Virginia Studies


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Course Information (Graduate Credit)

What to Expect in Virginia Studies

The Virginia Studies course includes seven modules. The first module focuses on historical thinking — the process of analyzing primary sources and creating historical arguments — and what it looks like in the classroom. The remaining six modules explore specific topics or periods in Virginia history through the lens of primary sources. Together, these modules will provide new information about Virginia history in general, as well as some new ways to think about teaching Virginia's past.

Participants enrolled for 3 graduate credits should proceed through the modules and assignments according to the schedule. All work must be completed by December 4, 2017.

Module Structure

  1. Hypothesis
    Each module begins with an object or image and a question about how the source informs our understanding of the past. You will be asked to make an educated guess about what the object is or what is happening in the image and then to think about its importance in Virginia history. You will encounter materials throughout the module on this topic and you will have another chance to answer the question at the end.
  2. Resources
    Once you have submitted your hypothesis, you will explore the Resources Section — a collection of images, objects, and texts connected with the main source. You will examine each item and read the accompanying text, learning more about the main primary source and its connection to Virginia history.
  3. Scholarly Article
    Following the resource drawer, you will read a scholarly article that provides a deeper understanding of each period of Virginia's history.
  4. Connections Essay
    After exploring the Resources Section, you will read the Connections essay. The essay expands on the ideas presented in the module and helps contextualize the main object and its role in Virginia history.
  5. Rethink
    Following the Connections essay, you will enter your revised hypothesis about the primary source and its role in Virginia history.
  6. Classroom Connections
    To conclude each module, you will answer a final question about how to use what you have learned in the classroom.

You are the detective piecing together evidence as you revisit and refine your original hypothesis. At the end of each module — and the course as a whole — you'll have new strategies for understanding and teaching about Virginia's past!

Course Project

As you work through the modules, you will select an everyday object or image with interesting, perhaps unexpected, historical significance. You will then perform the background research necessary to reveal that story and create a mini-module designed to introduce the source and its connection to Virginia history with text, images, and a concluding essay. The project is broken down into steps to guide you through the process, and you'll receive help and feedback from the instructor along the way.