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Western Civilization I: History 101


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The key question we study is "What is Western Civilization?" By the end of this course, students should be able to ask questions about the origins and characteristics of the civilization in which we live. To answer such questions does require some accurate information (or "facts"), but as you move into a college environment you will find that the study of human history has little to do with the tedious memorization of facts, and everything to do with discussion of different ways in which we can interpret the past. As such, this course is designed to give every student the chance to learn some of the "facts" about European Civilization, while also providing the chance to discuss the past and how things, ideas and people of the past shape the world in which we live.

Egyptian Sphinx and the Great Pyramid
Roman Aqueduct, in Segovia Spain

Required Book and supplies

  1. Western Civilizations, Brief Edition, Judith G. Coffin - ISBN 0-393-92558-7

  2. The Epic of Gilgamesh

  3. The Song of Roland

  4. Canterbury Tales - Chaucer

  5. The Prince - Machiavelli


Assignment points possible:                                                      Total Points

Book quizzes                                     10%

Chapter quizzes                                10%

Oral Presentation                              10%
Travel Agent Assignment                 20%

Exam #1                                             25%
Exam #2                                             25%

Extra Credit

90%+                                        A
60-69%                                     D
Under 60%                              F


Each exam is composed of four parts: chronology (15%), map identifications (18%), identification questions (42%) and an essay question (25%). The essay is an "open note, open neighbor" exam. No use of the text or electronic devices during the exam.

There are no makeups for missed quizzes, presentations or exams.


Each of the four books other than the course text is the subject of a short quiz. The quizzes occur at the very beginning of class. If you are late you will miss the quiz. The quizzes are ten multiple choice questions each and will be graded and discussed in class.

Chapter Quizzes:

During the semester there will be quizzes based on the textbook.  There are no make-ups for missed  assignments.

Oral Presentation:

The manner of your oral presentation is entirely up to you. Some ideas from past students have included; videotaped re-enactments of a portion of the personís life, a poem written about the time period in the manner that period, a slide show or a live performance by a group of students. Whatever option you take, choose one that you can have fun with and feel most comfortable with.
Sign-ups for topics will occur during the second week, in class. There are no make-ups for missed presentations.

Content: your presentation should:
1.      last no more than five (5) minutes on the date of the class topic
2.      provide a brief identification and description of the topic
3.      explain the significance of the subject to the history of that period
4.      offer an analysis of how this subject does or does not illustrate the major events occurring in the world around it
5.      conclude with an offer to answer questions

Format: each presentation must include the following:
1.      a multimedia component (such as computer, video, web, audio, slide show, hands on activity, etc.)
2.      a handout distributed to the class
presented to professor your bibliography of sources used to prepare the presentation including at least:
a.      two (2) different books
b.      three (3) web links, of which at least one MUST NOT be a .COM


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Last Edited: Thursday September 06, 2012
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