Syllabus for Hist 19WV: if you don’t have access to the course site yet bc you just enrolled: here’s some info to tide you over…

Hist19WV: The historian’s workshop – how to tell fact from fiction using the clues of history (also – Zombies!)

Prof. Juliette Levy
Contact me via email or google hangout, skype twitter (@profjuliette), skype or facebook


CLASS DESCRIPTION — the class is reachable via

This is a writing intensive class. This is also a history class. And it’s an online class. The course material is online, but in order to succeed in this class you will have to spend considerable time doing research, reading and writing. I happen to think this is a great way to spend a quarter, and hope you do too! The class requires you complete the course material, attend weekly discussion sections and attend 3 workshops held by the Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) TA.


Our objective this quarter will be to debunk historical myths and fallacies using primary sources, which are to the historian like DNA is to a CSI crew. These historical myths are like the undead zombies – they refuse to die. Think about the Mayan Apocalypse – there was ample evidence that the Mayans never predicted the end of the world on December 21st, 2012 yet many people continued to believe that the Mayans were onto something and that terrible things were going to happen. The story of the Mayan apocalypse prophecy was a zombie!


Over the course of 10 modules you will learn what primary sources are and how historians use them. You will be introduced to different historical chapters, events and people – but more than anything you will learn how historians use and analyze the clues History leaves behind.


The goal of this class is to introduce you to the craft of History, and to teach you how to write like a historian. The benefit of knowing how to write like a historian is that it generally also means you will learn how to write – and by ‘write’ we don’t mean that you are able to write a sentence. We know you can do that! But here, the point of writing is to articulate your thoughts and reasoning in such a way the 1) it is intelligible and persuasive and 2) it is relevant to the course material.

You will measure your progress towards the objectives of the class by going through a series of exercises and assignments. Each exercise will quickly reflect how you are doing in class. If you are not hitting the high marks, you should be able to figure out why by looking at your score in the rubrics that accompany the assignments, or by speaking with your TA and or myself. Come talk to us if anything is causing you concern or trouble – that is why we are here!

Every lecture will be accompanied by a series of writing exercises. The lessons from the exercises will be reinforced in the lectures and in discussion. You will also attend workshops with the Writing-Across-the Curriculum (WAC) program TA who is specially trained to focus on specific writing exercises and techniques to transform you into awesome writers.


The only book you need to buy for this class is Max Brooks “World War Z: an oral history of the zombie war”. It is published widely, you can download it as an e-book, you can buy a used copy. It does not matter to me how you acquire the book, but you will need it. Is it a history book? No. Is it a great way to see how historical methods can produce great stories? Yes.

This class will also introduce you to the concept of “digital zombies”, and will teach you how to avoid becoming one. Find out more here:

And last but not least, the class will actually teach you something about the history of the zombie concept, which developed largely on the island of Haiti during the dark years of slavery on this Caribbean island.

How to contact ProfLevy and the TAs:

–> you will find a link to PIAZZA in the course site – this is our main communication/ discussion/ announcement hub.

1) PIAZZA: If you are unsure about an assignment, or are wondering about any of the readings or topics, the best thing to do is ask the group first. Post the question on Piazza. The TAs and ProfLevy will be monitoring it, and we are also counting on class members to jump on if they know the answer to a question.
2) POST TO TWITTER WITH #UCRHIST19WV: I urge everyone to get a twitter account and follow me @profjuliette . If your questions are short and can be answered with a simple yes or no, tweet them to us with the #ucrhist19WV. The answers will be quick and that way anyone else in class can check what updates/answers relevant to this class have been tweeted recently.
3) ADOBE CONNECT: all office hours, discussion sections and workshops will be on Adobe Connect – you’ll be given links to virtual classrooms in Adobe Connect for discussion section, and ProfLevy will available for office hours and e-meetings in her own Adobe Connect office.
4) LAST RESORT: EMAIL: this should be your last line of action. If all else fails, email ProfLevy or your TA. We will either be able to respond or we will set up an e-appointment/hangout. Email a summarized version of your questions (is it a question about methods, about an assignment, about history?) and let’s schedule a meeting.

When sending an email, please address it and sign it, and maintain a formal tone.

ProfLevy’s name is not Mrs Levy, Ms Levy, or Hey – address her as such and don’t expect a response. Please ask your TA how she or he prefers to be addressed, and let us know how you would like to be addressed too.
Please keep emails short and to the point. For longer discussion, make an appointment.

REQUIRED READING: (e-texts are ok).

Max Brooks, “World War Z: an Oral History of the Zombie War”, Broadway Press, 2007 (WWZ)
Moore and Cassel “Techniques for College Writing”, chapters 2 and 4 (also recommended: chapters 3 and 5); available here:; e-chapters can be purchased separately for $4.99 each

You also need to read EVERYTHING posted on the course site


MODULE VIDEOS & READINGS: obligatory – attendance/viewing of lecture modules is part of your grade. There are quiz questions embedded in the lecture that contribute to your participation grade.

DISCUSSIONS SECTIONS: attendance obligatory. Discussion will happen on adobe connect. Your attendance and participation will be graded. If you do not participate in discussion, we will consider that equal to not coming to discussion. You will earn your discussion grade by responding to questions, asking questions and contributing to the discussion.

WAC WORKSHOPS: attendance is obligatory: you must attend workshops I and II to earn 10% of your grade. If you attend all 3 workshops – you will earn an immediate 5% grade bump on your final grade. So make sure you look for the schedule and that your presence is notes at the workshops.


– Lectures (with built-in quizzes) 10%
– Readings quizzes (WWZ & assigned in modules) 10%
– Writing assignments 15%
– Digital Zombies project 20%
– Final exam 20%
– Discussion sections 15%
WAC workshop attendance 10% (+5% extra credit if attendance exceeds requirement)

Quizzes: There are two types of quizzes in this class.

The quizzes that are built into the lectures – you can take those any time (but I highly recommend watching the lecture and taking teh quiz before discussion section); and
By Wednesday of every week (starting week 1) you need to have to completed the quizzes for the modules assigned that week – keep you eye on those deadlines. You can take the type 2 quizzes at any time BEFORE the deadline. You can take the quizzes twice (only the highest grade will count) but the quiz closes at deadline and cannot be taken once it has closed.

Writing assignments: Every Saturday you have to submit a short writing exercise and analysis. The prompt is in the Homework page for that week. You can upload your assignments any time BEFORE the deadline.

Digital Zombies: This is a multi-week research project. You will be earning points towards this project over the course of the first half of this class. Every mission is critical, every mission takes time, so start early. Check out the project at You will find links for the submissions in the homework page each week. Missions are due every Sunday until week 6.

Final EXAM: You will need to write at least 1500 words for the final essay, with preparatory assignments due every Sunday (as of week 8).

Your final grade is a composite of your performances in many different venues. The Digital Zombies project is very important, as is the final hoax project, but you need to succeed in all other assignments to get an A. All the assignments build towards your skill-set, so don’t skip any steps. You’ll lose points and you’ll miss out on learning important skills.

Please note that if you attend all three WAC workshops, you WIN an immediate 5 point grade bump, but if you don’t attend the first two WAC workshops, you LOSE 10 points.


  • This class does not offer make up quizzes or exams.
  • Late assignments or exams lose 10 points per late hour, starting 10 minutes after the deadline. This applies to all written assignments. The quizzes are due at deadline without exception.
  • You can take the quizzes twice before the deadline.
  • Emailed papers will not be accepted. It is your obligation to upload assignments – and upload them on time.
  • If you have a life-threatening illness or life-altering loss that makes it impossible for you to comply with these rules, contact us well ahead of time, provide proof of the condition and we will consider alternatives.

Checklist: In order to complete this class you will need to

  • take 8 quizzes
  • write 4 short (250-500 word) essays
  • complete one peer-review (scheduled in week 4)
  • fulfill all the missions in the Digital Zombies project
  • write a report about Digital Zombies
  • submit 3 preparatory assignments for the Crate-a-Hoax project
  • complete the final project Create-a-Hoax
  • participate and attend ALL discussion sections
  • attend at least WAC workshops I and II
  • There is one planned extra-credit assignment, due on Sunday, November 29th.

A few suggestions

– Do not cheat, copy or plagiarize. This class has zero tolerance for cheating. If you cheat on any assignment, that assignment gets a zero, and I will pursue disciplinary action. If you cheat on the final, you overall grade for the class will be an F and I will pursue disciplinary action. #epic fail

– Upgrade you computer software to the most recent version. Try to work on a computer, mobile devices don’t get along with the course software as well as we’d like them to.

– Find a strong and stable wifi connection – slow connections will make google hangouts difficult. If you don’t have a strong connection at home, connect on campus. If you are using a mobile device for Hangouts – make sure you have downloaded the google app first.

– Do the extra-credit assignment – it’s worth it!

– Go to the obligatory WAC workshops – the grade hit is very expensive if you miss them. And do the third WAC workshop – the grade bump is HUGE.


Module 1: Topic: Zombies! (Includes guest lecture by Heather van Mouwerik on the history of Zombies)

Module 2: Topic: Maps and History

Module 3: Topic: Letters and History

Module 4: Topic: Annotations and History

Module 5: Topic:Paintings and History

Module 6: Topic: Photographs and History

Module 7: Topics: False Histories

Module 8: Topic: Films and History

Module 9: Topic: Diaries and History

Module 10: Topic: Time, Technology and History (Guest lecture by Steve Anderson on algorithms and digital zombies)

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