How to Succeed in this Course

  • Even if you did well at history in high school, college-level history work can require an adjustment. There is a lot of information to digest, new names, events that you have never heard of, people whose stories may be a mystery to you. It is easy to get overwhelmed. At the same time, we will spend time with historical concepts that may be new to you.
  • Recognize that this course will take work on your part. The general expectation is that you will spent two to three hours outside of class for every hour in class. Some days it will be less, some days more. Put your class prep on your weekly calendar and don’t fall behind.
  • Read with a pencil or highlighter in your hand. If you don’t want to mark up your books, use post-it notes to mark key passages. Underline key passages and write comments and questions in the margins. Take (a few, good) notes on the reading to prepare for class.
  • Take good notes in class and outside class. I suggest you keep a course notebook where you track everything we do. Take notes on the readings. Take notes on the lectures. Take notes on discussions. These will come in handy when you are writing your papers and preparing for the exams. But they are good for more than this. The act of taking notes will help you think. Really.
  • Don’t be afraid to join in the discussion, even if you’re not sure of what you want to say. Don’t be afraid to go out on limb. Don’t be afraid of getting something wrong. Don’t be afraid to ask stupid questions. You will find no more welcoming place to try out your ideas than in a College of Wooster course. My goal is to involve everyone in conversation every day. If you struggle with participation in class there are alternative ways to participate: small group discussions, blog posts, meetings with the TA.
  • Begin your papers early. Read the assignments and paper guidelines carefully. Don’t start writing your papers until you’ve done some thinking, taken some notes, and put together a plan for your paper.
  • Take advantage of your resources as you need them. Come see the professor at my office hours. See your TA. Take your papers to the Writing Center (x2205, Andrews Library). Other resources you should know about: the Research Help Desk (x2096, Gault Library), the Academic Resource Center (x2595, APEX), the Advising Center (x2635, APEX), Counseling Services (x2319, Longbrake Student Wellness Center), the Dean of Students Office. See more details on the Policies & Resources page of our class website. Ask for help when you need it.