A Concise US History Project: Deep Diving into the 20th Century
Sophomores enrolled in Cam McMillan’s US History class are performing a Concise History Project throughout the spring term. “We originally planned to undertake a term-long research paper this spring but the bigger forces in the world had something to say about that,” explains McMillan. “As a department we agreed it to be unreasonable to task our students with such a project in this remote setting. So we decided to try something new and inventive. The intention of this assignment is to encourage students to research an event within the realm of the 20th Century and submit a short video or podcast presenting an informative discussion on it. This allows them to study in-depth topics we do not cover in great detail during our online classes. The end result we hope will be both strengthening their research skills and gaining experience reviewing and commenting on the work of their peers.”
The assignment is benchmarked by just two main requirements: (1) Each presentation must be between 8 to 15 minutes in length, and (2) fellow students must gain an informative understanding of the topics presented. Well-composed and organized, clearly articulated, high quality, and relevant content will earn the grade of Distinction. Students who submit a coherently informative, punctual presentation matching the basic expectations of the assignment and who provide sufficient context and background substantiation will receive the grade of Pass. Finally, students submitting late or deficient work with noticeably little effort or engagement will be penalized with the grade of Fail.
Campbell Perkins from St. Louis, Missouri and Zeina Lee from Seoul, South Korea took initiative with two differently styled approaches and formats. Zeina introduced a detailed and thorough visual narrative on the topic of Bloody Sunday (the Edmund Pettus Bridge—March 7, 1965) in the much larger context of the Civil Rights movement. Meanwhile, Campbell submitted a mock-style crash course teaching video covering the Iranian Hostage Crisis (1979-1981).
Other topics include Matt Shiffman’s presentation on the Tonkin Gulf Incident (August 1964), Oliver Roberts’ investigation of the Kent State Massacre (May 4, 1970), Drew Serafino’s (’21) dive into the Invasion at Pearl Harbor (December 7, 1941), Grace Kotchen’s report on the Battle of the Sexes (1973), Clementine Ceria’s project on the Battle for Marja (Afghanistan, 2010), Trey Bischoping’s narrative regarding the incidents at Omaha Beach (Normandy, France—June 6, 1944), Kelsie Nemeth’s celebration of The Miracle on Ice (1980), and Kaitlyn Suller’s report on United Airlines Flight 93 (September 11, 2001).