Tennessee Republicans Attack APUSH

Two Tennessee Republicans, Dolores Gresham and Mike Bell, want the state to review the direction taken with the new AP U.S. History (APUSH) framework and exam. According to the Tennessean, Gresham is arguing that "[t]here are many concerns with the new APUSH framework, not the least of which is that it pushes a revisionist interpretation of historical …

Knowledge vs. Box-Checking

Chronicle poster polly_mer recently posted this assessment of the importance of a college education: This is why our responsibility in Gen Ed and even majors classes is to sell the benefits of knowing things instead of checking the boxes.For example, I tell my students that being able to fake interest in deathly dull material is …

Considering Rebecca Schuman’s Essay on Writing

Rebecca Schuman, who teaches at UMSL and writes for Slate and the Chronicle of Higher Education, wrote a controversial piece last week against the assignment of essays in required introductory university courses. She also wrote several blog posts about the topic after receiving feedback, most of which appears to have been negative (see here, here, here, and here).I'll be honest: I disagree with Schuman, …

My Attempt at a New Approach to the U.S. Survey Course

As I mentioned earlier this year, I decided to do something different with my U.S. survey course this semester. It's not the uncoverage model that I've written about before, but an experiment in trying to integrate historical methods and skills with historical content. I'm still not sure how well it is working out, but here …

For What They’re Worth: Students Evaluations, Pt. 2

I wrote a post last month that contained more quantitative data about my student course evaluations than you would ever want to know and promised to follow up with another about the qualitative data. When I first started teaching at Mississippi State, instructors supervised each other's in-class course evals, completed with pencil and bubble sheets, …

For What They’re Worth: Students Evaluations

Someone I follow on Twitter (I don't remember who) posts his student evaluations. I thought it was a great idea at the time, but I've been waiting to get my Spring 2013 evaluations before writing a post about my own. First things first--student evaluations are problematic for a number of reasons. They typically are not …

Conservatives’ Criticism of History in the Classroom

There's been quite a bit of discussion recently about the findings of the National Association of Scholars (NAS) regarding history instruction in the college classroom. Historians such as Ann M. Little (Historiann) and Jeremi Suri have rightly taken the NAS to task for its nonsensical methodology and conclusions.* Nevertheless, the American Conservative, which supports the NAS's …

What Defines the South?

Update: After I scheduled the post yesterday, Karen Cox (@SassyProf) and several others had a lively exchange on Twitter about the topic, especially the place of sweet tea and cornbread. You can find the exchanges in our Twitter streams. I'm teaching the Old South course this semester. This is my second time teaching the course, …

Research Papers and E-Books

Like a lot of universities, ours has made a push to incorporate tablet technology into the curriculum. Cumberland University actually gives freshmen and nursing students a free iPad (with certain strings attached). One of the arguments for the program was to give students the option of acquiring electronic versions of textbooks at a cheaper cost. …

MOOCs and the History Classroom

One of my favorite bloggers, Jonathan Rees, has been hammering the MOOC (massive open online course) that he enrolled in. Led by Princeton University history professor Jeremy Adelman, the MOOC is offered by Coursera, one of the leading companies pushing for free courses that are open to anyone. Rees is an outspoken critic of online …