H105, American History I, Fall 2023

Prof. Konstantin Dierks


CONDITIONS OF LEARNING.  We assemble in-person this semester in the face of the ongoing pandemic crisis still challenging our country and world, having resulted in at least over 1.1 millions deaths in the United States since March 2020.  Currently spreading are XBB and the more worrisome BA.2 variants, both of which are on the rise, while undercounted.  Current university policy is that any public heath precautions are voluntary.  I myself will be wearing a mask at least until the new booster becomes available later this fall.  Social distancing will not be possible in our classroom.  I have no information about the classroom’s ventilation capabilities.

CLASS CONTRIBUTION.  The success of this course depends on your regular attendance to lecture, as well as your active participation in small-group discussion.  Attending every class is thus absolutely mandatory.  Prior to attending each lecture class, you should complete the corresponding response sheet indicated on the course syllabus and found under Assignments in Canvas.  This response sheet will help you prepare for each class, and will also facilitate in-class writing exercises to occur in each class.  These response sheets should be submitted electronically via Assignments in Canvas when or soon after you exit a given class session.  They will be assessed as the “contribution” dimension to the class, collectively counting approximately 40% toward your final grade.

If you must be absent at some point, you should have the courtesy to alert the course assistant and/or professor beforehand, and you should have the responsibility to complete and submit the before-class portion of the response sheet.

READING ASSIGNMENTS.  Weekly reading will primarily involve “primary” historical documents produced by people in the past.  Direction to these documents and readings can be found in the course syllabus, which will direct you to Files in Canvas.  These readings serve as the basis for the before-class portion of the response sheets.

For general tips on interpreting primary historical documents, see the following guideline:  Strategies for Interpreting Primary Documents.

WRITING ASSIGNMENTS. There will be four written papers, each posted ahead of time on the course syllabus.  There will not be any memorization examinations.  The papers will be four pages each, the last functioning as a take-home final examination, with each counting approximately 15% toward your final grade.  Improvement over the course of the semester will be rewarded, with respect to both writing assignments as well as response sheets.

Papers are due at the beginning of the class session; the fourth paper shall be due by the end of the final exam period assigned to the class by the Registrar.  These papers should be double-spaced, with one-inch margins in a readable (10, 11, or 12 point) font, with your name (but never your student identification number), course number and title, date, and paper title at the top of the first page.  Like response sheets, papers should be submitted via Assignments in Canvas.

Plagiarism on any assignment will result in failure of and ejection from the class, and will become a permanent part of the student’s transcript and academic record.  Writing must be original, and all quotations, derivative ideas and uncommon facts must be duly footnoted.  See “Plagiarism: What It is and How to Recognize and Avoid It” from Writing Tutorial Services.  For student responsibilities and university procedures related to academic misconduct, see the Code of Student Rights, Responsibilities, and Conduct.

Use of “generative AI,” such as ChatGPT, to produce any assignment constitutes plagiarism.  These programs generate illiterate documents on the basis of grossly inaccurate algorithms.  As with any plagiarism, use of “generative AI,” is contrary to education, to thought, to integrity, to self-respect, and to respect for others.

For general assistance with writing papers or other study skills, you are encouraged to consult with Writing Tutorial Services (Wells Library Learning Commons), one of the Academic Support Centers (in Briscoe, Forest, and Teter), or the Student Academic Center (408 N. Union Street, Suite 300).

For specific guidelines on how to write thesis statements, how to write topic sentences and organize paragraphs, and how to use evidence, see the various “Writing Guides” produced by Writing Tutorial Services.

ASSISTANCE.  If at any time during the semester you have questions about the course website, lecture material, reading material, writing assignments, or your performance in this class, please email, or make an appointment to speak with, the course assistants or the professor.

If you have any kind of accessibility issue, please provide the professor with official written notification from Accessible Educational Services (Eigenmann Hall 001) as soon as possible so that any necessary accommodations can be made.

International students may find resources at the Office of International Services (Ferguson International Center).

If any difficult situation related to the ongoing pandemic/caregiving/economic crisis — or otherwise — confronts you, please avail yourself of a range of university services found at:  Division of Student Affairs.

Among the available university services are:  Counseling and Psychological Services and the Student Advocates Office.

If you experience or witness any bias-based incident — i.e., any any act of discrimination or harassment based on race, ethnicity, religious affiliation, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation or disability — you can report it to the Division of Student Affairs via:  Bias Incident Reporting.