Course Details


History 390 is an applied history class. That means that we split our time between discussions/lecture and workshops. Some meetings will have more lecture/discussion and others will be more weighted to skills, but all weeks will have some mixture of the two. In our discussions, I may lecture to set some context, but the bulk of our time will be spent discussing the assigned readings and media. In our in-class workshops, we’ll learn and practice specific digital skills. All workshops are designed to help you learn the skills you need to complete the graded assignments.

Readings & Tools

You will be required to purchase a domain of your own and server space–which will house all of your work for the semester –from Reclaim Hosting for $30. Students in this class will receive a 10% discount by using the promo code: reclaim4edu at checkout.

There is no required text to purchase. All of the assigned readings will be shared on the course site and available to you for free online either through GMU Libraries online access or online. I expect you to complete all assigned readings before class. For those of you new to writing in history, I recommend Mary Lynn Rampolla’s,  A Pocket Guide to Writing in History to help you navigate the research and writing.


Please bring a working laptop or tablet to every class—you’ll need it to complete the required in-class exercises. Please charge your battery or remember to bring your power cord. While I encourage the use of technology, if you are clearly using your devices for things other than coursework, your grade will suffer.

Email is the best way to reach me; I will usually respond within one business day and I will expect the same of you. Mason uses only GMU email accounts to communicate with enrolled students. I will not correspond with non-GMU email addresses.

Computers are awesome, but with any technology, you must expect that you will encounter problems at some point. Back up your work on an external hard drive or in a Dropbox account. Always keep separate copies of your written assignments, essays, and final project. Have a “plan B” for computer use or software access should your primary options fail you. Computer failures are not acceptable as an excuse for late assignments and will not constitute an emergency.

Please silence all your devices.

Honor Code

All GMU students have agreed to abide by the letter and the spirit of the University Honor Code not to cheat, plagiarize, steal, and/or lie about matters related to academic work. All violations of the Honor Code will be reported to the Honor Committee for review.

If you are copying and pasting text that someone else wrote, you might be plagiarizing. Pasted or manually retyped text is accurately cited (and not plagarized) only when all of the following three conditions are true:

  1. the pasted text is surrounded by quotation marks or set off as a block quote, and
  2. the pasted text is attributed in your text to its author and its source (e.g., “As Jane Smith writes on her blog . . . “), and
  3. the pasted text is cited in a footnote, endnote, and/or a bibliography.

Disability Services

Any student who requires special arrangements in order to meet course requirements should contact me to make necessary accommodations (as soon as possible, please). Students must present appropriate verification from the Office of Disability Services (SUB I, Room 4205; 703-993-2474). All academic accommodations must be arranged through that office.

Late Work & Attendance

I do not grade for attendance. I will ask students to sign in so that I can learn your names. While attendance is not mandatory, please note that our class time together will be filled with demonstrations and workshops designed to help you learn the skills you’ll need to succeed in this course. If you are not in class, you are responsible for making up the work. Missing class is not a valid excuse for missing assignments.

All assignments must be turned in by the date and time they are due. Late assignments will be penalized 1/3 of a grade (eg. From a B to a B-) after the deadline. I will deduct an additional 1/3 of a grade for each 24 hours that pass before the assignment is completed.

That said, I do recognize that emergencies can arise; if you have a documented emergency, please see me and we can discuss other arrangements.


Please be mindful of disruptions – including noisy wrappers and spills. Messy food, liquids, and computers don’t usually mix, so please be careful. No tobacco products of any kind.

Your enrollment status is your responsibility.

Trigger warning: In this class, we will be covering various types of violent crime, including homicide, assault, and capital punishment. As such, some of the assigned sources, including texts and imagery, can be upsetting or disturbing. If you have specific triggers, please let me know and I will note the assignments accordingly. Please note that these warnings will not release you from the assignment. The trigger warnings are provided to give you the tools you require to complete the assigned work.

Come talk to me. I am always happy to discuss history in general or this class specifically. Please come see me if you want to ask questions about or further discuss the course, assignments, tools, discussion points, and/or your performance in the course. Don’t be shy.