Teaching and Learning in the Digital Age: Reconceptualizing the Introductory Survey Course

This web project offers historians models for how to use digitized primary sources in survey courses in World History and the History of the Americas. The topics of the models vary, as does the technological sophistication. The AHA hopes that history faculty from technological novices to experts can find something of use from perusing this site.

Please Note: These pages were prepared in 2004. While we will continue to make the original content from the authors available, we will not be able to maintain and update the links as they change and break over time. We regret any inconvenience.

How to Use

  • The site includes approaches to entire courses such as World Civilizations or probes of a specific subject such the Republic of Biafra.

  • Some of the sites, such as Migration and the American South, could be completely adopted in a course as "post holes" where teachers want to give their students in-depth knowledge of a subject.

  • Some of the sites show how a survey course incorporates digitized primary materials. These courses could simply be adopted or modified to meet the individual needs of faculty.

  • All the sites are models. They all suggest various ways of using digitized materials in courses. They open different possibilities for teachers to be creative in their survey courses for group or individual projects as well as ways that teachers can present materials. Certain sites such as Sue Patricks', overlap with other presentations such as World Civilizations: The Middle Period (600-1650) and World Civilizations II. Both Web Modules for Teaching American History and Discovering American Social History on the Web discuss the Triangle Fire. Thus, the visitor to the site can see how faculty approaches the same material differently and ask different sets of questions. Historians do not use a "one size fits all" in their teaching or their research.

  • The Primary Source Links are sites that teachers can use to incorporate into their own courses.

  • Each syllabus suggests assessment ideas for using primary sources and there is additional assessment information under Student Assessment Model. For another example of a course using technology and primary materials, see John McClymer's syllabus for "19th Century U.S." at http://www.assumption.edu/users/McClymer/his260/.

  • The reflective essays for each project allow the user of this to see how faculty have thought about the challenges involved in using the internet and primary sources in their courses. They explain what worked and what did not work for them.

  • Different technological techniques are used on the site. For example, Contemporary World since 1945 incorporates video while Like A Family: The Making of a Southern Cotton Mill World uses audio.

So come join us.
Wander around the AHA's intellectual and pedagogical food court, taking ideas and techniques from different models with you when you leave.

For Further Reference
Additional links on using the Internet and teaching and learning

On Collaboration
This project facilitated collaboration between faculty from two-and four-year colleges in Wisconsin, North Carolina, and Southern California in the creation and dissemination of active learning materials for use in the history survey courses. The AHA thanks all of the faculty involved.

For another model of two and four year faculty collaboratives, see the QUE project at Shaping the Preparation of Future Social Science and Humanities Faculty and Preparing Future Faculty.

Future Plans
We see this site as a perpetual work in progress. If you have curriculum that uses digitized primary sources, the AHA plans to add one or two more models or links a year.

The AHA thanks the project evaluators, William Cutler, Temple University; John McClymer, Assumption College; and Jan Reiff, University of California, Los Angeles, and those who gave assistance to the sites, Frances Lilly, Rebbecca Allen, and John Young.

This project was funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Carnegie Foundation for Advancement of Teaching.