Friday, January 25, 2013

"Scavenging the Survey"

Katherine Rye Jewell, a history professor at Fitchburg State University, offers a new and creative way of delivering the United States survey course.  It is called "Scavenging the Survey" and it draws upon a lot of good literature on the teaching of history.  Here is a taste of what she up to:

In this version of the US survey (1877-present), students will experience a “flipped” classroom in a new way. They will read the textbook and complete content-based quizzes outside of class so that they are familiar with the context (or they can re-familiarize themselves). Class time then builds upon the benefits of face-to-face learning. Each week, working in groups, I assign students a scavenger hunt-like task that builds a particular historical skill. The hunt asks them to digest the material they read, coming to a consensus as a group about what interested them, sparked debate, or seemed the most significant.

For example, a weekly task could ask them to find three primary sources related to the events that most intrigued them that week. Some other ideas include:

  • Finding a book on their chosen topic in the library and summarizing its thesis
  • Searching for an academic article and reporting the kind of results they get, along with a summary of three articles that look the most promising for future research
  • Compiling a list of reputable online sources for an event, person, or historical development
  • Build a report of how an event received coverage in contemporary newspapers, using online databases like the Historical New York Times
Read the rest here.

I was recently flattered to learn that Prof. Jewell has been using my "Virtual Office Hours" in her classes.  (Stay tuned--more segments are on the way!).