Extra Credit: Jazz Ambassadors of the US Army Field Band

You can see more details here

Pittsburg State University is proud to be a host for a concert by “America’s Big Band” the United States Army Jazz Ambassadors from Washington D. C. This group has as their primary mission touring both the U.S. and overseas. They are an incredible professional big band on a par with such groups as the Count Basie Orchestra and the old Tonight Show Band with Doc Severinson.

The Jazz Ambassadors-America’s Big Band is the official touring big band of the United States Army. This 19-member ensemble, formed in 1969, has received great acclaim both at home and abroad performing America’s original art form, jazz. Concerts by the Jazz Ambassadors are designed to entertain all types of audiences. Custom compositions and arrangements highlight the group’s creative talent and gifted soloists. Their diverse repertoire includes big band swing, bebop, Latin, contemporary jazz, standards, popular tunes, Dixieland, vocals, and patriotic selections.

The concert is Friday, March 4th at 7:30 p.m. at Memorial Auditorium, 503 N. Pine and opens with the PSU Jazz 1 Ensemble. Although the concert is free tickets are required and available at the PSU ticket office, the Morning Sun, and Memorial Auditorium. The Auditorium seats about 1600 and over 900 balcony seats are already claimed. All seats are general admission with the ticket office having many floor seats still available.

Get them while they last.

Final Exam (Spring 2010)

Final Exam Essays Due at Time of In-Class Final

(9am: 5/12, 9am ; 2pm: 5/14, 2pm)

15% of the course grade

The take-home portion of the test will consist of two essays, equal in value, which you will choose from the following list:

  1. Compare and contrast either the American Declaration of Independence (with the US Constitution’s Bill of Rights) or the French Declaration of Rights of Man and Citizen with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Your job is not to declare one better, or newer, but to explain (using evidence from both the documents and the course text) how the meaning of the term ‘rights’ changes over time.
  2. Describe China’s role in global economic and political history over the last five hundred years. This is not a history of China, but a discussion of how China has interacted with and influenced other countries and regions.
  3. Did the Columbian Exchange and European immigration into the Americas benefit Native American populations in any way, or was the process entirely disastrous? Your answer must consider both sides of the question before coming to a conclusion.
  4. What were the three most important and influential ideas to come out of the Enlightenment? Note that the effects of these ideas can be positive or negative, and that you need to focus on the long-term influence of these ideas, not the history of the Enlightenment itself.
  5. Which is the more important factor in historical change over the last half millenium: religion or technology? Your answer must consider both sides of the question before coming to a conclusion.
  6. Write a history of agriculture from 1500 to present focusing on its economic role. This is not a general history of farming, but a specific analysis of the role of agriculture in the world economy. Issues to consider include: the percentage of farmers in the population; the flow of migration from rural regions; the Columbian Exchange; differences between regions of the world; changes in technology, fertilizers and crops; general lifestyle changes.

Both Essays are due in class at beginning of in-class final

There will be no extensions or late papers accepted
except in cases of documented medical emergency.

This test covers the entire semester: textbooks, documents, and lectures.

  • This is a take-home assignment, so I am expecting two real essays, with introductions, thesis statements, paragraphs, conclusions, etc.
  • Don’t assume that “an answer” will be easily found in one section of one book. These essays require broad knowledge and analytical thinking.
  • Be concrete: evidence is always more convincing than generalization or simple logic.

You may think of it as two essays each worth about 7.5% of your course grade; that’s certainly how I calculate it.

  • The grade is based primarily on the strength of your argument as an answer to the question: thesis, evidence (completeness and handling), logic.
  • Polished prose is not required, but basic courtesies like correct spelling and writing in grammatical standard English will be expected.
  • Clarity is crucial; structure is essential to a clear and effective argument.

Citations and Plagiarism

  • failure to acknowledge the source of your ideas or information is unacceptable. Plagiarism will result in no credit for the exam. Poor paraphrasing and poor citation will be penalized.
  • A Works Cited or Bibliography page is not required unless you use sources outside of the course readings and lectures. You must cite the source of information and ideas that are outside of “general knowledge,” including information from your course texts. Format of the notes is up to you: I prefer footnotes for my research, but parenthetical citations are fine as well; any format will be fine as long as it is used consistently and it clearly identifies the source and page of your information.
  • These questions can be answered more than adequately with reference to assigned readings and lectures. You are welcome to do more research and include outside sources if necessary, but you must be sure that they are relevant and of sufficient quality to enhance your argument. Using outside sources instead of course materials will result in penalties.

Technical Details

  • Make sure that your name, section, e-mail address and the question are clearly indicated at the beginning of each essay, and that each essay begins on a fresh page. Title pages are not required.
  • There is neither a minimum nor a maximum length for these essays, but I would be surprised if you could answer any of them in less than 1000 words or needed more than 2500.
  • Double-spacing and title pages are not required, but readable type and font are.
  • Both Essays are due in class at the time of the Final Exam. There will be no extensions or late papers accepted except in cases of documented medical emergency. Emailed files will only be accepted as proof of completion; printed essays must be delivered no later than 4pm Thursday, and must be identical to the emailed files.

Review Date Change and Final Details

  • Looking at the schedule I decided that there was no particular reason why the second article review needed to be handed in on Friday rather than Monday. So I’m pushing the due date back to the 26th. Anyone who wishes to use that extra time to get feedback on their assignments, drafts, etc., is entirely welcome.
  • As I mentioned in class, the final exam will be in two parts. The in-class portion will be the same as the midterm: a set of terms taken from the study term list from which you will choose twelve to answer. I will not, however, be limiting you to the same fifty minutes as the midterm: you may use as much as you wish of the full two hours scheduled. There will also be a take-home essay portion, which will be due on the day of the final, consisting of two essays that answer questions which cover a substantial portion of the course, especially issues which span the two halves of the course. I will distribute the questions and instructions shortly, so you will have several weeks to consider and work on these essays.

Midterm Results

The most popular terms were Columbian Exchange, Enlightenement and Charles Darwin. Nobody picked John Stuart Mill, which was disappointing. The high score in the class was 43.5 out of a possible 48 — pretty good for the first test, but I’ve rounded down to 43 for ease of calculation. The median score was a C+, meaning that at least half the class got a C+ or above (and half the class got a C+ or lower). Here’s how the grade scale worked out:

Grade minimum points distribution
A+ 43
A 40 10%
A- 38.7
B+ 35.5
B 31.5 30%
B- 28
C+ 24.5
C 21 40%
C- 17.5
D+ 14
D 10.5 20%
D- 7
F 0

Over the next few days I’ll put some of the 4-out-of-4 answers up here for reference.

When looking at your papers, you can ignore the little diagonal I put in the upper-left and lower-right corners of pages: that’s a note to me that there’s nothing before or after (respectively) that page which isn’t graded (just keeps me from having to flip more pages than necessary). If I underlined or circled something in one of your answers, though, it almost certainly means something you got wrong. If I put an “approximately” sign in the margin (and I do this on essays, too) — it looks like this: ≈ — that means something which is almost right, or nearly wrong; questionable, in other words.

While I’m giving you grade charts, here’s the distribution from the first article review.

Grade Level distribution
A-level 3%
B-level 33%
C-level 27%
D-level 30%
F 7%

The median grade was a C. Given both of these sets of numbers, you should be able to tell more or less how you’re doing relative to your classmates.

Note: if you did not take the midterm, and did not hand in an article review, you may be dropped from the course. (If you don’t want to be dropped, contact me immediately) If you did only one or the other, I will not drop you, but you might want to consider whether you’re going to finish well. If you have questions about your grade, feel free to contact me. The deadline to drop with a W is Friday.

Second Article Due Dates shifted

As I noted in class, I’ve shifted the due date for the second article choice to accomodate the late notice. Consider tomorrow (4/1) the hard deadline for the choice. The summary/context assignment has been pushed back to Monday (4/5) as well, to accomodate. The thesis/argument assignment, however, is still due Friday, 4/9.

Extra Credit Opportunity: Food and Culture Fair

What: Food and Culture Fair
Where: Memorial Auditorium
When: 27th March from 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm

Entrance fee : $1

The International Student Association and International Programs and Services Office brings to you the “Food and Culture Fair.” This event will please all your senses with a variety of food and performances from different countries.

This is a golden opportunity for all the organizations to present their food and culture to the local community.

For further information contact Vidhi Kundalia at  vidhi_kundalia@yahoo.co.in   or call (620-704-5303)

Midterm Info

The midterm will be on Friday, March 26, as scheduled.

The list of study terms covers all the chapters we’ve discussed, 15-24; basically from 1500 up to the 19th century. The vast majority of the terms are in the textbook; a few (like ‘early modern’ and ‘world systems theory’) come only from the lectures; most will have been covered in both the textbook and lectures and your answer should draw on both.

From the list of study terms, I’ll pick twenty-five; you will have to pick twelve to answer. Answers are usually short paragraphs.

The answers I’m looking for have three important components:

  • Definition: Basic information about what the person did or what the event involved or what the term means.
  • Context: What country or region, what time period does this fit into? What else is happening around this term that’s important to know? What other people or events or concepts play a role?
  • Significance: Why is this an important person or event or concept? What does this change about the world, and what comes after this that couldn’t have happened without it?

Definition alone, which is what you get if you memorize the textbook sidebar or a sentence or two from the text, gets you up to about a C. Context gets you to B-range. You need all three to make an A. (All of this assumes that you’re getting it right, of course.) You can get all that from the textbook, if you read it carefully, but it’s a lot easier if you listen to the lectures, too. Your answer on tests are not be limited to the material in a single chapter: many names and terms and processes will appear in multiple chapters.

You can find some exemplars of good work from previous semesters here and here. You can also see a comparison of good answers with the textbook sidebar definitions, if you’re thinking of memorizing those short definitions (hint: it’s not a good idea!)

I grade the individual questions on a 4-point scale: 4=A, 3=B, etc. I then total those up and, taking the highest grade in the class as 100%, convert them back to a letter grade with pluses and minuses. I record that grade (on a hundred point scale, so F is still worth more than zero) as your grade on the test.

I’m clearly going to need my catch-up day on Friday for finishing up the material on China and Japan, but we will talk about the test a little bit, and we have a review day on Monday the 22nd.

Two quick clarifications on assignments

As I said in the syllabus, assignments need to be handed in on paper, unless I explicitly agree to an exception for some reason. Email is acceptable only as proof that you’ve done the assignment: it will not be evaluated or graded unless and until I get a hard copy.

I hand back assignments when I’m done grading them. If you’re not there when I’m handing back an assignment, I’m just going to hold on to it until the next time I’m handing something back. If you want it back sooner than that, ask me for it, and I will happily give it to you before or after class.