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Syllabus & Success - Click here for the Searchable Syllabus.

This covers things that can help avoid problems and gain success. It is not meant to be negative, but to encourage you to be “intentional” about decisions so you succeed. Success is possible but it—in my experience—has to be “intentional” and thinking about Risk and Reward has saved me many times.

The Risk-Reward Continuum (As Taught by an Old Prof of Mine)

Balancing Risk and Reward  (Click here for the Rewards of College)

1.       What does WCJC’s Orientation for Students Say about Success?

Place an X in the __ to the left of EACH row to confirm you understand or will ask for help.


“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.


‘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:

URL for 5th -6th row:

URL for 7th row:


2.       No Risk on 240 Points and Lowered Risk on 430 Points - but You Will Need “Grit,” Good Habits, and Self-Management
Place an X in the __ to the left of EACH of the statements to confirm you understand or will ask for help.


You can pre-earn 240 points—200 with Learning Quizzes on history concepts and 40 Evidence Quizzes. If you just click, it will not make a big difference in your life, but, if you try to understand, it can.
Syllabus Search Words: pre-earn    and also the phrase How Quizzes Work  and the word Incentive (several places)


You can pre-learn about 30% of the Exam questions (3 exams at 100 points each). Click here for a definition of concepts and 2 examples.  Syllabus Search Word: pre-learn


You have useful exam questions to help you understand history as whole rather than repeat bits of stories. 

Syllabus Search Word: Goal of Exam Questions. Click here for the type of questions on the exams.


You have a review for the Final Exam. Syllabus Search Word: Final


Self-Management grade – 30 points for each Unit or 90 of the total 1000 points (nearly 10% of your grade)

Syllabus Search Word: the letters Manag


Thinkers who may help you think about success and thinking:

·         What’s “grit”?: Click on this video of a Ted Talk by Angela Duckworth (URL:

·         "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

3.       Before We Look at the Writing Part of History Classes and the Writing Part of Your Grade
Place an X in the __ to the left of EACH of the statements to confirm you understand or will ask for help.


“Why Historical Thinking Matters”-Click on this “interactive presentation where Professor Sam Wineburg discusses how historians investigate what happened in the past.” (URL: 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. 


4.     What Is the History Department Supposed to Help You Accomplish? History is a “gateway course,” not a gatekeeper.

Place an X in the __ to the left of EACH of the statements to confirm you understand or will ask for help.


Student Learner Outcomes for the History Department – including requiring that students use primaries and “historical evidence” and they analyze (not just repeat). Click here for details about those terms.

Syllabus Search Word: Outcomes                         


The Department requires that instructors’ courses consist of a minimum of 25% written assignments. With 25% specific written work, you must do some written assignments—or—only want a C for the course and always make 100% on each objective assignment (a risky plan).

Syllabus Search Word: 25%                        If you don’t understand, click here to see examples of the math


5.     What Your History Instructor Is Trying to Do to Help Varied Students Succeed at Accomplishing History Requirements

Place an X in the __ to the left of EACH of the statements to confirm you understand or will ask for help.


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.


Heading in the Syllabus: How This Course Tries to Help Different Types of Students Succeed in Writing about History—an experiment to help students    Syllabus Search Word:  Writing about History

Click here for how the separate Good Habits for Evidence grade can raise your grade a letter and help you practice skills you need. What are the 5 Good Habits for Evidence? Click here for Practical Examples How the World Would Not Pay You If You Do Not Have These Basic Habits.


Heading in the Syllabus: 3-Part Writing Assignments—another experiment to help students 
Syllabus Search Word:  3-Part


6.       Policies can be restrictions, but they are also guidance on how to succeed.
Place an X in the __ to the left of EACH section in the syllabus to confirm you understand or will ask for help.


Academic Honesty Policy. Syllabus Search Word: Honesty


Attendance Policy and “active attendance”(the only way your average might climb so read it with care)

Syllabus Search Word: Attendance or Active


Attendance Policy, Locking of the Door, the Seating Chart, and Days When Papers Are Due 

Syllabus Search Word: Lock


Class Behavior Policy – Syllabus Search Word: Behavior


Dropping a Course with a Grade of “W” – including how instructors in the History Department cannot drop students. Syllabus Search Word: Dropping


Late Work Policy – including no make-ups and having to have valid written excuses (such as a doctor’s note) Syllabus Search Word: Late with a blank space after it. Caution:  Make-ups are on the date of the Final Exam. With no written excuse, the score is 0. Late is not a choice: do your best and submit on time (even if it is 11:59 PM).


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.

What Are the 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                              


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: