FAQ for Authors
How can I participate in this project as an author?
One of the ways you can participate in this community of practice is by authoring modules. In the rest of this FAQ, you can read more about modules as you consider the opportunity to become an author.
All modules submitted for inclusion in the H/21 project must take into account the values of the project and the philosophy behind the module format, and must conform to the parameters noted below. Beyond this, there is no simple formula for conceiving and creating a module. Indeed, H/21 hopes to foster creativity and frame-breaking approaches to engaging students in the study of history. There are infinite imaginative and interesting ways to present historical material in ways that foster skills development and historical consciousness.
What are the values guiding this project?
If you are reading this FAQ, you probably already have an interest in participating in this project. Similarly, we are interested in having you join us. However, before we begin, we ask you to consider the values that guide this project.
First, we are deeply interested in understanding what students bring to our courses as well as what they leave with. We each believe that students bring experiences and assets to the classroom that can help them to participate actively and to teach each other. In designing materials, we think deeply about what students can accomplish based on their development at the time they take the course.
Second, we are each committed to re-examining our own teaching. It is not enough to understand what our students bring and where they are in their development. We also need to consciously teach to those characteristics. We design our courses to enable learning, rather than to discipline students to perform in pursuit of a good grade. We also recognize that although we are expert historians, we are not teaching students to become experts themselves. Rather, our goal is to guide them to acquire or improve a particular set of skills, content, and ways of thinking. Our examination of our own teaching also informs us that students learn better when they are actively involved in their own learning, especially if they can collaborate with and teach each other. Consequently, we design curriculum and practice pedagogy to mobilize active and collaborative learning within our classes.
We meet our students where they are; not where we think they should have been had they had our backgrounds, skills, and interests. We are responsive to the changing environments in which our students are learning and we are teaching. The range, experience, and perspectives of college students is substantially different than it was when many history courses were originally conceived. The technologies of living and learning are more powerful. Historical information is readily available; therefore, college history courses have to shift their emphasis to developing student competencies, helping them to analyze narrative (usually multiple and often conflicting), and offering usable connection with the concerns of today.
History is important to 21st century America and our world, both for its subject matter and the skills it invokes. To construct their roles as members of an engaged society, community and citizenry, students need the skills of critical analysis, communication, and the ability to build and maintain connections with a diverse range of other people. History, as a discipline, is well positioned to foster all of these . World history plays a particular role by contextualizing our common humanity as an important foundation for living in a globalized world.
Finally, we strive to constitute a community of practice that can improve our collective efficacy as teachers and inform our discipline. For that reason, all materials will be made available at no charge to students and instructors . Authors will enter into an agreement with H/21 and will assign all rights to these materials to H/21. In addition, we will welcome comment, suggestion, and modification as instructors discover and share what works for each of us.
What is a module?
A module is a complete, enquiry-based educative curriculum covering 1-3 weeks of class time. Modules include all of the materials an instructor and students will need, with the possibility of modification and addition by members of the community of practice. A set of modules may be woven together to constitute an entire course or may be ‘dropped-in” to an existing course. Some modules are also designed from the beginning to be part of complete courses that emphasize skills progressions. These courses may consist entirely of H/21 modules or may combine other pedagogical tools or materials.
What is the pedagogical framework of a module?
H/21 modules should seek to:
- not only directly support student learning but also to help instructors to improve their practice. For that reason, complete modules should not only contain materials for students but also lesson plans, explanations, and guidance for instructors.
- follow an enquiry model of pedagogy. They should begin by posing questions, or ‘problems,’ and then giving students and their instructors the tools and materials to respond to those problems.
- begin with both a historical problem (interpreting some event or trend in the past) and a pedagogical problem (something that causes us to think about learning). These problems will form the basis of an enquiry model, using new knowledge and new skills.
- Be cognizant that student learning is a process, and skills and competencies can be purposefully sequenced to help students to develop and learn. These sequences, or progressions, guide our development of modules as part of an integrated learning experience. Some modules may be more advanced than others. When designing modules, authors should consider where the module might sit within course-long, and possibly life-long, skills progressions for students.
- offer ways for students to do work that is not only assessible, but also allows them to build and apply their skills to meaningful questions, themes, and activities.
Remember that there is no normative ‘classroom.’ All curriculum must take into consideration equity concerns. Classes differ, as do individual students. Materials must work in diverse classrooms and situations, and any educative curriculum must help instructors prepare for their particular classrooms. This also means that all materials included in a module must be free, open, and accessible.
What is the structure of a module?
- Statement of problem
All modules must begin with the statement of two problems that students will resolve via enquiry. These are a historical problem (interpreting something that happened in the past) and a pedagogical problem (some skill or other development that meet student needs).
- Teacher-facing introductory material
As part of an educative curriculum, modules have extensive introductory material for instructors that describes:
- A day-by-day lesson plan
- A list of necessary materials
- A narrative: what materials will students need? What will students do each day, and how long should it take? What is the instructor doing?
- All modules must be designed to target multiple teaching environments (e.g., FYE courses, surveys, large classes, community colleges, availability of TAs). How will this module adapt to at least three use cases or different environments?
- How this related to bigger concepts, objectives, outcomes in the field
- Where this might fit in H21 courses or be connected to other modules (this may be added later)
- Opening Activity
Instructors need some way to get a snapshot of where students are in their knowledge and preparation at the beginning of the module.
- Subject of Enquiry
In an enquiry-based module, students subject some material to enquiry. This may include secondary source material, instructor-delivered material, and/or primary sources. For H/21 modules, these include:
- An introductory reading, video, or other material for students. Material that grounds students geographically and temporally(including possibly maps, timelines, etc)
- Evidence: Primary and secondary sources
In general, we strive to deliver some material that is not text. This may include audio or visual (video, images).
As the author of a module, you will identify materials for enquiry yourself. Through strategic partnerships, we have free access to adopt materials from two sites in particular:
- The OER Project (https://whp.oerproject.com/) – Most of these are essays, articles, and source collections aimed at high school students, but a great deal of the material is appropriate for our students or can be adapted to your course. You will need to register to view these materials, but once you identify materials you wish to adopt as-is or adapt to your module, we can generally obtain them.
- World History Commons (https://worldhistorycommons.org/) – This collection of primary sources, methodological essays, and other resources is open and available. We can also work with their editors to make sure adoption is smooth.
- Activity (and hence assessment) & Closing
In H/21 modules, students work apply enquiry to material through activities. These activities may include lecturers and readings, but for the most part engage students in active learning.
Through activities, students produce work. Modules must include some way for students to make their learning and conclusions public (to the class and instructor) and that is assessible.
- For the instructor
In addition to lesson plans, H/21 modules make material available for instructors. We understand that many instructors may not use these materials. That is their choice:
- Slides and talking points for lecture and seminar learning
- Suggestions for reference or reading material beyond that provided for students in the module
- Intellectual progressions and/or rubrics (progressions are desired but may not always be appropriate)
- Advice for approaching co-curricular allies (other disciplines, librarians, etc)
Note: all modules must be guided by this template in order to meet accessibility requirements.
Be sure to keep track of the sources of texts, images, and other non-original items, including their URL, source of permission to use.
Are modules peer reviewed?
Yes. Modules will go through three phases of editorial review: commissioning, peer review upon completion, and production (including copy editing and copyright clearance). In addition, they may be modified or expanded through the participation of our colleagues.
What is my next step?
Here is a description of modules which have already been commissioned.
Here is a list of ideas which may stimulate your thinking.