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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Elizabeth Sundermann
T HIST 150
Tacoma Campus

World History: Prehistory to 1500

Surveys the social, political, economic, and cultural history of the world from Prehistory to the 15th century. May not be taken if student has already taken TCXG 230.

Class description

Surveys the social, political, economic, and cultural history of the world from “prehistory” to sixteenth century using interdisciplinary and “big history” trends and themes. The course is thematic rather than simply chronological. It asks questions and proposes ideas about as well as alternatives to traditional historical interpretations. Themes examined include: history and memory, the agriculture revolution, religion, connections across land and water, family and household, imperialism, and the Columbian Exchange.

Student learning goals

STUDENT LEARNING OBJECTIVES: This is an entry-level course geared toward entry-level students interested in history but should also appeal to upper-classmen/women and non-historians. The course will focus on IAS teaching goals to equip students with basic and more advanced academic and life-long learning skills including: 1. Polished and elegant written communication 2. Speaking and working in larger and smaller groups 3. Knowledge of diverse areas of history including facts and, key to my courses, the broader context of world history which students can apply to other courses and the world around them 4. Knowledge and understanding of historiography (defined as: “the principles, theory, and history of historical writing”) but also referring to the fact that historical interpretation has a history and changes through time and place 5. Understanding that history and historians utilize, interpret and analyze a blend of sources 6. Work independently and in groups. 7. TIP: Check your major or concentration for Student Learning Outcome goals and how they apply to your IAS portfolio work (see http://www.tacoma.washington.edu/ias/advising/ug/)

General method of instruction

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading

This course counts as a writing course and the assignments generally follow this rubric: 1) Two shorter writing projects (3-5 pages each) 2) Students must revise one of the reviews and resubmit it—noted improvement can increase the final grade on the assignment. A revision process is important in order for students to reflect on writing feedback. 3) I will provide feedback on writing limited to 2 or 3 areas for improvement (research shows this strategy to be most effective for improving student skills). 4) We will spend some class time dedicated to building writing skills needed for success in projects: critical analysis skills, knowledge of genre conventions of the project, research skills as needed, basic style issues. 5) Occasional, brief, ungraded writing assignments to promote critical thinking, fluency, and increased retention of subject matter. Examples of such writing may include responses to questions posed in class or summaries of key ideas from a discussion.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Elizabeth Sundermann
Date: 02/04/2013