2009 Public History Field School - Course Requirements and Grading Policy

Attendance: with ten course sessions spread over three months, it is critically important that students attend each scheduled class. Attendance is required at all sessions. If extenuating and/or emergency circumstances arise, unavoidable absence can only be approved by me prior to class. Attendance is absolutely mandatory for the final session.

Class participation and contribution to group discussion (20%): class participation is another essential component of this course. Participating in group discussions and collaborative lab work means that you should contribute ideas, insights, questions, experience with and knowledge of class topics that help to clarify and advance the subject under discussion. It also means that you should come to class prepared for discussion, and have a thorough understanding of any assigned readings or reviews. While the quality is more important than the quantity, the ideal is frequent, high quality participation.

In Class Writing Assignments (20%): Several in class writing assignments will be held to ensure that the background readings have been completed. These will be unannounced, so the best way to prepare is to – surprise! –keep up with the reading assignments.

Inventory & Evaluation assignment (20%): Once we split the class into smaller work groups, each group will be asked to review and evaluate interpretive products now in place at Fort Vancouver NHS and the Reserve – products such as museum exhibits, wayside exhibit panels, brochures and publications, websites, and others known collectively as “interpretive media.” Knowing what is currently available to the public is an important step in finding a niche for your group exhibit project. Groups will give a 10-minute PowerPoint presentation to the class that 1) provides an overview of existing media, and 2) makes recommendations as to how exhibitry could help fill any gaps, AND suggests possible overall theme(s) for a class exhibit that could do so.

In addition, groups will provide (as hard copies and as electronic documents) an outline of their presentation, a one-page summary of their evaluation and an inventory of the media they reviewed. These will include:

  • Reserve’s wayside exhibits
  • Fort Vancouver’s publications
  • Official websites of Fort Vancouver & the Reserve
  • Non-NPS websites (Wiki, etc.)

Student resources:

Group Presentation: (20%): Each student will participate in a final group presentation to the NPS management team at the park. Utilizing MS PowerPoint (and appropriate media, including text, images, and/or objects), students should be able to clearly and concisely describe their project, being sure to emphasize 1) how it will fill existing gaps in site interpretation, 2) how it will appeal to the public and increase understanding of the site’s history, and 2) how it will compliment NPS, Reserve, and park management goals.

Group Exhibit Project (20%): Following the group presentation, groups will be expected to incorporate comments and suggestions and provide a final exhibit project, including outline, abstract, text, images, graphics, as well as text and images for a web-component. This project will be submitted electronically.

NOTE: Further instruction on the various group assignments will be forthcoming.


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Last updated: February 28, 2015

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