Welcome to HIS290!

I know you all just started Interim break and we won’t actually have our first class for another week, but I wanted to wish you welcome to HIS290 Intro to History and invite you to start exploring the course long before we first gather. Later today I’ll give you your first, pre-semester assignments.

This is the third time I’ve taught Intro to History, and we’ve got our biggest group ever. I’ll have more to say about the origins and goals of this course in a later post, but right now, just know that I consider it a real honor to be entrusted with the responsibility of teaching the first History course that many of you will take at Bethel! It’s both a challenge and a great opportunity to teach a course that asks such big questions about the nature of the past, how we study it, and what our faith has to do with history. It’s also a chance for my colleagues and me to get to know you early in your time at Bethel, and to help you start to explore the connections between your interest in history and what you’re doing to discern your calling and prepare for your career. (That’ll be the topic of your final essay — which you’ll get the first day of class!)

At this point, there’s not much you need to do to get ready for Intro to History. But here’s how you can get a head start:

1. Explore this website

I’ll post copies of the syllabus and major assignments on Moodle, but primarily you’ll use that site just to upload assignments and check your grades. Everything else in this hybrid course will live here.

I’ll keep updating this site as Feb. 3rd approaches, but already you’ll find an online version of the syllabus, the course schedule, the three books assigned for the course, general guidelines for the response papers and blog comments you’ll be writing throughout the semester, bios of myself and the other people who will be teaching this course, and links to lots of resources. Once the semester gets rolling, this is where I’ll post reading assignments, video conversations, questions for your response papers, selected student work for you to comment on, a few of my own posts as I curate content from around the web, and more.

So take some time to check it out, and let me know if you have any questions.

2. Decide how you want to check in on this blog

There’s a widget in the top-right of every page that lets you sign up to get an e-mail notice every time a new post is added here. Or if you’re accustomed to using an RSS feed like Feedly, you can just type in the URL (intro2history.wordpress.com). Or just bookmark the home page and make a point of checking in regularly.

However you do it, you’re responsible for keeping tabs on what’s happening here. At least early in the semester, I’ll use email to make sure you haven’t missed something, but I’ll start to strip away that scaffolding by mid-February and trust you to find your own pattern to keep up with this blog.

Check out the Course Mechanics section of the online syllabus for a discussion of what to expect when we’re not meeting in face-to-face class, and I’ll keep updating the Course Schedule as we go.

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