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BYU Course Outcomes

  1. Gain knowledge of some of the major developments in American history from 1877 to the present (industrialization, immigration, urbanization, political and social movements, gender, and foreign policy), including an understanding of key historical terms and theories. Demonstrate this knowledge in exams, papers, and class discussion.
  2. Hone the ability to analyze historical questions and issues in American history from 1877 to the present, assess historical information accurately, and distinguish between questionable and valid historical assertions in exams and papers.
  3. Learn from example and practice with activities, papers, and exams to evaluate primary and secondary sources skillfully and honestly.
  4. Learn to integrate data into coherent arguments expressed through a clear, well-written style in exams, papers, and learning activities.

Course Learning Outcomes

This course will help you:

  1. Explain the relationship of past developments to current problems.
  2. Explain the role of political parties, factions, and special interest groups.
  3. Describe the development of the American experience with government.
  4. Identify the major trends in American foreign policy.
  5. Discuss the significance of the more important reform movements in American history.
  6. Become familiar with the major trends in the development of the American economic system.
  7. Understand important aspects of American culture and society.

Course Materials

You will need these textbooks:

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This course consists of sixteen lessons. Each lesson includes a reading assignment from the textbook and discussion material in the course. The discussion material consists of commentary on the textbook reading and information taken from the lectures that I deliver in my on-campus sections of this course. Each lesson also includes a quiz that is either computer-graded or instructor-graded. These quizzes are designed to assist you in delving into and mastering the material in each chapter. Some quizzes include multiple-choice and true/false questions that will be submitted and be computed-graded. Quizzes 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, and 7 include multiple-choice and true/false questions as well as an essay that will be instructor-graded.

Quiz 5 includes ten matching questions on Desert Exile. The questions ask you to identify the general locations where ten significant events in the book occurred (e.g. Tanforan Assembly Center, Topaz Internment Camp, or Berkeley prior to relocation). These questions should not be difficult for you if you have read the book. It is designed primarily to motivate you to read the book and to reward you for doing so.

Research Paper

“Film is one of the products, one of the languages, through which the world communicates itself to itself. Films . . . contain the values, fears, myths, assumptions, and point of views of the culture in which they are produced” (O’Connor and Jackson 1987).

The research paper is based on the premise expressed by O’Connor and Jackson in this quotation. In order to complete this assignment you will select a historically and culturally significant film that was produced in the twentieth-century U.S., prior to 1990. After repeatedly viewing the film, prepare a typed, double-spaced, 6–7 page report (in 10- or 12-point font) analyzing the film’s value as a historical document. Your paper should illuminate the era in which the film was produced. Thus, if you are writing about Gone with the Wind, a film produced in the 1930s but set in Civil War times, your topic will be the ways that the film reflects the 1930s rather than the ways that the film reflects the Civil War era.

Your paper should briefly (no more than one page) summarize the plot or story line of the film. The balance of your paper should be devoted to analyzing the film as a historical document. Do so by discussing, in no more than two pages, the circumstances surrounding the production of the film and by discussing how the public and critics regarded the film. There are many good resources that provide background information on films. Two great electronic ones are:

  1. American Film Institute Catalog— provides limited background information on a wide array of films.
  2. Film Indexes Online—provides historical information on films and directs you to reviews and articles and reviews regarding individual films.

Both databases are available through the BYU Library. Sign in with your NetID and password to gain access. These electronic sources can serve as springboards for your research.

Where they exist and are available to you, either in a library or through interlibrary loan, please also look at biographies of individuals who were involved in the production of the film and/or published histories of the film you choose. You can also look for reviews and articles about films in Readers’ Guide Retrospective, a database available from the BYU library website. This database provides references to articles written in a wide variety of popular magazines about all sorts of subjects, including movies.

Finally, discuss ways in which the film reflects American interests, values, concerns, and conditions at the time that the film was produced. Devote at least 3 pages of your paper to this last area. To address this issue, you will need to become familiar with important developments and trends in American history in the era in which the film was produced. You will also need to be able to relate those developments and trends to the messages and values shown by the film through elements such as dialogue, plot, camera techniques, lighting, characterization, and themes.

In your discussion of the era in which a film was produced, you should use specific examples, statistics, or other evidence from the textbook and from at least one other published scholarly history (consult with me or consult the bibliographies at the end of each chapter in the text for good additional sources regarding the era you are going to write about). You will need to buy the scholarly history book, check it out from a library, or find it online. You should document the sources of your information throughout your paper using footnotes, endnotes, or parenthetical references. Your paper will be due before you take your final exam.

You are encouraged to broaden your horizons by writing about a film that you haven’t seen yet, but if you want to write about one you have seen, that is okay too. Here is a list of some films that lend themselves nicely to this assignment.

This list contains only a few possibilities. You are obviously welcome to choose another film for this assignment.

Formatting Written Assignments

To make sure that I can open and read your paper, please save it as a Word .DOC or .DOCX file.

Use the course number, your first and last name, and the assignment name for the filename. For example, HIST221_JaneSmith_ResearchPaper.docx.

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Midcourse Exam

Your midcourse exam will include one essay question. It is drawn from the self check questions in lessons 1-7. The midcourse will also include twenty terms from the textbook and the course. A list of terms from the textbook and course accompanies each lesson. You will be asked to discuss the historical significance of fifteen out of the twenty terms that appear on the exam. The midcourse exam will also questions on The Jungle that will focus upon the people, places and concepts discused in the book. Read the book carefully and review the story line of the novel. You may not use your book or notes.

Final Exam

Your final exam will include one essay question and twenty terms drawn from the textbook, and the reading assignments in lessons 8-16 in the course. You will be asked to discuss the historical significance of fifteen of the twenty terms. It will also include ten questions from The Autobiography of Malcolm X that will focus upon the people, places, and concepts that are discussed in the book. Prepare by reading the assigned book carefully and by reviewing the autobiography and the story line of the novel. You may not use your books or notes.

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These items count toward your course grade.

Midterm (including questions on The Jungle)

170 points or approx. 22% of overall grade

Final Exam (including questions on The Autobiography of Malcolm X)

170 points or approx. 22% of overall grade

Research Paper

150 points or approx. 20% of overall grade

8 Quizzes

270 pts. or approx. 36% of overall grade

Grading Scale

Your letter grade is based on these percentages:

























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Copyright Notice

The materials used in connection with this online course are only for the use of students enrolled in this course for purposes associated with this course and may not be retained or further disseminated. Any copying or further dissemination of these materials may be subject to applicable U.S. Copyright Laws. For questions or more information, please visit the BYU Copyright Licensing Office website.

“Members of the BYU community who willfully disregard this Copyright Policy or the BYU Copyright Guidelines place themselves individually at risk of legal action and may incur personal liability for their conduct. The unauthorized use or distribution of copyrighted material, including unauthorized peer-to-peer file sharing, may subject individuals to civil and criminal liabilities, including actual and statutory damages, costs and fees of litigation, fines, and imprisonment

Violations of the Copyright Policy may result in university disciplinary action including termination of university enrollment or employment.” (Emphasis added. Excerpt taken from the BYU Copyright Policy)

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University Policy - Title IX Statement

Preventing & Responding to Sexual Misconduct

In accordance with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Brigham Young University prohibits unlawful sex discrimination against any participant in its education programs or activities. The university also prohibits sexual harassment—including sexual violence—committed by or against students, university employees, and visitors to campus. As outlined in university policy, sexual harassment, dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking are considered forms of "Sexual Misconduct" prohibited by the university.

University policy requires all university employees in a teaching, managerial, or supervisory role to report all incidents of Sexual Misconduct that come to their attention in any way, including but not limited to face-to-face conversations, a written class assignment or paper, class discussion, email, text, or social media post. Incidents of Sexual Misconduct should be reported to the Title IX Coordinator at t9coordinator@byu.edu or (801) 422-8692. Reports may also be submitted through EthicsPoint at https://titleix.byu.edu/report or 1-888-238-1062 (24-hours a day).

BYU offers confidential resources for those affected by Sexual Misconduct, including the university’s Victim Advocate, as well as a number of non-confidential resources and services that may be helpful. Additional information about Title IX, the university’s Sexual Misconduct Policy, reporting requirements, and resources can be found at http://titleix.byu.edu or by contacting the university’s Title IX Coordinator.

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Accessibility Notice

BYU is committed to providing a working and learning atmosphere which reasonably accommodates persons with disabilities who are otherwise qualified to participate in BYU's programs and activities. In this spirit, BYU Independent Study aspires to improve web accessibility for users. While not required by law, the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 Levels A and AA provide a wide range of helpful recommendations to make Web content more accessible. BYU Independent Study strives to apply WCAG 2.0 recommendations where feasible, but may deviate from any recommendations that would result in an undue hardship to BYU Independent Study or alterations to program and course content and objectives. If you have questions about accessibility, or if you need to report problems with any accessibility features please see our Accessibilities and Accommodations Web Page.

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