Teaching Hidden History 2016 Syllabus

Teaching Hidden History

George Mason University


3 Credits

Summer 2016 (May 25 – July 20)


Teaching Hidden History provides a unique opportunity for graduate students in history and social studies education to strengthen historical research and historical thinking skills while utilizing digital tools and exploring history education in a digital environment. Participants in this cross-institution collaborative course sponsored by the 4-VA initiative < 4-va.org> will learn about digital history, history education, and best practices in teaching and learning history. They will select a historical topic, conduct primary and secondary research, and develop a digital history module focused on learning through ordinary objects using an open-source online platform.

Course Dates and Times

May 25 – July 20

● In person meetings via 4VA Telepresence Rooms (Wednesday, 4:30 pm - 7:10 pm, EDT)

o May 25, June 1, June 8, July 6, July 13, and July 20 o 3001 Merten Hall

● All additional coursework will be online, synchronous and asynchronous.


Dr. Anthony Pellegrino <apelleg2@gmu.edu>

Nathan Sleeter <nsleete1@gmu.edu>


Part One : Digital History, Digital Pedagogy, & Online History Education

WEEK 1 – May 25: Introduction (In person via 4-VA classroom)

Reading/Viewing (complete by start of class on May 25)

● Celeste Tường Vy Sharpe, Nate Sleeter, and Kelly Schrum, “How We Learned to Drop the Quiz: Writing in Online Asynchronous Courses,” in Web Writing: Why and How for Liberal Arts Teaching and Learning, ed. Jack Dougherty and Tennyson O’Donnell (University of Michigan Press/Trinity College ePress edition, 2014),

● The Promise of Digital History Journal of American History v. 95, n 2 (Sept 2008)

Assignment: (due by first night of class)

● Complete Survey: Are you ready to take a hybrid course?

● Blog Post: Briefly introduce yourself to the class, including your program of study and main academic areas of interest. Discuss your experience with historical research, teaching, and technology. Include a photograph of yourself. (350 words)

WEEK 2 – June 1: Digital History (In-person via 4-VA classroom)


● Read selected Journal of American History Digital History Reviews.

o Max Edelson, review of two digital map collections

o Ann Vileisis review of digital cookbook archive

o Jason L. Endacott, review of H.S.I.: Historical Scene Investigation

o Jeremiah McCall, review of Mission US: For Crown or Colony

● Select and read one Digital History Reader module

● Select and read one Teachinghistory.org “Beyond the Textbook” module

● Sherman Dorn, “Is (Digital) History More than an Argument about the Past?” in Kristin Nawrotzki and Jack Dougherty, Writing History in the Digital Age (Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 2013).

● CPG Gray, Copyright: Forever Less One Day (2011) 6:27 min.

Guide to Finding Interesting Public Domain Works Online

U.S. Copyright Office: Copyright Basics (pdf)

● Jennifer Jenkins, Public Domain Day (Duke University, Center for the Study of the Public Domain, 2014) 4:47 min


● Schedule meeting with instructor (in-person or virtually) to discuss plans for final project: overall topic, central object, and relevant primary and secondary sources.

● Research Activity: Find two primary sources related to your topic in digital archives and identify one physical archive that contains primary sources relevant to the topic.

● Research Activity: Identify two secondary sources related to your topic that you were not already familiar with.

● Complete module “Analyzing Objects” (Under “My Course” on the course website)


● Assignment: Write a brief description of your module topic, historical time period, and intended audience.

● Assignment: List the two primary sources and two secondary sources you have located as part of your research activity. Write an annotated bibliography entry for one primary source and one secondary source.

● Blog Post: Write a review (500 words) of a history or history education website related to your final project topic [see JAH guidelines: http://www.Blackboard assignmentofamericanhistory.org/submit/digitalhistoryreviews.html]. Highlight strengths and weaknesses of the website, especially in the context of teaching and learning history, and discuss ways in which it could be useful (or not) for teachers and students.

● Sign up for final project presentation date: Google Doc.

WEEK 3 – June 8: Hidden History Online (In-Person via 4VA classroom)


● Koehler, M.J. and P. Mishra. “What is technological pedagogical content knowledge?” Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education 9.1 (2009)

● Trebor Scholz, “Introduction: Learning Through Digital Media” (2011).

● Cassie McDaniel, “Design Criticism and the Creative Process,” A List Apart (January 11, 2011).


● Complete two additional modules under “My Course” (“Porcelain” and one of your choice).


● Blog Post: Write a response (500 words) comparing the two “My Course” modules you completed. How were they similar? How were they different? Did one work better as a self-contained module? If so, why? How does the text engage with the resources? What makes a good module?

● Blog Post: Write a reflection (350-500 words) on how collaboration supports the creative process. What are the qualities of a good collaborator?

● Assignment: Post draft narrative text (150-250 words per object) for three objects related to your topic, including connections to larger narrative(s) in history.

● Assignment: List five (5) secondary sources you intend to use for your final project. These can include books, articles, and high-quality online exhibits, among others. Include a draft annotation for two of these sources (in addition to the annotation from the previous week) [see Module Guidelines].

Part Two: Creating and Sharing the Module

WEEK 4 – June 15 (Online)


● Independent module research. Continue research, including finalizing list of secondary sources. Continue collecting images, objects, and sources that will serve as resources for the module. Remember that a good module features text that engages with and analyzes each resource.

● Meet (in-person or virtually) with your assigned critique partner(s). Exchange ideas and provide feedback on topic and initial objects.

● Schedule a meeting with instructor (in-person or virtually) to discuss progress on final project: secondary sources, topic, and central object. Meet with a different instructor than you met with in week two.

● Provide feedback on Assignments (main object description and annotated bibliography) of your critique partner. Work with your partner to flesh out the narrative arc of your modules. What is the module trying to argue about the topic? Per the course discussion, what is the module “really” about?


● Blog Post: Include research, thoughts, and questions on your project to date (350 words).

● Assignment: Post main object description draft.

● Assignment: Post annotated bibliography draft.

WEEK 5 – June 22 (In-Person [as needed per instructors] via 4VA classroom)


● Review the first resource for several “My Course” modules you have not yet explored. Pay particular attention to how the short paragraph summarizes the larger historical topic while connecting it to the object.

● Continue research on final project. Gather resources for module.

● As you collect sources, complete a Rights Assessment for each source you plan to use in your module.

● Meet (in-person or via video chat) with your assigned critique partner. Exchange ideas and provide feedback on topic and initial objects.

● Begin entering content to create online module.


● Blog Post: Include research, thoughts, and questions on your project so far.

● Assignment: Submit complete list of 12 resources (at least 9 primary sources) with draft text for each and a brief statement outlining the arc of your historical narrative. Finalize order of resources (decide which goes first, second, third, etc.).

● Complete a Rights Assessment for each of the 12 resources you will use in your module. Begin the process of obtaining permission as necessary.

● Assignment: Submit draft “Connections” essay.

● NOTE: Once you receive instructor permission, you may start posting module components to the course website.

WEEK 6 – June 29 (Online)


● Post module content (Hypothesis/Main Object, Resources, Connections Essay, and Rethink) to the Teaching Hidden History website.

● Meet with instructors (in-person or virtually) for feedback.


● Assignment: Submit final connections essay and final list of 12 resources with annotation.

WEEK 7 – July 6 (In person via 4-VA classroom)


● If presenting Week 7, submit module by 5PM on Tuesday, July 5.

● Review online modules of all classmates presenting Week 7. Prepare questions for discussion. Post least one question for each module to the Google doc.

● Prepare in-depth critique of one classmate’s module (assigned by instructor).

WEEK 8 – July 13 (In person via 4-VA classroom)


● If presenting Week 8, submit module by 5PM on Tuesday, July 12.

● In-depth critique of one classmate’s module (assigned by instructor).

● Review online modules of classmates presenting Week 8. Prepare questions for discussion. Submit at least one question for each module to the Google doc.

WEEK 9 – July 20 (In person via 4-VA classroom)


● Edit and revise module. Final module due.

● Blog post: Reflect (500 words) of the process of making a module. What were the major challenges? What role did collaboration with your classmates play in creating your module?


Total course points: 400

1. Blog posts: 25% (100 pts)

2. Assignment/research activities: 20% (80 pts)

3. Participation and feedback: 20% (80 pts)

4. Final project: 35% (140 pts)


It is expected that all readings/viewings/explorations will be completed as outlined in the weekly assignments. Readings/viewings/explorations as well as assignments will be discussed in class and full participation is expected. Each student is expected to attend all class meetings unless the professor has given prior approval for absence. Students who anticipate being absent from a class meeting are expected to inform the professor in advance and to assume responsibility for obtaining any relevant information for that day. In the event of an unforeseen situation that requires you to miss a class, the instructor should be informed at the first opportunity.

Academic Integrity:

George Mason University is an honor code university. The principle of academic integrity is taken very seriously. Student members of the George Mason University community pledge not to cheat, plagiarize, steal, and/or lie in matters related to academic work.

What does academic integrity mean in this course? Essentially this: when you are responsible for a task, you will perform that task. When you rely on someone else’s work in an aspect of the performance of that task, you will give full credit in the proper, accepted form.

Another aspect of academic integrity is the free play of ideas. Vigorous discussion and debate are encouraged in this course, with the firm expectation that all aspects of the class will be conducted with civility and respect for differing ideas, perspectives, and traditions. When in doubt, please ask for guidance and clarification.



The following grading scale from the Graduate Catalog is in effect for this course.



















69 and below

Add/Drop Deadlines Mason (Summer 2016)

June 5: Last day to add classes / Last day to drop (no tuition penalty)

June 11: Last day to drop (50% tuition penalty)

University Email Account

Students must use their university email account to receive important University information, including messages related to this class.

Office of Disability Services

If you are a student with a disability and you need academic accommodations, please see me and contact the Office of Disability Services at 703­993­2474 (Mason) All academic accommodations must be arranged through the ODS.

Other Useful Campus Resources

Ask A Librarian (University Libraries)
 Career Services
Counseling and Psychological Services (703­993­2380) Writing Center A114 Robinson Hall (703­993­1200)

University Policies

The University Catalog is the central resource for university policies affecting student, faculty, and staff conduct in university affairs. See also Academic Policies. All members of the university community are responsible for knowing and following established policies.