I make extensive use of the Moodle Gradebook: this gives you the ability to check your course standing at any time, including your attendance.  I’m happy to discuss your grade with you during my office hours.  Please just take the time to calculate your current standing using the grade allocation outlined below first.  While the individual grades and comments on Moodle reflect my evaluation of your course performance to date, you cannot rely on Moodle’s calculation of your course average.

Grade Components:

Professionalism & Participation (20%):


Your active participation in class activities and discussion are crucial to the success of the course.  You are expected to come to class fully prepared to discuss the day’s texts; this includes bringing copies of your reading assignments so that you can support your ideas with specific examples, your note responding to the posted “questions to consider”, and your observations and additional questions about the material.  You will be graded on the quality of your contributions to our class discussions.  Simply attending class without any further involvement in our discussions will result in a participation grade of “C” or “Satisfactory.”

You will be given the chance to evaluate your participation and make a case for what participation grade you deserve several times during the semester.  This is a chance for you to reflect on your involvement in the class, and to let me know how you feel you are doing.  I take your personal assessment very seriously.

Classroom exercises will include discussion, primary source analysis, and quizzes. You will take a Map Quiz at the beginning of class on Tuesday, January 30.  We will also watch three movies together outside of class, dates to be finalized during the first week of the semester.

Weekly Blog Posts

Students will use our course blog to share discussion questions about course readings & films, as well as report on their research projects.  These must be posted by the due date, or they are less relevant for our discussions.

Wikipedia Exercises

You’ll be graded on keeping up with Wikipedia training and research assignments.

Formal Blog Posts (Three posts, 10% total)

Class Notes Blog Post

Class notes blog posts serve as a place for you all to synthesize the work of our intellectual community. You are all authors building a common understanding of our class work.

Brazilian History & Culture Blog Post

Thoughtful analysis of a recent (past month) article about Brazilian history or culture, which places the topic in historical perspective.  You’ll also do an informal, 3-4 minute presentation about your post.

Research Project Blog Post

Before class on Tuesday, February 13, write 4-5 well-developed paragraphs describing your potential research project topic and listing your preliminary sources.  See syllabus for full prompt.

Primary Source Analysis: Early Brazil (10% total)

For this project, your small group will improve the Wikipedia page for your assigned primary source.   You’ll compliment this with a individual short paper (750-1000 words) that will allow you to demonstrate your skills as a historian analyzing an early European depiction of Brazil, and arguing how you think this text should be understood in light of modern historians’ research.

Critical Book Review (Class Presentation & Scholarly Book Wikipedia Entry) (15% total)

Critical book reviews encapsulate thoughtful presentations of the author’s work: the book’s purpose, methodology, sources employed, argument made, and contributions to the historiography.   You’ll share your critical analysis in an oral presentation and Wikipedia entry.

Wikipedia Entry (15%)

For this project, you’ll identify a missing/overlooked Brazilian history topic on Wikipedia that merits further coverage to expand the depth and breadth of articles on Wikipedia, and counter its systemic biases.  You must pick a topic related to class themes, and that has sufficient resources available to demonstrate your skills of research and writing.

Research Project (30% total)

This semester-long project should demonstrate your mastery of several student learning goals set by the Department of History: developing a historical question, researching primary and secondary sources using the College of Wooster library system and online databases, creating a compelling historical narrative, and critically analyzing primary and secondary sources.  It will also allow you to show your appreciation of the diversities of cultures and historical experiences in Brazil.  Your final project will be a 4-6 minute iMovie.

Grading Standards:

I follow the College of Wooster guidelines for grading.  “A” grades reflect excellent work, “B” grades very good work, “C” grades adequate work, and “D” minimal work.  Grades of “F” are reserved for work that is unsatisfactory in its content, relationship to the assignment, and/or degree of effort.  Plagiarism will always result in a failing grade.

Technology assignments will be graded according to several criteria including: content (adherence to the assignment, mastery of course materials and quality of thought), form (including aesthetics/appearance) and mastery of the technology.