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Another FaCTS Mellon Project

Teaching History as Mystery: Students as Detectives

by Dr. Steven J. Salm

This project revises a traditional history course, HIST 1600: Colonialism and Conquest in the Modern World, into one that enhances critical thinking skills and promotes self-authorship by teaching the course backwards — from the end to the beginning. Beginning with current events, students will play the role of detective, searching for clues in the past to determine why things happened in the present. By investigating the past and playing a role in determining how that past unfolds (i.e., uncovering different perspectives on the past), students will move away from authority dependence and become engaged learners who are active in generating the content evolution of the course throughout the semester. The overriding goal is for students to recognize the historical vibrancy and diversity of global cultures and explore ways in which the many different perspectives of historical scholarship shape our understanding of contemporary economic, political, and social issues.

Start date: Thursday, April 28, 2011
Finish date: Saturday, April 28, 2012