History Department: E-Herodotus

Faculty involved: Jordi Getman-Eraso, Robert A. Maryks (lead), and Tamar Y. Rothenberg

Courses influenced: approximately 50 sections of HIS 10 and 11, “History of the Modern World” (average of 1,200 students per semester)

Project Goals: To develop an online compansion to “The Modern World. A History” text used in all HIS 10/11 courses that can serve as a 24/7 cyber-tutor for students, making the text more comprehensible and accesible, and providing instructors with multiple pedagogical tools. The second goal was the installation of a Smart Classroom to provide a venue for the multimedia aspects of E-Herodotus.

Project Outcomes:

  • Over the course of three semesters (Fall 2008 through Fall 2009) the three instructors developed E-Herodotus to include the following:
    • Textbook Contents (a linked listing of textbook chapters and sections)
    • Chapter Overview (an overview of each chapter with a general outline, an introduction, a representative picture, and links to the key terms, detailed outline, maps, and additional material on HIS 10/11 website).
    • Textbook Outlines (detailed outlines of textbook chapters in downloadable Microsoft Word format) 
    • Map Central (selection of maps for each chapter of the textbook, accompanied by captions and map-reading exercises).
    • Primary Sources (a section that provides a guide to analyzing historical primary documents, as well as links to online information literacy exercises)
    • Connections to the Present (an internet gadget that displays particular events that occurred on that date in history)
    • Glossary and Pronunciation Key (a link to an online dictionary that provides definitions and pronunciations of historical terms and names)

Example of Topic Outlines page for students

  • These elements were selected out of an analysis of the specific needs of BCC students, namely outlines and maps. Each element built in factual information as well as questions designed to promote critical thinking skills.
  • Integration of E-Herodotus across the department was supported by providing all instructors with frequent project updates and practical uses of the site for their courses. History tutors were also trained in using the site with students.
  • The outcomes of the E-Herodotus project helped the textbook author, BCC Professor Andrea Finkelstein, prepare the next edition of the text.

Project Assessment: A survey administered to HIS 10/11 students in Spring 2009 (with 25% of students responding) showed that 60% of students made use of the site and 66% found it easy to use.

Future Plans:

  • The assessment revealed that students wanted more study questions, sample quizzes and tutorials.
  • In addition, a number of plans are in place to maintain the integration of E-Herodotus in the History Department: including it in the front matter of all HIS 10/11 course syllabi; ongoing publicity to both students and instructors; a Smart Classroom with all elements of E-Herodotus pre-loaded for use by sections of HIS 10/11
  • Additional funding has been provided by the Bronx Community College Presidential Grants to support developing language and information literacy tools and the development of more quizzes, as requested by the students.
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