Virginia Studies


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Graduate Credit Syllabus

3 Graduate Credits

Teaching Assistant: Nate Sleeter

Instructor: Dr. Kelly Schrum

Center for History and New Media 4400 University Drive, MSN 1E7 Fairfax, VA 22030-4444

“Virginia Studies” is an online course designed for Virginia social studies teachers. In this course, teachers will explore Virginia’s past by examining everyday objects, images, and texts. Each of these primary sources will address a different period in Virginia history. There are no in-person class meetings; all course work is completed online through the course website.

Course Structure

The course is designed as a series of seven online modules. The first module focuses on historical thinking; the remaining six modules are centered on a primary source in history. In each module, you will complete activities that allow you to engage in the historical inquiry process and provide opportunities to think about classroom applications. At the end of each module you will read and respond to a scholarly article. As a final project for the course, you will develop your own Virginia studies module.

Course Reading

Forsythe, Harold S. “‘But My Friends Are Poor’: Ross Hamilton and Freedpeople's Politics in Mecklenburg County, Virginia, 1869-1901.” The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography 105, no. 4 (Autumn, 1997): 409-438.

Kirby, Jack Temple. “Virginia’s Environmental History: A Prospectus.” The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography 99, no. 4 (Oct., 1991): 449-488.

McDonnell, Michael A. and Woody Holton. “Patriot vs. Patriot: Social Conflict in Virginia and the Origins of the American Revolution.” Journal of American Studies 34, no. 2 (Aug., 2000): 231-256.

Murray, Paul T. “Who Is an Indian? Who Is a Negro? Virginia Indians in the World War II Draft.” The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography 95, no. 2, "The Takinge Upp of Powhatans Bones": Virginia Indians, 1585-1945 (April, 1987): 215-231.

Pratt, Robert. “A Promise Unfulfilled: School Desegregation in Richmond, Virginia, 1956-1986.” The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography 99, no. 4 (Oct., 1991): 415-448.

Stanwood, Owen. “Captives and Slaves: Indian Labor, Cultural Conversion, and the Plantation Revolution in Virginia.” The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography 114, no. 4 (2006): 434-46.

VanSledright, Bruce. “What does it mean to think historically and how do you teach it?” Social Education 68, (2004): 230-233.

Course Requirements

All students enrolled in Virginia Studies are expected to work through each module and complete all required assignments. The course will proceed through the modules according to the set schedule and all work must be completed by December 4, 2017. Assignments in each module include:

  1. Introduction: Write a hypothesis about the primary source's role in history.
  2. Resources Section: Explore other resources that reveal the story hidden behind each main primary source.
  3. Connections Essay: Read a short essay to learn more about the topic.
  4. Scholarly Article: Read a scholarly article to build a deeper understanding of the historical context.
  5. Rethink: Reflect on what you have learned and respond to the question posted.
  6. Classroom Connections: Reflect on classroom applications.
  7. Wrap-up: Read what other teachers have posted on the topic and respond.

Final Project:
Design a module exploring the hidden history of an everyday primary source related to Virginia’s past. Working in conjunction with the instructor, each participant will select a source, conduct background research into the historical context, write descriptive text, and select images for the final module. Participants will receive feedback from the instructor as they assemble the individual pieces of the final project. Due dates are listed below.

Course Schedule

Date Assignment
September 13 Course Begins
September 25 Complete Module 1 (Historical Thinking Skills)
October 4 Submit proposed final project primary source to the instructor
October 4 Complete Module 2 (Virginia Geography)
October 16 Submit list of resources section items and annotated bibliography
October 16 Complete Module 3 (Native Peoples)
October 25 Complete Module 4 (Colonial Virginia)
November 6 Complete Module 5 (Revolution and New Nation)
November 6 Submit draft narrative text for resources section items
November 15 Complete Module 6 (Civil War Era)
November 15 Submit draft connections essay
December 4 Complete Module 7 (20th-Century Virginia)
December 4 Submit all final project materials

Graduate Credit