Learning Outcomes for History Majors at PLU
- Build historical knowledge
- Develop historical methods
- Recognize the provisional nature of knowledge, the disciplinary preference for complexity, and the comfort with ambiguity that history requires.
- Apply the range of skills it takes to decode the historical record because of its incomplete, complex, and contradictory nature.
- Create historical arguments and narratives
- Use historical perspective as central to active citizenship.
Integrated Learning Outcomes for Lower-Division Courses
The History Department has structured all 100-200 courses to create the following learning outcomes for students who complete them successfully.
- Read and learn to distinguish between primary and secondary written texts (sources) in the field of History
- Identify, comprehend, and explain the structure of written arguments and claims made in specific primary and secondary sources
- Learn and summarize key concepts presented in course activities and readings through identifying, analyzing, and explaining specific claims or ideas offered in primary and secondary sources
- Learn and practice skills of critical oral expression and dialogue through interpreting and analyzing primary and secondary sources in small-group and large-group discussions
- Learn and practice the evaluation of evidence (primary and secondary sources) as a means of forming and supporting a written or oral argument about a historical topic or question
- Develop the ability to write a clear, cogent, and formal paper that uses a thesis statement to make an appropriate evidence-based argument about a selected topic or question in history (evidence may include primary and secondary sources)
- Use conflicting evidence when necessary in a paper or in other learning activities to achieve historical accuracy; demonstrate the ability to evaluate and explain multiple, complex sources or ideas when explaining a thesis statement
- Use proper citations and footnotes within formal written assignments (History papers should conform to the Chicago Manual of Style notes-bibliography format)
- Develop the ability to determine, within reasonable limits, the magnitude and significance of historical changes that take place within a society or culture.
- Develop the capacity to recognize diversity, complexity, and the moral dilemmas inherent in the study of the history
Integrated Learning Outcomes for Upper-Divison Courses
Students should be able to demonstrate and accomplish all the skills listed in History Learning Outcomes/Lower-Division Courses. In addition, in Upper-Division Courses (numbered 300-499) students will:
- Understand the basics of historiography or how historians have studied the past
- Use primary sources more significantly and substantially than at the 100 and 200-level; read longer primary documents and learn to recognize and explain the historical genre or context they represent
- Identify and pursue independently a thorough understanding of a historical question or problem related to course content (i.e. develop the critical thinking skills and research skills needed to frame a successful research project)
- Develop the ability to locate, read, and interpret accurately a variety of historic source materials in the library and other locations; use appropriate academic and other databases and search engines to locate primary sources and secondary sources (e.g., books, articles, and reviews)
- Write a research paper that presents a clear, original thesis; situates that thesis within a thorough understanding of a historical question or problem; and explains that thesis through well-organized, pertinent interpretations of numerous primary and secondary sources;
- Present work in class to student peers, students, and professors; the hallmarks of well presented work includes presenting and supporting a specific thesis or claim, showing and explaining related evidence, engaging an audience and answering questions, and doing these things within a pre-established time period. Select and use appropriate methods and means of presentation (e.g., lectures, discussions, visual technologies, web-based tools, etc.)
- Develop and demonstrate professional work habits, including clear communication with colleagues or instructors, adherence to written and oral instructions, punctuality, attention to deadlines, and responsible collaboration with fellow students
- Articulate and cultivate one’s own values through engaging selected ethical questions and issues in the context of deepening one’s understanding of history
Integrated Learning Objectives for History 301 & Capstone
History 301 must be completed with a C- grade or better before student can take HIST 494, 496, or 497 (capstone courses). Each objective in HIST 301 is listed below. Many of these objectives insure that students who pass HIST 301 will be able successfully to complete a History capstone and achieve the objectives of the History major. The designations in parentheses at the beginning of each objective refer to the listed Learning Outcomes for History Majors.
(1a/1b) Students complete exercises on reading and writing history using selected texts
(1c) Students must develop a topic to support a substantial research paper based on primary sources, written in clear prose and with a thesis, and documented with the citation system and bibliography format (notes-bibliography style) found in the Chicago Manual of Style
(1 a, b, c, d, e) Students must write a substantial research paper based on primary sources, written in clear prose and with a thesis, and documented with citation system and bibliographic format (notes-bibliography style) found in the Chicago Manual of Style.
(3 and 4 a, b, c, d) Students must develop oral presentations of their research and provide critiques of selected examples of student work
A History Capstone (choose HIST 494 or 496 or 497, all of which are offered each spring semester) must be completed with a C- grade or better. The designations in parentheses at the beginning of each objective refer to the History Learning Objectives/Major.
(1a / 1b) Students read works on historiography
(1a) Students must integrate historiography into their seminar research paper
(3) Students will offer formal presentations related to issues of periodization, historiography, and/or philosophies of history, etc.
(1 c, e, f) Students will formulate a topic for a seminar paper of at least 25 pages in length, using appropriate collection and analysis of primary source materials or extensive use of secondary sources and engagement of issues in a strongly historiographical manner
(1 d, g) Students must write a seminar paper of at least 25 pages in length using appropriate collection and analysis of primary source materials or extensive use of secondary sources and engagement of issues in a strongly historiographical manner
(3 and 4 a, b, c, d) Students must develop oral presentations of their seminar project research and provide critiques of selected examples of other students’ research