I. Introduction: The portfolio begins with a brief introduction to course portfolios as a contribution to the scholarship of teaching. Links to samples of other course portfolios by historians and those in other disciplines are also included in the introduction.
II. Course Design: This section of the portfolio tells the story of my Western Civilization course as it has evolved over the past six years at five different institutions from a fairly standard "coverage" course to its present incarnation. In its current form, History 1301 is a reflection of several specific objectives. Most of my objectives for the course center on a set of student learning outcomes which I believe are susceptible to measurement. Of course, much that goes on in a history class cannot be quantified, so I also describe several objectives that might more accurately described as hopes or intentions. These two types of expectation drove the design of the course and its emphasis on assessing the impact of hypermedia on student learning.
III. Unfolding: This fourteen week course is divided into six discrete two-week blocs and so this portfolio includes seven linked narratives of how each bloc unfolded. Imbedded in these narratives are my own reflections on what happened (or did not happen) along the way.
IV. Evaluation of Student Learning: Throughout the semester there are several specific points of evaluation of student learning. Some of those evaluations are performed by me, some by my students, and some by outside evaluators. At the end of each semester I also asked my students toreflect on the entire semester and evaluate what went well, what did not, and how much we all learned along the way. In addition to this final evaluation, my colleagues in the Department of History also evaluated the course as part of our departmental peer review process.
In addition, once subsequent semesters pass, this section of the portfolio will include information on student success and choices beyond the course. For example, I will be collecting data on how many students in this course enrolled in additional history courses, how they did in those courses, and so on.
VI. Conclusions: The final piece of the portfolio is a reflection on the totality of the course in which I draw together the various pieces of the portfolio. In this portion of the site I also describe my conclusions and how they will inform future iterations of the course. In brief, these conclusions are:
Students Who Access Learning Resources on the Web Display a Higher Level of Recursive Reading
The Hypermedia Revolution Signals the Doom of Conventional History Survey Course
The Web Does Encourage Independent Investigation, But Not As Much As We Would Like
Historians Must Begin Teaching Web Literacy
Underlying Data: Certainly I have been the greatest beneficiary of the exercise this portfolio represents, and to a lesser degree my students benefitted as well because their professor was more focused on what was happening in class than he has ever been. However, because the scholarship of teaching is, by definition, a public activity, I also hope this portfolio will be scrutinized by others interested in what Ive learned along the way. I know that were I to come to this site as a visitor, I would have lots of questions about the student work not included in the narrative. For that reason, I provide the raw data from all of my surveys and evaluations, selections from the on-line discussion forums, as well as forty samples of student writing [still being scanned and posted]. This information represents all of the data I have collected with one exception--I have placed copies of my video interviews with students on a CD and I will make these available to qualified researchers. If you wish to obtain a copy of this CD, please send me an e-mail that includes your name, institutional affliation and a brief statement of why you are interested in seeing these interviews.