Building a Reflective Reader

Grant recipient: Luke Clossey, Department of History

Project team: Jovana Andelkovic, Aali Mirjat, and Esther Souman, research assistants

Timeframe: September 2018 to January 2020

Funding: $6000

Courses addressed:

  • HIST 130 Fundamentals of World History
  • HIST 468W Problems in the History of Religion
  • HIST 814 Historical Methods

Description: I want to find out what makes a good, in pedagogical terms, source. How does the choice of sources affect student learning? Courses are often developed under non-ideal circumstances, and sometimes not much thought is put into source selection. I include sources I think are "good," and when repeating a course remove sources students think are "bad" (i.e. long), but there is little reflection (neither by the instructor nor by the students) on what "good" and "bad" mean in terms of pedagogy.

Questions addressed:

  • By what criteria do students determine if a source enhances engagement and learning?
  • How do students use sources?
  • Are the sources collected based on the previous two questions effective for student engagement and learning?
  • What do students learn from the experience of helping develop criteria for good sources and then searching for them?

Dissemination: I will advertise the existence of the source collection, and could do a presentation in the department if the student feedback seemed more broadly applicable. The source collection itself would be made available and would potentially find application in similar courses. Any findings about the criteria for selecting sources, or about how students use sources, could be useful to colleagues in any academic area.

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