History Synopsis

The History team began MELO3D with the goal to find online material to help
make Michael Witgen’s “History 373: History of the American West”
more interactive for students. In previous years, Michael has taught
History 373, a small lecture course, by combining lectures and small-group
discussions within class meetings. Through wrapped learning objects we hope
to accomplish several goals Michael has set for his course:

1)    We would like to make the lecture style more interactive for students
by directing them to carefully chosen online material (primary sources and
topical websites). Wrapped learning objects will help students prepare for
the small-group discussions as they learn how to analyze sources and
connect different types of material. Through learning objects students will
be asked to think about the material and do much of the intellectual work
themselves, considering the historical narrative of the West in
juxtaposition with the West’s prominent place in American cultural

2)    Many of our learning objects and online resources are accessed
through the Library of Congress, the National Archives, and various
historical societies’ collections. Since these resources overlap with
those that students should be using for research papers, we can easily work
in learning modules that teach students important research skills. We plan
to demonstrate, through PowerPoint tutorials, how to effectively use the
LOC’s catalogues, as well as how to navigate MIRLYN and finding aids to
locate appropriate resources at specific libraries on campus, such as the
Bentley and the Clements.

In order to accomplish these goals, we have begun looking through learning
objects, such as the “American Memory” collection available at the
LOC’s website. We are collecting material, including memoirs, newspaper
articles, images, and letters, to fit each week’s theme and each class
meeting’s topic.
Once we have our resources, we will need to wrap them providing different
degrees of direction to the students. Also, we will continue to refine how
to organize and present these resources to students, possibly through an
online syllabus linked to the various resources or wrapped learning


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