Assignments & Grade Distribution (see below for further
A. Course Project 70 %
1 Select Site (first two weeks of class) 0 %
** no late registrants after September 3rd **
2 Landscape Essay (3-5 pages) 5 %
Research documents & biblio 5 %
3 Timeline Essay (3-5 pages) 10 %
research documents & biblio 5 %
4 People & Place Essay (3-5 pages) 10 %
Grade includes documents & biblio
5 Interpretive Essay (10 pages) 10 %
Grade includes documents & biblio
6 FINAL ESSAY (10-15 pages) 25 %
Grade includes documents & biblio
B. Other Course Requirements 30 %
7 Research Journal (recommended)
8 Attendance/Participation 15 % (includes in-class presentations)
9 Quizzes/Worksheets/Questions 15 % (cumulative total)
** Extra Credit Possible 10 %
10 Oral Histories – extra credit 10 % (September 21 – November
Attendance of all course meetings is mandatory. The instructor will
collect attendance data for each class period and will collect that
information in a ledger. This information will be used in calculating
the final grade; points may be added (for perfect attendance) or subtracted,
sometimes significantly (for poor attendance relative to the class average),
from the final grade.
Student participation is also noted by the instructor in the daily log
of the course. In order to earn participation points, students may also
engage the instructor in an ongoing conversation by sending email (prior
to class), commenting on posts at the course blog, or submitting handwritten
comments (at the end of a class period in which they attended, and written
on a sheet of notebook paper that includes the student’s name).
If these thoughts, questions, and/or digressions reflect engagement
in course readings or materials for that class period, those written
comments will count toward the participation grade. Student participations
points are evaluated on a weighted curve.
The Euclid Corridor and its landscapes, especially the Cleveland Cultural
Gardens, provide a text as rich any other you will read this semester.
And, over the course of the semester students will develop an interpretive
history project that explores the history of the corridor.
Completing the project in this course is a very challenging
task. It demands that students complete a variety of straightforward
tasks and assignments in a timely and systematic fashion. In order to
facilitate the development of the project—and introduce students
to the research and critical-thinking process, the course is designed
to lead students through those steps in a simple and methodical fashion.
Also, student work is cumulative over the course of the semester. As
a result, students will have compiled (and received instructor review
of) a body of research and writing for their final project that generally
results in a very high-quality piece of work.
Given the nature of the project, it is critical that
students complete each step/assignment along the way in a complete and
timely fashion. The greatest barrier to successful completion of this
course (and the course project (and student achievement in terms of
grading)) is procrastination and/or falling behind the course schedule.
The project is divided into several phases and ten parts,
each with a corresponding due date. While this may seem overwhelming
at first, bear in mind that the project is cumulative. You will find
that, if you give proper attention to each assignment, to thorough step-by-step
research, and writing your papers, the final essay will virtually “write
Project Overview & Course Activities
1. Select a Site
2. Landscape Essay
Develop Bibliography and Research Collection using Zotero (which allows
us to share our work)
3. Timeline Essay; Source Collection
Develop Research Documents: Photographs, Census, Sanborn Maps
4. People & Place Essay
5. Interpretive Essay: Artifacts, Layers, and Traces put Together
6. Final Essay: Landscape as History
7. Research Journal (recommended)
8. Attendance & Participation, which encourages “active learning”
9. Quizzes/Worksheets/Questions encourage both “active learning”
and mastering research techniques
10. Oral History (extra credit)
1. Topic Selection (no credit)
The first step in the project is site assignment/topic selection. By
September 12, the third Monday of the semester, students must send the
instructor an email message stating your site preference; the site is
not “selected” until a confirmation email has been received.
The instructor will provide a list of topics (in class)
from which students can choose, or the instructor can assign the project.
In some cases, students may develop a project idea in collaboration
with the instructor; if students want to define their own topic (in
collaboration with the instructor), they must initiate that conversation
themselves and within the first week of the course. Keep in mind that
the instructor will assign or help you to develop projects that can
be reasonably completed over the course of the semester, without additional
or heroic efforts. However it is important to note that if students
reject instructor suggestions and choose to complete projects not recommended
by the instructor, such projects will be held to the same course requirements,
may require significant additional work, and may well receive less instructor
support. Remember that the instructor will make topic recommendations
based on years of experience working with students and in developing
the course research materials. Whatever course you choose, all course
projects must be within the framework of the Euclid Corridor and/or
2. Landscape Essay & Accompanying Sources
Once you have selected a site/topic, describe the landscape surrounding
the site or associated with the topic. Go to the site. Take an inventory.
What is there? What isn’t? How do people use the site? What sorts
of people use it? And, what intrigues you? Keep course readings in mind
as you visit the site. Then prepare a 3-page descriptive essay in which
you describe your sites and their surrounding urban landscapes. To repeat,
be sure to include observations on the physical appearance of your sites
and their surroundings as well as your thoughts on the people who frequent
the area and how these places might have evolved through time. As you
think about how the site evolved over time, you may (but are not required
to) consult historical photos or maps if you wish to determine what
the site looked like previously. In preparing the essay, hypothesize
about its “character” and history. Be creative. Use ideas
taken from course readings. This is a time for noting your observations.
The very best essays “read” landscape to reach conclusions
and make a cohesive argument—right or wrong—about the site.
You will visit your site often during the semester, so this is a critical
step in the process.
Course Bibliography: Students will compile research
notes (see image/source collective below, census and Sanborn maps below)
using a free on-line bibliographic tool: ZOTERO. In addition, you will
prepare a bibliography of relevant books, articles, Web sites, and other
sources that you plan to consult in the completion of the project. How
do you do this? Locate scholarly books and articles that provide general
or comparative context for one or more course topics that correspond
to the changes observed at your sites. This list should be developed
in collaboration with the instructor. Prepare an annotated bibliography
on these sources. An annotated bibliography includes a brief description
(one word to several sentences) of how the source relates to your project.
We will use ZOTERO for creation of the bibliography and for note-taking
because it will allow us to collaborate with one another, create appropriate
bibliographic citations for our research essay, AND it allows us to
make our historical thinking/bibliographic process more transparent,
for easier grading and evaluation.
The first step is to develop a collection of images
and other multi-media source (an Image/Source Collection.) You will
collect and analyze at least 10 historical images/sound clips/media
clips/or other documents that you photocopy from the collections of
Cleveland State University, Cleveland Public Library, Western Reserve
Historical Society, and/or other libraries and archives. Analysis of
each image should consider in concise form (1 typed paragraph) the “who,
what, where, and when.” In other words, use any printed information
on the images as well as your own visual analysis to say as much as
you can about each image. These images will comprise another of the
primary sources for your exhibit.
3 Timeline Essay & Bibliography
In this assignment, you will trace the changes over time by comparing
the character of your site at several different points in time, as depicted
in twentieth-century atlases and photographs (as well as other source
materials), and in reference to the scholarly literature related to
your topic. The objective of this assignment is not to conduct an exhaustive
survey, but to give you a sense of change over time. It allows you to
focus your research energies over the remainder of the semester.
This assignment requires three essential activities:
a) reviewing your primary source materials; b) reviewing secondary articles;
c) using those sources as well as your Landscape Essay to write a 4-page
analytic essay in which you narrate change over time (or continuity)
and hypothesize about when and why changes occurred or consider why
they did not occur.
A. Continue to assemble images, maps, city directory pages, and any
other relevant primary materials pertaining to your chosen sites and
their surrounding vicinities.
B. Finally, prepare a 4-page analytical essay in which you “narrate”
a timeline of the changes in your sites and their surrounding urban
landscapes, drawing upon all relevant primary sources (in other words,
not including scholarly books and articles) in the source collection.
In writing your essay, consider some of the following
questions. Did your site change over time or not? How would you characterize
change? Was it gradual or did it seem to happen suddenly? Do the changes
within a time period seem related in any way? How about from one time
to another? Can you see any patterns to the changes? Do you have any
hunches about what caused specific changes? If there is great continuity,
how would you explain that sameness over time? Are their differences
between the physical site and its human construction? Making sense of
your site in this fashion will require that you read course materials
critically and creatively!
Bibliography: You will prepare a bibliography of relevant
books, articles, Web sites, and other sources that you plan to consult
in the completion of the project. How do you do this? Locate scholarly
books and articles that provide general or comparative context for one
or more course topics that correspond to the changes observed at your
sites. This list should be developed in collaboration with the instructor.
Prepare an annotated bibliography on these sources. An annotated bibliography
includes a brief description (one word to several sentences) of how
the source relates to your project.
Census Data & Sanborn Map Collection: Using online
and printed sources available online, through OhioLink, and at the CSU
Library, students will document their story using census data and fire
insurance maps, as well as city directories. Students will develop a
methodology appropriate to their essay. There is NO single approach
to these materials, but they will be used and they will be turned into
4 People and Place Essay
This is the “Lares”/”Penates” essay where you
explore the intersection of people and place at your site. This essay
need not be exhaustive, but it should focus on the relation between
people and place in one or two historical periods. Ask yourself: how
did people give structure to this place? How did this place shape the
lives of people living/working here? What does this intersection tell
us about a particular moment in time? Prepare a 4-page analytical essay
in which you draw upon the primary sources that you have collected (including
oral history and/or census data for the city and/or tract level) to
“narrate” and explore the relation between people and place.
Keep in mind to document the different sorts of people have used the
site at different points in time, as suggested by evidence from the
U.S. Census, City Plans, Sanborn Maps, City Directories, or Phone Books.
What different purposes do those people have for being there, and how
have those changed? In other words, how have people used the sites over
time? Who lives/lived or works/worked nearby? What roles do these places
seem to play for people?
5 Interpretive Essay
Prepare a 10-12 page analytical essay that places their sites into the
context of selected topics covered in the course, citing both primary
and secondary sources (and including interviews as appropriate). The
purpose of this essay is to give you an opportunity to combine all of
the research and writing you will have done during the semester and
relate just how it all fits together.
In this essay, you put together all the historical artifacts,
layers, and traces that you have discovered. Combine those primary sources
with your reading of secondary materials. Develop your evaluation of
the evidence into an interpretive essay, into historical analysis. What
do you see at your site in the context of course readings and additional
secondary research? How does it look differently, NOW? Walking around
your site, what clues can you find to past, current, and potential future
uses? What different kinds of traces can you find and to what period
of the site's history do they belong? Do they relate to one another
in any way? Which traces do you think are most important or interesting?
What do they reveal about the past? Why did they survive? Are they still
fulfilling some original purpose? Do they reveal anything about the
present and/or future?
The objective of this assignment is to give you an appreciation
for how past owners, functions, events, and ways of life have left traces
on your site and to give you some experience in "reading"
the site by learning to recognize those traces and work out the puzzles
they pose. Focus on what seems most significant or interesting to you.
Don't create a laundry list; you do not need to mention every trace
of the past you find.
6 Final Essay
This last assignment is an opportunity for students to bring together
what they have learned from the course, apply it to an understanding
of their site. In the process, students will have written an interpretive
essay about the region’s history, refracted through their site/topic.
The final essay is a 10-15 page historical essay that
is a revision of the “interpretive essay,” refining it according
to instructor comments and continued critical thinking and writing by
the student. Your essay should reflect on changes over time within the
site, their causes, and their significance. What has changed and what
has remained constant and why? How do all the things you have learned
and observed contribute to the sense of the place today? What may they
portend for the future? In other words, write an analytical history
of your site. Discuss its origins, uses, and its people. What changed
or did not change? In what ways has it been altered; how did people
make use of the past; how are they preparing for the future? What is
the principle story of your site; its ancillary stories? Every site
has many stories. Tell the story or stories that seems most significant
and/or interesting to you – and which reflects your ability to
read the landscape.
7 Research Journal/Project Binder
The instructor recommends that each student keep your research notes,
materials, essays, photocopies, photographs, thoughts, etc., in a binder.
For example, for many course reading assignments, the instructor will
provide, in advance (usually on the course website) a question or questions
for your consideration as you read. You should print these questions
out and record your answers (legibly) directly onto the handouts. Over
the course of the semester, you should compile these handouts. I strongly
encourage you to write down anything else that strikes you as important
as you read. In addition, you will keep notes from class (including
filing answers to quizzes and handouts.) The binder should include all
materials for the project (organized with essays appearing first, followed
by an appendix of supporting source materials) and should reflect revision
based on comments provided at each stage of the project. This will be
your research journal. I would recommend that you use a 1-1/2 - inch,
three-ring binder (widely available at bookstores, pharmacies, office
supply stores, and discount stores).
Students can demonstrate their course engagement to
the instructor by handing in their research notes (not copies of the
course readings) to the instructor at the end of the course.
8 Attendance & Participation
See above. This is critical to every aspect of the course.
The instructor will, from time-to-time, handout worksheets and/or reading
questions ahead of a particular reading. These should be completed and
may be collected by the instructor. The instructor will also, from time-to-time
ask you to view images, movies, or other materials in class. Often,
the instructor will ask you to engage in free-writing about these images/materials;
you should record your thoughts in your journal. Finally, if attendance
and/or participation lags during the semester, the instructor may assign
scheduled or pop quizzes. These will be incorporated into the final
grade. All of these materials should be include in our final reading
journal; for more on the reading journal, see above.
10 Extra Credit, Collect Oral Histories
Following our in-class oral history workshop, you will be allowed to
schedule and conduct 60 minute, tape-recorded interviews. You will do
this in consultation with the instructor. You will have approximately
two months to conduct these interviews (from September 19 to November
22). They will be conducted in a “story room” on the CSU
campus, with a trained facilitator present. The Department of History
will provide equipment and release forms for your interviews.
Contact your subjects and prepare to conduct a 60-minute
tape recorded interview with them. To schedule an interview, you must
first consult the interview schedule and select an available time. Then
you should contact me or Cindy Shairba (the History Department administrator)
by phone or email no later than 12:00 noon on the Thursday BEFORE the
week of your interview. DO NOT CONSIDER the interview time confirmed
until you have received an email or phone confirmation from me or from
Cindy Shairba (whomever you contacted.)
You must also prepare a list of questions in Word format
to send me via email by 5:00 PM on the Friday BEFORE the week of your
interview. On the appointed interview day, you must arrive at the oral
history interviewing center (Room G27 in the Digital Media suite on
the ground floor of the Communications building) 15 minutes before your
appointed interview time. You will work with the facilitator to set
up the room and prepare the interview script. Once your interview is
complete, you can expect the following to happen. By the Monday following
the interview, I will prepare a CD which you may collect in class. Using
the CDs, you will type full transcripts of each interview (in Microsoft
Word format). On the Monday following your receipt of the CD for each
interview, you will submit the following: 1) Completed transcript; 2)
Permission form. Your transcripts, which I will make available online,
will comprise one of the primary sources from which you and your classmates
will write essays. I will evaluate your interviews by looking at the
transcript, your list of questions, and my assessment of the quality
of your interview session as determined by a rubric I will distribute
to you ahead of the interview.