Course Exam—GLST/HIST 367

HIST 367 / GLST 367 (The Second World War) is a three-credit history course that is intended to provide a better understanding of the events of the war years, focussing on the decade of 1937 to 1947. This course will focus on several key wartime events, as well as on the issues and controversies that often still surround them and continue to absorb modern-day historians because of their political, social, moral and ethical implications and consequences.

Students should be aware that this is a cross-listed course, meaning that it is listed under two different disciplines, both Global Studies (GLST) and History (HIST). HIST 367 may not be taken for credit if you have already obtained credit for GLST 367. There are no prerequisites for HIST 367 / GLST 367, though HIST 202 (Western Thought and Culture II: Since the Reformation) and HIST 216 (Europe, 1618-1939: From the Thirty Years’ War to the Age of Dictators) are strongly recommended.

HIST/GLST 367 is made up of twelve units, three assignments weighing twenty-five, ten, and thirty percent respectively, and a final exam worth thirty-five percent. The twelve units within this course cover several interesting topics, such as the industrial revolution, ideologies, urbanization, imperialism, global economy, reforms, the First World War, and the Russian Revolution. To receive credit for this course, students must obtain at least fifty percent on the final exam and achieve an overall course composite grade of at least fifty percent. The final exam for this course must be taken online with an Athabasca University approved invigilation centre.

Melanie Cook, a tutor for HIST 367, has worked with Athabasca University as an instructor since January of 2005. She states, “My academic background includes a B.A. degree in Psychology and then a specialized B.A. Honors degree in History from the University of Alberta.  I went on to complete my M.A. at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario.  In my history degrees I studied and researched medieval, early modern, and English history, but specifically focused on women’s and gender history within these timeframes and areas.  Among the courses I took, I studied Anglo-Saxon history as well as medieval history and this gives me a basis for teaching in the Viking History course.  At Queen’s University, as part of our graduate training, I was a teaching assistant in Medieval history, Holocaust history, and Women’s Studies.”

She continues, “With AU, I provide instructional support for students in Roman History (CLAS-HIST-HUMN 312), the History of Early Christianity (HIST-HUMN-RELS 313), History of WWII (HIST 367), History of Science (HIST 404), and occasionally provide alternative coverage in Viking History (HIST 383).  I am also a Tutor in Introduction to Women’s Studies (WGST 266), and Violence Against Women (WGST422).”

When asked to describe HIST 367 to students, Melanie states “HIST 367 / GLST 367 is a third-year course on WWII that is comprehensive in the breadth of information covered from all theatres of this global 20th century war. Students will learn about the Western theatres that operated throughout the European continent, spanning the Western and Eastern Fronts as well as south in to North Africa, and the Asian and Pacific theatres led by Japan in conflict with Allied countries. This course not only introduces students to the events of WWII but also invites students, through readings and videos from WWII Historians’ research, to critically evaluate causes and effects of political policies, domestic and global economics, military strategies, cultural identities and borders, as well as of the growth of global expansion and Industrialization for the purpose of nation building. Students will come away from this course with a broader and deeper understanding of how this widespread conflict changed the course of 20th century global geo-politics and societies and continues to influence the world in the 21st century.”

As for the structure of the course, she states that “There are 14 units for this course. Each unit requires students to complete assigned readings and accompanying thought/study questions. Each unit also requires students to complete a quiz and a discussion assignment for a total of 14 quizzes, and 14 discussion submissions.”

“As students complete a unit’s readings, it is recommended that they also create notes for the timeline assignment, so they have a record of key figures and events that occurred throughout the developments in WWII. Once students have completed unit 14, they can revise their timeline assignment and submit it. Quizzes, discussions, and timeline assignments are designed to help students retain details from course readings to better understand the scope of WWII history.”

She continues, explaining “There are 2 written assignments. The first assignment is a short essay designed to have students think critically about causes of the Pacific War by specifically critiquing events of Pearl Harbour and subsequent theories around whether the U.S. and the U.K. governments had any foreknowledge of Japan’s military attack.”

“Assignment 2 is a research paper. Students can choose one research topic from 20 topic ideas. This assignment helps students engage with researching sources and show their understanding of an aspect of WWII from their researched material. Students are expected to show development of content and analysis that incorporates at least one primary source from WWII, relevant to their chosen topic, along with supporting secondary sources to help them present critical explanation and analysis about the historical context of their chosen topic. The written assignments are designed to help students build their conceptual comprehension and critical thinking skills in analyzing WWII history.”

She concludes, stating “The exam tests students’ cumulative course content knowledge so the assignments, study questions, and unit and course objectives are designed to help students build a good set of study notes and practice questions for writing the exam.”

When asked what type of work ethic students will have to have, Melanie explains that “Students in these individually paced courses each have their own learning styles and their own schedules, so one thing all students need to do is determine what type of study schedule works best for them on a daily and weekly basis. For example, scheduling in a block of time (student’s choice) each day for the course can then allow students to set aside time for reading, for study questions, for unit quizzes, for unit discussions, for the timeline, for research and writing, and for exam prep within each day’s block of time for the course. Steadily working at the course in this way and breaking down coursework into manageable tasks will help manage student stress and provide a reliable structure for students to work with and adapt as needed.”

Melanie recommends HIST/GLST 367 to “Students interested in: WWII and in History (Canadian, Britain and European, Japanese, US, World History), Global Studies, Cultural Studies, Interdisciplinary Studies, Political Science, Philosophy, Education.”

As for what she believes students will take away from this course, she explains “So far students have been finding their understanding of WWII becoming broader because the focus is not only on Europe and North America and the British Commonwealth and the USSR involvement in WWII but also the politics and militarization and Imperial vision of Japan and the Eastern theatre that develops from Japan’s interests. Students will also come away with a deeper understanding of global culture’s nation building and an understanding of the rise of ‘nationalism’ and global geo-politics of the 20th century, as well as an understanding of the subsequent consequences of these into the 21st century.”

Every course has content that some students may find more difficult to learn than others. As for HIST/GLST 367, Melanie believes that “Building critical thinking skills from a History discipline practice, in terms of blending an understanding of historical research and theory with primary sources that come from the historical events of WWII, can be challenging for students who are not used to reading primary sources and critically evaluating these as evidence. However, primary evidence from WWII is fascinating for students because it is so illustrative and often motivates them to learn more about that time in history.”

She continues, “There is a lot of information in the course to take in, from readings and videos and assignment work, so this means students will have to work out a regular course-work schedule into their existing schedules.”

Whether HIST 367/GLST 367 is a degree or program requirement of yours, or if the topics that were discussed above are of interest to you, this course will have you learning interesting material surrounding the topic of the Second World War.

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