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Hybrid and Online Versions of an Introductory History Course

Angelo Angelis (History)

HIST 151 is taken by a wide range of students, including freshman, new transfer students, undergraduate seniors, graduate students, and second degree students. Upper level students are better prepared to complete work independently, address more complex questions, and complete more challenging assignments that build on what they have already learned. Angelo Angelis sought to engage these upper level students more fully than they had been in the past by developing hybrid and online versions of the course, with components that addressed the needs of these students.

The redesigned HIST 151 course sought to provide upper level students with a more challenging and engaging learning experience than is normally available in the traditional on-campus version of the class. Both hybrid and online versions of the course made extensive use of Blackboard and allowed students to:

  1. Complete more of their assignments on an independent basis through online modules created and paced by the instructor.
  2. Prepare to engage with other students with a similar level of academic experience in discussions by recording their responses to preparatory assignments online before face-to-face meetings. Students used the blogging tool in Blackboard set up as individual journals for this purpose.
  3. Complete more challenging readings and research assignments using maps, images, and primary sources available on the Internet such as the Journal of Jasper Danckaerts.
  4. Actively synthesize and interpret information through repeated engagement with a focus question. Using the Blackboard blog tool set up as individual journals, students wrote weekly entries on how their understandings of American freedom evolved, each week building on what they learned from the readings, lectures, and discussions of the prior week.
  5. Assess their learning experience on an ongoing basis through frequent self-grading quizzes created with the Blackboard Assessment Manager.

The hybrid version of the redesigned course was taught in the Summer of 2009. Insights gained and student feedback received from the course served to guide the design of the fully online course being taught in Fall 2009.