Teaching Historical Thinking: Using the Tuning Project to Assess Reacting to the Past Games

Sunday, January 8, 2017: 2:30 PM
Room 501 (Colorado Convention Center)
Susan E. Myers-Shirk, Middle Tennessee State University
The purpose of my research is to examine the effectiveness of Reacting to the Past (RTTP) games in relation to the core competencies and learning outcomes as defined in the American Historical Association's Tuning Project. To understand that relationship, I offer a close reading of self-reflective essays that I assign at the end of game play. For the self-reflective essay, I ask students to think historically, explaining who won and why and explaining the historical context of the game, including the key terms they were to have learned during game play. I then ask them to evaluate their own game play and what they learned. I analyze student responses using a rubric built around the core competencies and learning outcomes that form the discipline core in the AHA Tuning Project. In my classes I use Red Clay, 1835, played by US history survey students and Greenwich Village, 1913, played by both upper division history majors and US history survey students. I am especially interested in examining the differences between history majors and survey students. I hope this study will provide a basis for an ongoing qualitative analysis of Reacting to the Past games in my department and more broadly at the university level, as we commence a university-wide project aimed at fostering high-impact pedagogies, beyond-the-classroom learning, and integrative thinking. Questions for my breakout session include: What are the strengths and weaknesses of using a self-reflective essay for assessment? What other ways can we measure the effectiveness of RTTP games? How does RTTP help history majors achieve their goals (i.e. what we want our majors to know and be able to do)? How does RTTP fit into more global plans for assessment?
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