decision, make sure you also understand the 6 Drop Rule from the Texas legislature.

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.

Addition: What does WCJC’s Orientation for Students Say? Guys, it is an alert to you. Look!

Make sure you click the links if you are not positive that you understand every issue.

·         “Estimate 2 -3 hours of study time outside of each classroom hour (more may be needed for certain classes).” Example: if you are taking 12 credit hours each week, you need to spend 24 (12 X 2) hours in study. That means 12 + 24 = 36 per week on college.  If you need 3 hours of study, 12 +36 = 48.  For the source, click here.

·         “The more hours you work, the less classes you may want to take.” Example: if you are taking 12 credit hours each week, the “Maximum Hours Outside Employment” is “20-hours/week or less.” For the source, click here.
Adding your 12 credit hours each week + 24 hours in study + 20 of “outside employment” = 56 hours a week

·         “NOTE: You must maintain 15 credit hours every semester (or attend in the summer) in order to complete an Associate’s degree within two years.” For the source, click here.

·         “Do not take more than you can be successful in or you will risk lowering your GPA or losing financial aid. Manage your time wisely.” For source, click here.

·         College and high school are different in many ways, including who pays for it and who manages your time. “High School is mandatory and free.” “College is voluntary and you pay for it.” In high school, “your time is structured by others”; in college, you manage your own time.” For the source, click here and look at the 1st table.

·         College and high school are different in many ways, including in how teaching works and office hours as times instructors want students to come, and what passing is. For the source, click here.

·         ‘You can graduate only if your final average for all classes is at least a 2.0 or C. Next semester registration or transferring to a university may be prevented if your grade point average (GPA) is below a 2.0. Classes with a grade of D often won't transfer.” For the source, click here and look at the bottom of the last table.

·         Student loans (FYI: Bankruptcy is not an easy solution.) For a Department of Education source, click here.

·         Six Drop Rule – a Texas requirement about the maximum number of drops.       Syllabus Search Word: Six


URL for 1st 4 rows: http://www.cjbibus.com/College_orientation_hours_taken_of_study_of_outside_work.PNG)

URL for 5th -6th row: http://www.cjbibus.com/College_orientation_differences_high_school_and_college_4tables.htm

URL for 7th row: https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/repay-loans/forgiveness-cancellation/bankruptcy


Addition: Why Learning How to Figure Things Out Is Useful

Make sure you click the links if you are not positive that you understand every row.

·         “Why Historical Thinking Matters”-Click on this “interactive presentation where Professor Sam Wineburg discusses how historians investigate what happened in the past.” (URL: http://historicalthinkingmatters.org/why/) Wineburg researches how thinking works.

He explains what history is:
 Boring names, facts, dates - this is history for a lot of people. But historians think about history differently. They see themselves as detectives, often unsure about what happened, what it means, and rarely able to agree amongst themselves. This process of trying to figure out things you don't already know is as different from mindless memorization as you can get.”

·         Figuring out things is the hard part of writing (and earning a living). For example, over 60% of students since 2011 usually did not know basics such as being factually accurate when writing about real things until this course. Click here to see what past students said they did not know before. 



Addition: What Are the 5 Big Rewards of College?

Section 1 on page 1 is full of the risks of college—but only if you do not make your work “intentional” and plan for it. But what are the rewards of college?


1.       Some employers require specific courses or programs for specific jobs.


2.       Some employers want to know that you have been able to teach yourself enough to pass college courses.

Think of it this way. If you were paying someone money for work, you would want proof that person had all of these traits that you will be practicing if you do the work in Section 2:

·         “Grit”

·         Good Habits

·         Self-Management

3.       With a history course requiring primaries and evidence, you can gain from mentored practice in figuring something out. (See the phrase with Wineburg in Section 3.)

Mentor: “a trusted counselor or guide                                        https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/mentor


Practice in figuring something out matters for your success:

·         To be able to figure something out is a survival skill now that you are the manager of your own life.

·         To be able to figure something out is a skill employers will pay for—and employers will keep you in a job when they have to layoff others.

·         To figure something out is to experience joy. If you have not had that feeling yet, it is time to try it.

4.       College provides the general knowledge to protect your future.

The required courses for a freshman program are based on the establishment of a curriculum called the liberal arts. Notice the meaning. You want to be a free person.

Meaning of liberal arts in "[1745-1755; trans. of L artes liberals - works befitting a free man]” [bold mine -  in other words, for a person who was not a slave or serf.]


Note: in the late 1700s (think about that famous date of 1776) 3/4s of world population was in servitude (slavery or serfdom). Only 1/4 profited from their own labor--and learning. 


Root word of liberal: "1325-75; ME < L liberalis of freedom; befitting the free, equiv. to liber free + alis A]


liberalis of freedom, befitting the free”                                          From  Merriam Webster ‘s Unabridged Dictionary.


5.       As part of your college experience, history can help you because it is the vocabulary of our nation. As Wineburg says, history is not “boring names, facts, dates.” Instead, history introduces you to the basics of:

·         Demographics

·         Economics

·         Government

·         Knowledge, including science, technology, culture, arts, and how we transfer knowledge to the next generation

·         Religion

·         Sociology

The more you learn, the more you can learn.   Click here for vocabulary and the “Mathew effect” on learning.

FYI: When I say the word college, I do not just mean a 4-year degree. In this economy and for you as an individual any of these paths could be fine: