Best Practices for American Religious Historians


I teach classes in American Religious History.  Has anyone developed an online version, and willing to share syllabi and experiences?


Jon Pahl

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Comment by Kirby Francis on March 20, 2013 at 11:35am

Welcome Jon!  It's great to have you.

I've worked with our faculty to develop several different Church History offerings.  The point of departure for us is always to establish course objectives.  We write these as clauses that complete the sentence, "Upon successful complete of this course, students will..."  From there, we choose verbs for the objectives that map to Bloom's taxonomy of learning.  For example, it is common in survey history courses to be wanting students to become acquainted with the names, places, dates, and locations of significance in Church History.  That objective might read:

1) Identify and describe the key persons, places, movements and doctrines of significance to the Christian church from Pentecost to the early 16th C. reformers.

Keep in mind that the verbs you choose on these objectives should map to your assignments. If you want them to identify and describe, then the questions on a mid-term or final should be geared that way (or at least the testing format - ie. multiple choice vs. essay).

The other cursory comment I would make is that you should be aware of the "unwritten" objectives that are part of your course, but not often stated.  For example, are you asking students to write a term paper?  Then you should have an objective that states students will strengthen their writing technique and ability to communicate in a scholarly context.  Are you going to be talking about historiography?  Let students know that their ability to critically evaluate opposing views of historical facts will be developed.

I hope that's helpful.

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