The post mortem…

This semester was certainly an adventure in teaching and learning.  And the excitement of final exams brought out even more twists and turns, ranging from the one student who got confused and tried to submit his exam for Wednesday’s class on Monday (thinking that Monday’s exam was due on Wednesday), to the student who thought Wednesday’s exam was due on Thursday, to the student who contacted me Tuesday evening to look over a rough draft of her exam (which was due on Monday).  Apparently stating the exam due date and time in bold on the course syllabus, on the first line of the exam, and at the end of the exam directions (and announcing it in class every day the last week of class) wasn’t enough of a notice.

Anyway…as promised, here’s the recap from the Bonus Questions:

For HST 2202, the students were asked two questions, both of which referred to material covered earlier in the semester:

1)      What was the name of the elephant in the Coney Island documentary?

8 of 42 (19%) correctly identified Topsy

An additional 5 of 42 (12%) received partial credit for knowing how Topsy died (electrocution), even if they couldn’t remember the elephant’s name

2)      What did Charles Shaughnessy talk about in the immigration lecture?

17 of 42 (41%) received full or partial credit for knowing what he talked about

For HST 3303, students were asked to identify historic sites that had been discussed in class.

Identified historic places included Philadelphia (16), Saratoga (15), Boston (11), Valley Forge (10), Lexington (8), Concord (8), Charleston (7), Newtown (5), Old North Bridge (5), Williamsburg (4), Morristown (3), Bunker Hill (3), Paul Revere Marker (3), West Point (2), Fort Niagara (2), Ticonderoga (2), Trenton (2), New York City (2), Mount Vernon (1), Newburgh (1), Lake Champlain (1), Fort Pitt (1), Yorktown (1), Quebec (1), Fort Detroit (1), Monmouth (1), Princeton (1), Hopewell Furnace (1), Oriskany (1).  Students also listed (but did not receive credit for) Gettysburg (2), Midway (1), and Washington, D.C. (1).  One student even provided elaboration for Morristown:  “That place with the houses where you can’t climb on the ‘houses’/huts where soldiers lived” (look at the photo at the top of this blog to see which houses she referred to).  Of course, the above grouping was broad; any property listed in Philadelphia was grouped as “Philadelphia,” and “Saratoga” included “marker where Benedict Arnold was captured (his name was not on it)”…and yes, I know he wasn’t captured at Saratoga, although the Boot Monument is there.

For HST 4401, students could list up to ten places visited in the video The Pennsylvania Road Show viewed in class (descriptions were acceptable; for those who listed more than ten, I only counted the first ten on the list).

And now, what you’ve been waiting for (drum roll, please):  some student interpretations of the past from the final exams.  Again, these were all take-home exams…and the original spelling, grammar, and syntax have been maintained.

From HST 2202 (United States History Since 1877):

Rock and Roll was the bastard mulatto child of a heterogeneous American culture.

Kennedy was Johnson’s successor in office.  Johnson had already set a platform for success before Kennedy got into office.  The continuation was successful by Kennedy due to Johnson’s ground work.

President Kennedy went to Berlin to give a speech about foreign policy.  During the speech, President Kennedy ended up referring himself to a jelly doughnut.  (Point of pride:  At least someone was paying attention to the lecture)

Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate and also from Arab descent.  He was recognized after the September 11th terror attacks.

Ralph Nader:  Was a senator during the times of September, 11th 2001, who was an American but he had Arab heredity.  This was a time when people attacked all Arabs and Muslims and some other religions because of the attacks on the World Trade Centers that killed so many Americans people thought that every Arab and Muslim was the same even if they were born in America.

The 25th Amendment allowed for a Vice President to be inacted after a resignation or death of the current president.  The new president can appoint a Vice President afterwards.

Lyndon Johnson both started and ended the Space Race.

The Black Panthers was another name for the Nation of Islam, which was founded in 1931 and led by Elijah Muhammad.  They emphasized identifying with their African roots and were against integration.  They were for racial separatism, saying that integration would destroy the blacks along with the whites.  The Black Panthers were also self-help, basically saying that God helps those that help themselves.  They also banned behaviors that reinforced racial stereotypes.

Black Panthers:  An organization that represents black power and prevented police harassment.  The black panthers gave a positive influence in the Civil Rights movement.

The enemies list was conjured up by President Nixon.  He felt that anyone from a movie star to a member of congress hated him.  Thus he saught to steer clear of an involvement with them.

Enemies list:  The enemies list was all a part of Nixon’s involvement in the Watergate Scandal.  This was simply a list of people that Nixon to me was afraid of or did not trust.  These were people he thought could bring his skeletons out the closet and after looking at his list it seems as if this man was scared of anyone with a little close to no power.  An example would be Bill Cosby being on this list, like I have no clue what he would do with his famous stripped sweaters on.  This list was full of actors, writers, dean of admissions for many big universities and of course politicians.

The enemies list was part of the Watergate Scandal that listed everyone who Nixon felt was a threat to himself.  The list contained politicians, celebrities, and other people who Nixon felt would hinder his chances of re-election.  Because of Nixon’s nature, he had offended many people over his political career that he felt would hurt him later which is why he felt that they were a threat.  On this list were famous people like Barbra Streisand (“Send in the Clowns?” Nixon must have felt this was directed at him) and Jane Fonda (okay, we probably could understand Jane).

From HST 3303 (History of the American Revolution):

Newburgh Conspiracy:  Occurred in 1783 within the Continental Army as a response to not getting paid correctly.  Many soldiers were considering mutiny; however, George Washington had put a stop to it by talking to them and making the soldiers realize that he was a man just like them.

The Treaty of Defensive and Conditional Alliance was an alliance between France and America that recognized American independence.  It granted America a maintained sovereignty and France agreed to give up Canada.  It also declared neither country can sign treaties without consulting with each other.

From HST 4401 (History of Pennsylvania):

Pennsylvania Line Mutiny:  Soldiers of the Pennsylvania militia left their camps in protest of bad weather conditions and no warm clothes or shoes to wear.

Matthew Quay:  former Governor of Pennsylvania who also tried to reform the state system (never a governor, was one of the people whose actions led to a need to reform the state government)

At the end of the 19th century Pennsylvania’s industry was beginning to be on a rise.  There were jobs in the coal mines and jobs in the iron industry and in many other areas.  This was an incising draw for people from the “old world” because they could come and work and have more freedoms in the new land than they would have at their former locations.

Homestead Strike:  an industrial strike by steel workers against an agency, it happened in 1892.  It resulted in unionizing the workers.  (oh, yes—every strike leads to the formation of a labor union)

Henry Clay Frick was an industrialist and also the chairman of Carnegie Steel Company.  One thing he was famous for was the construction the Pennsylvania Railroad and the Reading Company.

Final tally for the semester (including final exams):  6 more stickers added to the board, a marked decrease from Fall 2011 (but still more than I would like).  Someday, students will realize (a) that they need to do their own work; and (b) I’m not joking when I tell them the first day that I will file academic dishonesty charges if they violate university policy.

This week’s photo…the famous Boot Monument at Saratoga National Historical Park.

Benedict Arnold–the hero of Saratoga–wasn’t captured here, but he was wounded at this location.


About Karen

History Professor. Baseball fan. Author of two books, one of which I force my students to buy and read. You want me on your Trivial Pursuit team.
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1 Response to The post mortem…

  1. Your posts always increase my self-esteem, and are especially encouraging while I am attempting to write papers. I can’t believe I was always so worried about sounding/looking (I don’t really dare say what I want) unintelligent.

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