Connecting the Curricular Dots: Designing the World History Survey with Gen Ed in Mind

Saturday, January 5, 2019: 10:50 AM
Williford C (Hilton Chicago)
Pete Burkholder, Fairleigh Dickinson University

At first glance, the world history survey is perhaps the most daunting course to teach, given the tremendous timespans and breadth of material underlying it. But such anxiety attaches only if one takes a “coverage” approach to world history. This presentation proposes that historically transcendent learning skills can frame world history curricula, but only if consciously “backward designed” into courses from the outset. The latter method represents an opportunity more than an obstacle, but the key steps to achieving more ambitious learning goals can be elusive. Moreover, such an approach naturally aligns with general education requirements: rather than being a vehicle for content delivery, a world history course can reinforce such learning goals as critical thinking, communication, textual analysis and metacognition. A framework around which to construct those goals, as well as teaching and assessment methods to reach them, thus constitute the focus of this presentation.