Learning Goals

The Palace of Versailles

The Palace of Versailles

What will I learn?
In your study of France in the Age of Absolutism from 1610 to 1780, you will not only learn a great deal about the people and ideas of this period, you will also develop your

  1. historical thinking about claims and evidence,
  2. ability to read, write, and pursue research, and
  3. conceptual understanding and application of key terms.

To realize these promises, you must take responsibility for your own learning and participate as an active learner. In other words, you must be willing

  • TO READ CLOSELY, noting passages that seem significant to you and the themes of the course, evaluating the historical evidence of absolutism.
    Class readings are listed under the course schedule. Some draw from books available in the Campus Bookstore, others are electronic readings available on BlackBoard. I can also recommend readings for your independent research.
  • TO PREPARE TO ENGAGE in discussion, in some instances, leading the class.
  • TO DEVOTE YOURSELF TO THE WRITING PROCESS in formal essays, informal writing, and literature reviews, all of which require thought and revision, some of which require the proper use of direct evidence and form of citation.
    All written work is subject to the Honor Code and must include the full pledge with your signature. Any violations to the Honor Code will be reported to the Honor Council.
  • TO PURSUE INDEPENDENT, LIBRARY RESEARCH, which may be as simple as to “look something up” or as complex as to research a sub-topic of the course.
    This semester, you will have the opportunity to conduct research on a topic drawn from a list of suggestions.

How can I best take charge of my learning?

  • By being PROACTIVE, taking charge of the resources available to you.
    These resources include ME(!) asking questions in class, visiting me during my office hours, Mondays 3 to 4 pm, and Thursdays 9 to 10:30 am in Ryland 218.
    They include handouts and reading material on BLACKBOARD and required texts available in the CAMPUS BOOKSTORE obtaining what you need well in advance.
    They include THE LIBRARY where you can schedule time to read, write and reflect outside of class (10-12 hours per week), and
    OTHER VENUES, seeking help well in advance of deadlines from the Writing Center, the Academic Skills Center, and the Speech Center.
  • By being REFLECTIVE and SELF-CRITICAL about your learning.
    This semester, I want to help you think about and understand your own learning so that you can better take charge of that learning. I will provide guided instruction on
    1) how you can better reflect critically on what we have read,
    2) how you can effectively examine, with the mind of an historian, the questions put before us, and
    3) how best to evaluate the arguments and interpretations of historians, your classmates’ and your own work.
    With each independent task, you will also develop reflexive skills of self-assessment to determine what needs to be done to tackle a given task and what obstacles get in the way of successfully completing it.
    By the end of the semester, you will be able to assess your own work and make an argument (based on evidence) about where you are in your own learning.