Event Type

AHA Learn, AHA Online, Webinar/Virtual Event

AHA Topics

Academic Departmental Affairs, Graduate Education, K–12 Education, Professional Life, Social Studies Standards, Teaching & Learning, Undergraduate Education

Event Description

From June 2020 to January 2021, the AHA organized the Online Teaching Forum, a series of virtual events designed to help historians plan for teaching in online and hybrid environments. These webinars and workshops were supported by a National Endowment for the Humanities CARES Grant and part of Virtual AHA. Visit our Teaching and Learning Video Resources for all of our teaching-related recordings.


Engaging Students Online: Using Digital Sources and Assignments in Virtual Classrooms

With Dr. Steven Mintz (Univ. of Texas, Austin) and Dr. Laura McEnaney (Whittier College; VP of AHA Teaching Division)

In a pre-recorded video, Dr. Steven Mintz, professor of history at the University of Texas at Austin, shared some of his time-tested ways to use a variety of digital primary sources and digitally-based assignments to engage students in online courses. In this webinar, Dr. Laura McEnaney, professor of history at Whittier College and Vice President of the AHA’s Teaching Division, interviewed Dr. Mintz about how even those with limited online teaching experience can apply these strategies in virtual classrooms and answered questions from the audience.


Additional resources prepared by Dr. Mintz for the webinar:


Teaching World History in the New World

With Trevor Getz (History for the 21st Century/San Francisco State), Steve Harris (History for the 21st Century/San Francisco State), Xiaolin Duan (North Carolina State), Andrew Hardy (UC Berkeley)

How do we take this “opportunity” to do it differently — New pedagogy, new content frames, more powerful engagement with students? As participants in the History for the 21st Century (“H/21”) project, we believe that we can do it collaboratively -turning our own research into inquiry-based learning modules that can effectively help students to learn and retain historical knowledge while developing the skills to think like a historian. Participants in this workshop received early access to the first four modules in the H/21 project followed by breakout discussions.

  • Trevor Getz, “Questioning Decolonization” — This module examines the separation of African and Asian colonies from European empires in the middle of the 20C.
  • Steve Harris, “1905” — This module explores five sets of developments during 1905 as a basis of understanding modernity and globalization.
  • Xiaolin Duan, “An Object of Seduction: The Early Modern Trans-Pacific Silk Trade” — This module looks into the 16th-18th century Asia-Pacific silk trade, with a particular focus on southeast China, Manila in Philippine, and New Spain (colonial Mexico).
  • Andrew Hardy, “Diversity and Imperial Strategies in the Early Chinese Empires” — How did the Han dynasty manage to impose a stable, unified, centrally administered empire over a geographically vast and culturally diverse area?

Middle Ages for Educators: Online Resources and Strategies for Teaching the Pre-Modern

With Merle Eisenberg, Postdoctoral Fellow, National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC) University of Maryland, Sara McDougall, Associate Professor of History at John Jay College of Criminal Justice of the City University of New York, and Laura Morreale, Independent Scholar, Washington, DC

Middle Ages for Educators, or MAFE, was launched in early April 2020 in response to the Covid-19 Pandemic that shut down face-to-face classroom instruction across the globe. It builds upon the wealth of medieval studies materials already online but often hidden away in obscure places. In addition to introducing these resources to its users, MAFE offers new videos and digital tools with accompanying lesson plans that instructors can use to build upon or to supplement class assignments. The website has made an immediate impact in the medieval studies community and has been quickly adopted for classroom use, even as the site continues to grow. It is a resource not just for medievalists, but for anyone teaching the period between 200 and 1500 CE. With the uncertainties of the 2020-2021 academic year looming, MAFE is ready to offer ever more content, tools, and pedagogical strategies that can be built into pre-modern course material from the start.

The webinar had three aims:

  • First, to inform participants of the site’s contents, which include customized videos on medieval topics developed in response to instructor requests, primary source documents translated into English, and links to related online resources and classroom-ready digital content on Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages.
  • Second, to challenge participants to recognize the varying pedagogical strategies and tools the site presents to engage instructors and students in computer-enabled learning about the pre-modern world.
  • Finally, to invite participants to interact with site creators so the site can respond to what participants need to effectively teach pre-modern materials in future digital or hybrid contexts.

Download the presentation from this webinar as a PDF.


From High School Social Studies to the College Survey: A Conversation with Teachers and Students

With Katherine Chilton (San Jose State Univ.), Elizabeth Hafeli (Garden Grove Unified School District), Muhammad Hanzala (Georgia Highlands Coll), Shelbie Britt (Mississippi State Univ.) and Laura McEnaney (Whittier College; AHA Teaching Division)

Students in introductory history courses will face some unusual challenges this fall. Most of them will be new to college, so they will need what any first-year needs: a welcoming learning environment that helps them transition from high school “social studies” to college-level “history.” But that environment will be different this year, whether they learn in a face-to-face but socially distanced classroom, fully online, or in some hybrid arrangement. How can we help first-year history learners succeed in a year of uncertainty? This webinar tackled this question through dialogue between a history faculty member and a high school social studies teacher, along with two students who survived the shift to online learning. Our conversation will explore a number of questions: What will learners need in intro courses that they would need in any year? What will they need this year, in particular? What teaching philosophies and strategies might best help a new student in an intro history course this year?

For more data on teaching introductory history courses, check out “Beyond Big Data: Teaching Introductory U.S. History in the Age of Student Success.”


Teaching History this Fall: Strategies and Tools for Learning and Equity

With Ed Ayers (Univ. of Richmond), Annie Evans (Univ. of Richmond), Tony Field (Bunk), Stephanie Foote (John N. Gardner Institute), Peter Felten (Elon Univ.), Drew Koch (John N. Gardner Institute), and Susannah McGowan (Georgetown Univ.)

This workshop, facilitated as part of the Gardner Institute New American History project, aimed to help prepare instructors for a disrupted academic term and a dynamic moment in U.S. history by profiling new digital resources and pedagogical approaches. Drawing on concrete examples from faculty at diverse institutions, fellows of the Gardner Institute presented frameworks for developing equity-oriented course activities and assignments aligned with the “contextualization machines” afforded by the New American History initiative developed by Ed Ayers and colleagues.


Dual and Concurrent Enrollment in History: Strengthening Programs and Learning

With Trinidad Gonzales (South Texas College), Elaine Carey (Purdue Univ Northwest), Bruce Bardos (Middletown High School/Univ. of Connecticut Early College Experience), Mark Peters (Univ. of Connecticut), and Janine Giordano Drake (Indiana Univ. Bloomington)

This webinar re-examined the context and conditions that have led to explosive growth in dual credit programs, and considered strategies for sustaining students, teachers, and our discipline in the midst of a pandemic. Panelists representing college-, university-, and high school history education discussed what their programs look like, how they support college-level disciplinary learning, and what people are doing to strengthen their institutional partnerships in light of remote teaching.


History Gateways: ‘Many Thousands Failed’ in 2020: A Conversation

With Drew Koch (Gardner Institute), Reggie Ellis (Florida A&M), Dan McInerney (Utah State Univ.), and Norm Jones (Utah State Univ.)

In May 2017, Perspectives on History published Drew Koch’s striking research on the ways our “gateway” introductory history courses have acted as roadblocks to the higher education goals of so many underrepresented and underserved students. What did Koch’s original study reveal? What has changed over the past three years? How have the crises of 2020 affected these concerns? How are colleagues altering their conceptions of — and practices within — intro courses? Reggie Ellis (Florida A&M), along with Dan McInerney and Norm Jones (Utah State Univ.), discussed these issues with Drew Koch of the Gardner Institute in the first half of the webinar — and opened up the second half of the discussion to the questions, comments, and suggestions of the audience.


History TAs in the Time of COVID

With Alix Hui, Mississippi State Univ. (chair), Jennifer Sessions, Univ. of Virginia, Jim Giesen, Mississippi State Univ., Noah Dolim, Univ. of California, Irvine, John Wendt, Texas A&M Univ.

The everyday challenges of teaching during the COVID-19 pandemic are compounded in large, multi-section, introductory courses taught by faculty and teaching assistants. Often the main point of contact for students, TAs are on the front lines of dealing with student’s emotional, personal, and technological struggles and, like faculty, are adjusting to new instructional formats. The pandemic has made clear just how important coordination and faculty support for TAs is to undergraduate learning and the professional development of graduate teaching assistants. This webinar featured a discussion between faculty responsible for TA-training and current graduate students about how to effectively mentor TAs during and after the pandemic.


Deep Thoughts: Metacognition and Teaching History

With Stephanie M. Foote (John N. Gardner Institute for Excellence in Undergraduate Education) and Laura McEnaney (Whittier College; VP of AHA Teaching Division)

Faculty spend a lot of time thinking about their courses, but how can that thinking be directed and sharpened to improve their teaching practice? The cognitive sciences have shown that metacognition helps students become better learners, and while faculty are often metacognitive in their own research, their reflective approaches are often not transferred to teaching. The kind of deep and regular reflection that metacognition requires goes beyond a teacher simply jotting down some notes about what worked and what flopped in class. It requires thoughtful planning before class, self-monitoring during, and evaluation after. Every teacher can be metacognitive, and there are different approaches one can learn and adapt.

Webinar viewers will be introduced to approaches they can use to become metacognitive teachers, which in turn, will help them become more aware of and responsive to their students’ learning needs. Viewers will leave the webinar with strategies they can use with the goal of “iteratively changing” their teaching practice.


The Role of Higher Ed in AP History Courses and Exams

With Ed Ayers (Univ. of Richmond; Organization of American Historians), Julia Brookins (American Historical Association), Norm Jones (Utah State University), Michelle Kuhl (University of Wisconsin Oshkosh), and Dan McInerney (Utah State University)

Sharika Crawford (US Naval Academy), Jennifer Foray (Purdue University), Norm Jones (Utah State University), Tim Keirn (California State University Long Beach), and Dan McInerney (Utah State University) pre-recorded presentations that lay the groundwork for the discussion during the webinar.


In light of continued developments to the way we conduct instruction and assessment, now even more critical to student success in a COVID world, this webinar reviewed several national initiatives that encourage a focus on outcomes-based assessment. These initiatives include the AHA Tuning project and History Gateways, as well as related projects focusing on ways to ensure that introductory history courses do not serve as barriers to further college success. In the same spirit, AP History courses (US, European, and World) were re-designed over the past five years to focus more on discipline-specific skills, inquiry, and other goals aligned to outcomes-based assessment initiatives. During the webinar, panelists built upon themes that were laid out in a pre-recorded video. The live webinar reviewed AP History courses and exams, their focus on cultivating student skills and performance, and the role of higher education history faculty in all stages of the development and implementation of the AP Program. Panelists also addressed three key topics: equity and access in student participation; success in AP History courses; and student participation in subsequent History courses at the college level.


Virtual Assignment Charrette

Want to get your course assignments peer-reviewed by fellow history educators? Join us for the first Virtual Assignment Charrette, part of Virtual AHA. We welcome assignments for all levels of history education. Anyone with a valued teaching assignment (to include traditional assignments, educational activities, or assessments) or a brand new one that would benefit from in-depth review and discussion with faculty from other institutions should consider applying. Assignments in which students engage with primary sources or are focused on online and hybrid instructional environments are particularly welcome.

Fine Tuning Program Outcomes: A Curriculum Mapping Workshop

The AHA is closing in on a decade of work with history departments to create learning outcomes that foster the essential skills needed by 21st century students to effectively engage the history discipline in college and beyond. Fine Tuning Program Outcomes: A Curriculum Mapping Workshop, is a natural progression in the AHA Tuning initiative. Curriculum Mapping helps instructors identify how the assignments they create support the learning outcome they intend. The exercise of mapping helps instructors identify which learning outcomes are well addressed and which are absent or downplayed. It can also reveal the need for further discussion, collaboration, and revision of assignments and program learning outcomes so that both may better address what the instructor and the department want students to learn and do.



Don’t Panic! The Futures of History from the Liberal Arts College Perspective

“Don’t Panic! The Futures of History from the Liberal Arts College Perspective” was a series of three online events in January 2021. Liberal arts history is similar to but distinct from history as taught at other institutions, and involves a high level of experimentation in pedagogy and curriculum — experience that is at a premium during higher education’s innovation across the COVID-19 moment. This series was intended to build community among historians at liberal arts colleges, get a sense of shared interests and concerns, and discuss what kind of future structures could best support and encourage a diverse, dynamic, and forward-looking liberal arts history professoriate and student body.