Published Date

June 13, 2021

Resource Type

AHA Resource, For Departments, Video


Teaching Methods

AHA Topics

Academic Departmental Affairs, AHA Initiatives & Projects, Teaching & Learning, The History Major, Undergraduate Education

The AHA hosted a series of webinars on introductory history courses and course redesign as part of the History Gateways initiative

For a curated list of recommended readings and other audiovisual resources on introductory courses, visit the History Gateways Resources page. History Gateways draws on the AHA’s Tuning project and the Gardner Institute’s Gateways to Completion (G2C) program.


Assessment and Evaluation in Introductory History Courses

This 2019 webinar focused on assessment and evaluation in introductory history courses, hosted by veteran Tuner Nancy Quam-Wickham (California State Univ., Long Beach). (2019)

Course Redesign and the Tricky Work of Questioning Assumptions

This webinar, hosted by  Trinidad Gonzalez (South Texas Coll.,) challenged participants to begin the process of questioning their underlying assumptions of what constitutes college level teaching of history. Examining the difference between the notion of gate keeping versus teaching this session will initiate conversations about how our personal histories in higher education may hinder our ability to think through innovative or tested methods of teaching students to be successful. (2020)

Helping Students Learn from Feedback in History Courses

In this webinar, Mary Jo Festle and Peter Felten discussed practical and evidence-informed approaches to providing feedback in ways that will help students learn in history courses. The webinar talked about designing assignments and exams that will challenge and engage students but won’t overwhelm instructors with grading. The discussion addressed the ways that feedback can cultivate—or undercut—student motivation and belonging. (2020)

The Unwritten Rules of College: Creating Transparent Assignments that Increase History Students’ Success Equitably

In this webinar hosted by Mary-Ann Winkelmes (Brandeis Univ.), participants reviewed the findings as well as educational research behind the concept of transparent teaching/learning. Participants analyzed sample history assignments together and left the webinar with a concise set of strategies for designing transparent assignments and class activities in history courses that promote students’ success equitably. (2020)


This webinar explored what happens when a professor replaces coverage in the introductory course with activities and assignments that uncover crucial heuristics of historical thinking. Lendol Calder (Augustana Coll.) describes the signature pedagogy he uses in introductory history courses to prepare all students to think and act in the world. (2021)

“Many Thousands Failed’ in 2020: a Conversation”

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? (2021)

What I’m Doing Differently in My History Introductory Course

“History Gateways” challenges historians to redesign introductory courses to better serve student success, persistence, retention, and completion. Panelists discussed new strategies they have developed to address Gateway’s goals of equity and social justice. (2021)