Course Requirements

Requirements for Mr. Jordan's History Classes

USE A LOOSE LEAF NOTEBOOK: To hold your notes, photocopied handouts, syllabus, and writing assignments.

PARTICIPATION IN CLASS DISCUSSIONS: Class participation is mandatory, not optional. For an explanation of how your class participation may affect your grade, go to the Discussing History tab and select Grading. To assess your own contributions to the class, consider the following:

1. Presence, physical and otherwise. Students need to attend class in both body and spirit. Body language says a lot about a person's mental presence and attentiveness--maybe even more-so during online classes. I assume that excused absences are for a good reason, unexcused absences reflect a lack of commitment to the class. On rare occasions, students may need to leave a class that is underway, usually to use the lavatory; on most days, such business should be taken care of in-between classes and frequently leaving class in the middle of a period is not acceptable short of a documented medical condition.

2. Degree of preparation. Did you bring the readings and reference them during class? You should mark up the readings with underlining or highlighting and notes in the margins as a way of preparing to cite things from the reading as evidence during discussions.

3. Frequency of participation. Did you participate frequently without monopolizing the discussion?

4. Appropriateness of participation. Did you respond to what others said in constructive ways? Did you listen with an open mind and seek to understand others' ideas? Did you respond constructively and were you sometimes persuaded by opposing points of view?

5. Etiquette. Did you treat all members of the class with respect at all times? Did you direct remarks to other students or the group rather than the teacher? Please do not use OTHER electronic devices during the class.

For more on these criteria, see the Harkness discussion Guide under the Discussing History tab.

Attention quiet students. Students who regularly do not participate in class discussions may have their grade reduced. But rather than reduce your grade I would like to help you get involved in the discussion. If you are regularly not participating in class for some reason, please set up a meeting with me about how you can get into the conversation.

For an interesting article about how positive group dynamics are more important than cumulative intelligence in determining the effectiveness of a group, follow this link to the Boston Globe.

PAPERS: Please turn in physical (not electronic) copies of your papers. Students are welcome to set up conferences to discuss their work and go over comments on papers, especially if the grade is low or if you do not understand the comments.

ON WORD LIMITS: Do you not ask: "how strict are you about word limits?" Here's how I interpret that question: "Can you give me a higher word limit so I can write a more thorough paper and get an unfair advantage over my classmates?" The word limit is the word limit. If you go over it, you will be risking a reduced grade.

LATE PAPERS: If you want an extension on a regular paper assignment, you may have an automatic 48-hour extension. Here's how it works: When the paper is due, turn in whatever you have done so far, but indicate at the top of page 1 in big bold letters that it is a draft and you are taking the extension. If I don't get a revised paper within 48 hours (by email) I will read and grade whatever you turned in at the time the paper was initially due. This does not apply to papers due on the day of the final or to research papers. There is a penalty for not submitting a draft when you are taking the extension.

Do not consider this automatic extension as a casual option. My goal is to get you to internalize the value of deadlines rather than depend on me, and to become more autonomous individuals. Don't take the extension because you feel like it, but because you have a legitimate reason (two other major assignments due on that day, illness). Ask yourself: if I were a teacher, would I grant this extension?

ASSESSMENT OF PAPERS: Papers are evaluated according to the following standards, with particular emphasis on the first three:

1. Mastery and understanding of the history we studied in preparation for this exercise. Is the paper historically accurate? Does it show a good understanding of events and concepts that are relevant to your argument? See PWG #4, 5.

2. Analytical sophistication. Does the essay show sophisticated critical and historical thinking? See PWG #5.

3. Persuasiveness. Did you articulate a clear argument that answers an arguable question about the topic and did you present enough evidence to support it? Did you consider the most significant, most relevant evidence and not just whatever supports your argument? See PWG #1, 4.

4. Quality of writing: clarity of sentences, organization. See PWG #2, 3, 6.

5. Documentation. Did you properly cite the sources of all your evidence? See Citation page.

When you get your paper back: My comments on returned essays may include suggestions for you to read certain sections of my Paper-Writing Guide (PWG) and other pages on my website. Make sure you read those after you get your paper back. It will help you do better on the next paper.

PREWRITE POLICY: I sometimes set up peer editing sessions before a paper is due and I'm happy to meet with students to discuss assignments before they are due. In those sessions I will clarify any questions you have about the assignment and discuss your ideas and strategies for writing the paper, but I do not read full drafts or edit student papers that I'm going to be grading later. The exception is for research papers in which part of the assignment involves turning in a rough draft and going over it with me.

REWRITE POLICY: Rewrites are generally for remediation and are strongly encouraged for students who receive a paper with a grade below B- (but also allowed for all others), especially on the first paper. Students are expected to make more than cosmetic changes and to go beyond the specific suggestions I made in my comments, but to engage in self-criticism and some rethinking of the ideas in the essay. Writing is thinking--and that includes re-writing. Please follow these guidelines:

1. Read comments and any relevant sections of the Paper-Writing Guide (PWG in my comments) carefully.

2. Talk to me or send me an email within a week of getting the paper back and list all your free periods during which we can meet to go over comments and strategies for improving the paper.

3. Meet with me.

4. Turn in the rewrite within one week of our meeting along with the original paper with my comments on it.

Only one paper may be rewritten for a change in grade. The rewrite grade will be averaged with the original paper's grade. The deadline for rewrites is two weeks after you get the paper back. No rewrites will be accepted after the last class before the end-of-term special schedule, and rewrites are not allowed for research papers. Time often does not allow me to return rewritten papers before the end of the term. I will put them in your PO box during the break.

NOTE-TAKING: You should take notes on your reading for two reasons. First, it will help you process and retain information. Second, they will be helpful when studying for exams, writing papers, or taking open-note quizzes. Don't take notes on everything. Write down the most important events, dates, people, concepts and themes. You should also write down any questions that you have. Finally, look up words that you don’t know. Take notes in class too: write down information that I've put up on the board, any sudden revelations that come to you, or ideas that you would like to write about at a later time. In-class note taking is particularly helpful for people who speak infrequently (it keeps them focused on the discussion) or too frequently (it gives them something to do other than speak incessantly).

SHOWING UP: Completing assigned work on time, arriving to class on time, marking up your readings and bringing them to class. Take care of the fundamentals. Do your job. Show up. A successful class at Exeter depends on everyone doing their part. Exonians don't tend to work a part time job through High School. That's because the workload here is so heavy. That's too bad, because you learn a lot of valuable lessons in the teenager workplace. So consider this your job. Harkness classes rely on student participation. When you show up late, fail to meet deadlines, don't participate, it degrades the experience for everyone else who is part of this team effort. DO YOUR JOB.

HISTORY DEPARTMENT PLAGIARISM POLICY. You are responsible for knowing and following the policy:

The most basic definition of plagiarism is the theft of another's intellectual property. The most serious form of plagiarism is the deliberate use of a source without alteration or attribution; cutting and pasting unacknowledged material from the Internet into an essay is one example. Copying the work of another person, failing to cite sources, failing to place borrowed phrasing between quotation marks, failing to paraphrase, and misuse of footnotes/citations may also be considered forms of plagiarism.

The History Department expects that students will cite their sources in their writing, as one of our educational goals is to train students in this critical scholarly practice. History teachers understand that mistakes in citation might occur as part of the learning process and that these mistakes may be unintentional. One of the tasks of the teacher is to notify a student when a form of misuse has occurred, so that a student might avoid this mistake in the future.

However, plagiarism can be a serious issue of academic dishonesty and can lead to disciplinary action. In a case of academic dishonesty involving plagiarism, a teacher must notify the chair of the history department and a discipline case may ensue. We expect that students will follow the guidelines for citing sources, ask their teachers when they have questions about citations, and learn from their mistakes. Above all, we expect that students will be honest in representing their own work and in acknowledging the sources they have used.

MISSED CLASSES: If you miss a class you are expected to complete the reading; get notes from a classmate; obtain any missed handouts or assignments; and come to the following class fully prepared. Missing a class is not an excuse for being unprepared the next time.

CONTACT ME: During the weird fall 2020 term, I will hold office hours over zoom during the office hours block Thursdays. Email: In normal times I say: "I tend to be in my classroom in between classes. Come by if you have a free, or shoot me an email listing your free periods and we can set up an appointment. I do evening duty in Peabody Hall one night a week (it's Thursday for the 2018-19 school year). I love to discuss history, writing, Harkness, etc. with my students, so please don't hesitate to meet with me."