Why Was This Unit Created?

This unit was created as the result of a collaborative effort to experiment with ways to improve the instruction of history by taking advantage of the capabilities of electronic media. Historians need to find approaches to historical study that are more than books brought to the computer. This is difficult to do because history has been shaped by print and its resources and methodologies are based on print--and many of the faculty are more comfortable working with traditional print.

The collaborative effort to create these materials was organized by the American Historical Association and funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities under the project direction of Dr. Noralee Frankel, Associate Director of the AHA. This effort is divided into three clusters of faculty organized by locale--southern California, Wisconsin and North Carolina. This unit on Biafra was developed by David S. Trask of Guilford Technical Community College who also facilitates the North Carolina group. Other members of the team are John Beck of Vance-Granville CC, Jeff Kinard of Guilford Technical CC, Jim Leloudis of UNC- Chapel Hill, and Russ Van Wyk, Cary Academy. This effort has been greatly enhanced by support from the Project for Historical Education, Department of History, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. PHE co-directors Lloyd Kramer (on leave from UNC in 1999-2000) and Leon Fink (on leave from UNC in 1998-1999) have been supportive above and beyond the call of duty in this effort. The project has also benefited from the help of Leah Potter, a graduate student in History at UNC.

Thje project leaders of the other clusters are Linda Trask's of California State University, Dominguez Hills, and David Huehner, Department Head for the University of Wisconsin Colleges and professor of history on that system's Washington County campus.

Operating assumptions for overall project include:

  1. that the history profession must place more emphasis on the importance of introductory and survey courses for non-majors
  2. that there be collaboration between community college and university faculty as a necessary development for the history profession
  3. that students will study history collaboratively
  4. that all students need to work with primary sources
  5. that students gain experience developing historical interpretation.