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Course ID:HIST 3777. 3 hours.
Course Title:History Behind the Headlines
Course
Description:
Put today’s news in historical perspective! This course will teach students the tools needed to evaluate the current media headlines through research and best practices. The topics of study will change from one semester to the next, as the instructor will choose three or four issues that have made headline news in the past year and lead students on an engaging quest to determine the historical roots of each issue.
Athena Title:History Behind the Headlines
Nontraditional Format:his experiential course will provide the practical skills needed by a range of professionals (from historians and journalists to consultants and entrepreneurs) to conduct historical research on current events. The topics of study will change from one semester to the next, as the instructor will choose three or four issues that have made headline news in the past year, and lead students on an engaging quest to determine the historical roots of each issue. At each stage of research, students will receive feedback from faculty mentors as well as peers. Students will work individually and in groups to prepare written summaries and oral presentations – in conference and symposia settings -- of the most important and interesting findings they made while doing research. By mentoring students from any major to find, evaluate, assemble, and contextualize historical documents, this course aims to bring the discipline of history to life while providing comparative depth to the news of our day. Students will work individually and in groups to prepare written summaries and oral presentations – in conference and symposia settings -- of the most important and interesting findings they made while doing research. From research hypotheses to findings from 'behind the headlines' students will learn how to test the validity of the news segments we see every day and presenting their findings to others. Regarding student presentations, I have two out-of-classroom experiences in mind, both of which promise to give students a strong sense of ownership. One is a pop-up exhibition at the Russell Special Collections building. I had great luck with a similar event at the Russell in Spring 2017; it was student-curated and something the students really seemed to enjoy and take pride in. The exhibition ran during the course's exam period (from 12 to 3) and attracted about 50 public visitors. The other event I have in mind is a symposium to be held in a large classroom in the MLC, on a topic of enough contemporary interest that the students could hope to attract a good public audience. (An example from our own time might be the Syrian refugee crisis or the effectiveness of limits on immigration, but, of course, these topics will change from year to year.) The students, in groups, would present the historical research that helps put the contemporary topic in a deeper and richer context than just yesterday's headlines. It is tricky to turn history courses into courses that promise real-world experience. But it strikes me that, for journalism majors and many others, learning how to do historical research and then how to present that research to a wider public in an exciting, contemporary way, really does constitute valuable practical experience. Since the course is aimed at non-History majors even more than History majors, I feel that the instructor will really need to mentor the students in the skills and methods of historical research; nevertheless, that mentorship should leave plenty of time for 3 student-driven projects full of student collaboration and public presentation.
Grading System:A-F (Traditional)
HR
Syllabus: No Syllabus Available 
 
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