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 grade.  Although we are expert historians, we recognize that 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 first 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 connections with the concerns of today.

History is important to 21st century United States and the 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.

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. As a collaborative community, authors should be willing to let evidence-based feedback stimulate modifications to the MREs.

What is a MRE?

A Module Ready to Educate (MRE) is a complete, inquiry-based educative curriculum covering 1-3 weeks of class time.  Modules include all of the materials an educator 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:

We recognize that materials must work in diverse classrooms and situations, and for a diverse range of students. We aim to support the creation of MREs that are suited to a range of types of courses, but are also flexible enough to be adapted to serve an even broader range of learning environments. All materials included in a module must be free, open, and accessible.

What is the structure of a module?

  1. Statement of problem

All modules must begin with the statement of two problems that students will resolve via inquiry.  These are a historical problem (interpreting something that happened in the past) and a pedagogical problem (developing some skill or other development that meet student needs).

  1. Teacher-facing introductory material

As part of an educative curriculum, MREs have extensive introductory material for instructors that describes:

  1. Opening Activity

Instructors need some way to get a snapshot of where students are in their knowledge and preparation at the start of the module.

  1. Subject of Inquiry

In an inquiry-based module, students subject material to inquiry.  This may include secondary source material, instructor-delivered material, and primary sources.  For H/21 modules, these include:

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 inquiry yourself.  Through strategic partnerships, we have free access to adopt materials from two sites in particular:

  1. Activity (and hence assessment) & Closing

In H/21 modules, students work apply inquiry to material through activities. These lessons should focus on students engaging in active learning, including discussion, problem solving, and independent interpretation of evidence.

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.

  1. For the instructor

In addition to lesson plans, H/21 modules make material available for instructors for them to use or adapt as they like:

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 design, 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.

After you have let your ideas percolate, please complete the attached form  and send it to us at info@history21.com so we can begin a conversation about becoming an author.



Content is copyright the author(s). Layout is copyright Mark Ciotola. See History21.com for further notices.