Course Requirements & Policies

Technical requirements:

1. Computer and internet access. This is an online technology course, and we will use and reflect about the use of technology. You will need to have regular, reliable access to a computer and a stable broadband Internet connection with a consistent 1.5 Mbps [megabits per second] download speed or higher. You can check your speed settings using the Google or another speed test. If you don’t have regular computer access or a stable Internet connection, please let me know so that I can accommodate your needs.

Platforms: We’ll use a variety of platforms: In addition to Blackboard, we’ll use Zoom for my office hours and small group meetings and Slack as a discussion board. I will distribute further instructions in our virtual classroom.

2. As part of our course, you will set up a blog. If you don’t already own your own web domain, you will need to create one for our course. You’ll have two options:

2. As part of our course, you will set up a blog. If you don’t already own your own web domain, you will need to create one for our course. You’ll have two options, one of which is free and the other one costs $45 per year.

Free: You caninstall a free blog on There are some limitations to the free version and you won’t be able to install the podcasting plug-in. However, if you’ll install the free version and plan to produce a podcast as your final project, I’ll make sure to accommodate you and will work with you to publish it online on a different platform.

Reclaim hosting: You can also use Reclaim Hosting, a hosting service developed originally at the University of Mary Washington especially for students and faculty:

The total cost for the student/personal plan is $45. Reclaim Hosting is popular among Mason Hist 390 faculty (and beyond) because of its pricing, services, and customer support. You’ll use Reclaim to install Word Press and will have the option to install a podcasting plug-in if you plan to produce a podcast. If you already have a domain and Word Press blog, please talk with me to make sure that it meets the functionality we will need for class. Since you might want to use your domain name down the road as well I recommend choosing a timeless name.

I will distribute a step-by-step guide on how to set up your domain and blog – this won’t be due until mid February.  


Setting up your domain and blog: You will establish your on blog either on Reclaim hosting or on WordPress (5 %).

Blog posts: You will write two blog posts. In one blog post, you will feature an oral history interview, and in another blog post, you will write a podcast review. I will provide you with detailed instructions via email. (10% each, 20% total).

Quizzes: There will be four quizzes, which you can complete in the course of one week. I will only grade three of these three quizzes (15%).

Small exercises (tools & skills): I will offer you several optional small tools & skills exercises throughout the semester. I will grade a total of three of these small tools & skills exercises. You may tailor these exercises to your own interests and needs – in addition to the options provided by me, you may also propose your own small tools & skill exercise(s). So, if there is a specific application that you want or need to learn in the course of this semester, you’ll have the option to do this after consulting with me (15%).

Final project, including proposal: You will plan, produce and present an analytical historical presentation incorporating primary as well as secondary sources, including oral histories. The presentation can be a podcast, a video-story, or a multi-media exhibition. While you may also plan, produce and present your own oral history interview, this is not a requirement for the course. Instead, you may work with existing interviews that are available online (25%).

Participation and peer review: This will be an important part of your grade, and I expect you to engage in our asynchronous online discussions on Slack throughout the semester. I will break you up into smaller groups where you will discuss specific questions and discuss working drafts of your final project proposals. (20%)


Your grade for the semester will be based upon the following criteria:

* Setting up your domain on Reclaim/setting your blog on WordPress: 5%

* Blogs 1 and 2: 20% (10% each)

* Quizzes: I will grade three out of four quizzes (5% each, 15% total)

* Exercises: I will grade three of the optional exercises offered throughout the semester (5% each, 15% total)

* Final project: 25 % (5% proposal including bibliography, 20% final)

* Participation: 20% (including project peer review, and participation in virtual classroom, including creating reading questions and moderating one discussion)

Grading scale

  • A: 90-100%
  • B: 80-90%
  • C: 70-80%
  • D: 60-70%
  • F: <60%

Course policies:

* My first priority if for you to enjoy the coursework and succeed in class. In order to do that, please keep up with your classwork, including:

* Attendance and engagement: Please come to every class, on time. Because the skills and knowledge you’ll acquire in our class advance progressively toward the final project, it is important that you keep up with your readings and coursework and stay engaged.

* Collaboration: For part of the class, we’ll be doing group work and I encourage you to help and learn from each other.  

* Technology: Use technology for class-related purposes only. This is a technology class, and you are welcome to bring your laptops and tablets to class. Please do turn your phones off.

* Help me to learn from you: Please ask questions, and let me know if anything we do is unclear, and if any assignments could be improved.

* Ethics: We will discuss ethical guidelines for the digital environment throughout our course, and will implement these guidelines in our classroom and in all components of our work.