As I discussed in this post, my US Women’s History since 1870 class will be working on a project in which the ultimate goal is to be able to recreate a class session or two from the middle of the 20th Century.
Here is the assignment that I developed for the course, in three stages. Note the use of individual and group work, online and IRL activities, and deep research in the archives of the school.
As always, I’d appreciate any comments or suggestions. [The full course syllabus is here.]
MARY WASHINGTON CLASSROOM EXPERIENCE RESEARCH PROJECT
This project will be based around researching Mary Washington College classes in the 1930s, 1940s, 1950s, & 1960s (including course topics, pedagogical approaches, majors, gender stereotypes, technology, and clothing). As our class lectures and readings look at the experiences of women in the United States in the late 19th and 20th Centuries, our parallel goal will be to understand what college meant to women who came to Mary Washington in the four decades in the middle of the 20th Century.
Each group of 6-7 of you will have a decade to research, using a variety of online and archival sources, as well as interviews with alums from these decades. Rather than writing a traditional individual research paper, you’ll keep a research blog and work with your group to create a research site collecting together the information that you’ve found.
Primary source resources (many available in UMW Special Collections)
- The Bullet
- Course Catalogs
- Academic Department and Faculty Files
- Student Handbooks
- Photographs (Centennial Collection online plus those digitized, but not online yet)
- Alumni/Faculty Interviews (talk to me about interview waivers)
- Resources from Historic Preservation (?)
- Scrapbooks/Aubade/Alumni Magazine/President’s files
- Crawley, William B. University of Mary Washington: A Centennial History, 1908-2008. Fredericksburg, VA: University of Mary Washington, 2008.
- Key UMW faculty and staff (Parsons, McClusky, Thaden, Snyder)
Decade-based Research Groups
I will assign each of you to a group of 5-7 each with a different decade at MWC to research, using a variety of online and archival sources, as well as interviews with alums from these decades. Each person will keep their own research log/blog and work with their group to create a research site collecting together the information that you’ve found.
Part I — Individual Research Logs
Each student will take a particular set of primary sources (or will interview alumni) and research classroom experiences for their group’s decade. Each student will share her/his work in progress in the form of four individual research log-style blog posts posted before class starts on four consecutive Tuesdays (1/31, 2/7, 2/14, 2/21).
Part II — Group Research Project
Building on the research done by each of the group members, each group will construct a site for their decade in UMWBlogs. The design, format, and presentation of these sites will be determined by the group, with a broad audience in mind. These sites are due by 11:59 PM on Monday, March 12.
Grading for Parts I and II – 30% overall, with an individual grade for research logs and group grade for the research project.
Part III – Class re-creation
Based on those group research sites, we will collectively decide (with the help of some alums), which decade we will then use for the final project, a re-creation of a course session or two from that decade. The form these class sessions will take is still yet to be determined (depending in part on the decade picked), but they will involve everyone in some way in preparation and presentation. Specific tasks will be determined after the decade is chosen. This recreation will take place during the week of April 17.
Grading for Part III – 10%, with individual grades defined by student’s participation in the re-creation process.
PLEASE NOTE: Throughout these projects, all ideas, phrases, and quotes must be cited using footnote-style citations and bibliographies done using the Chicago Manual of Style (16th Edition) or Turabian’s newest Guide (7th Edition).