Assignments and Projects


Grades (100 points total)

Class Participation (10 points): I expect each student to be an active participant in class discussions. Participation begins, obviously, with attendance, but it requires more than that. Please come to class prepared to exchange ideas about the readings or assignments, to raise questions, and to speculate on our topics of discussion. That means you will need to do the readings before you come to class. Your grade for this part of the course does not depend just on you showing up. Instead it will reflect upon your thoughtful contribution to our discussions.

Please note that our weekly meetings will include in-class demonstrations and exercises that are designed to ensure that you master the skills we’re covering. I will expect you to follow along and practice the skills in and out of class—usually these skills make up the bulk of your blog assignments. Obviously, if you are not in class, you cannot participate and will struggle to keep up with the skills.

Blog Posts (20 points): It is my goal to get you comfortable with writing for public consumption, which is something you may have to do once you’ve entered the workforce. To help you practice, you will write four blog posts throughout the semester. Each post is worth 5 points and will be graded based on the Blog Grading Criteria. On your domain, you will be responsible for maintaining a blog where you will chronicle your exercises, your progress in the course, the development of your major projects, or your reflections on the course readings. These blog posts should be 400-500 words; they should be written in a semi-formal scholarly style (with complete thoughts and correct spelling, grammar, and syntax); and are due on Saturday by 5pm each week they are assigned. Partial responses (including responses that fail to meet the minimum word length or clearly fail to answer the prompt) will receive partial credit. Late posts will lose points.

Timeline Project (20 points): Using TimelineJS, a digital timeline tool, you will create and publish a timeline related to a sensational trial in United States history. You will work on these projects individually and they will be due on October 24th. We will review the requirements and expectations of this project extensively in class.

Final Project & Proposal (40 & 10 points): Each student will complete a digital project that answers a significant question about a sensational trial in United States history. You are required to turn in your preliminary project proposals to me before class on November 7th. This proposal is worth 10 points and is required. These projects are not simply busy work; they will allow you to demonstrate your mastery of the digital skills that are central to the course. We will cover the requirements and expectations for this assignment extensively in class.

Important Dates

  • August 29 – First day of class
  • September 5 – Labor Day, GMU closed.
  • September 6 – Last day to add
  • September 30 – Final Drop deadline
  • October 10 – Columbus Day recess, we meet on Tues., no Tues classes.
  • November 23-27 – Thanksgiving Recess
  • December 10 – Last day of classes
  • December 12 – Reading Day – NO CLASS
  • December 19 – Final projects due.

For the complete list of important semester deadlines, please see the Registrar’s Fall calendar.