Digital History Class Ready to Go

My Digital History class is all set to go, I think. I finished the syllabus and created a WebCT site for it this afternoon. I use WebCT mainly for lecture notes, images, threaded discussions, and record keeping. Unfortunately, WebCT was bought by Blackboard and is being phased out. IUP’s license for it expires in June 2009 and we will have to adopt different CMS software. In trying to get ready for that, I volunteered to try out Sakai with the class to see what I think of it. I also intend to try out Moodle and its connection to Sloodle with the class – ensuring that these students will be able to give me good feedback to pass on to the IT guys.

I did not order a textbook for this course, but will rely on on-line articles, databases, and websites – appropriate for a digital history class, I think.One of the main ones will be Daniel J. Cohen and Roy Rosenzweig’s Digital History: A Guide to Gathering, Preserving, and Presenting the Past on the Web. The web project, Digital History, also has a nice collection of links to articles, journals, and websites.

I also finished up the pre-test and put it into WebCT. It is 30 questions and is composed of multiple choice, matching, and short answer questions. I intend to give them 50 minutes to take the test and haven’t decided whether to do it in class or let them do it on their own – each has advantages and shortcomings. I won’t probably decide until Monday morning. The questions cover information literacy, Internet topics, and  software. I will be very interested in seeing how the students perform on it. I may give it to my other classes to see if I can get better data on how a wider range of students do on it. For example, since my digital history students are taking this as an elective, doesn’t that mean that they have an interest in the topic and therefore probably will do better on it, than say a Western Civ student? Questions to ponder…..


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