This course will cover the development of United States history from its pre-colonial beginnings through recent history (the period covered by the updated AP exam). It will prepare students to take the AP US History exam in May, 2019. However, my goals for this course are more comprehensive than getting students ready to take the exam next May. I also hope to inspire and increase students’ love and appreciation for history, expand students’ capacity to think creatively and flexibly about critical issues, and communicate powerfully and compellingly.
The course will be conducted on a learning management system (LMS) called Canvas. Canvas is very easy for a new user to learn, and I will help students become oriented to the platform. One of the advantages of Canvas is that I can allow parents to be observers in the course, and even link parents to their own students’ submissions and feedback, so that they can have immediate access to all sorts of important information. Through Canvas, students will access all of their requirements, view my audio-visual presentations, upload assignments, take their Unit multiple-choice exams (with instant feedback), engage in threaded discussions, view my feedback, etc.
Students will read primary and secondary source material, watch videos, listen to audio, and participate in discussions. They will have access to my college-level audio-visual presentations, which include both improving thinking, reading, and writing skills and covering the content of American history from its pre-colonial roots to recent times. They will learn how to write historical essays like the ones required by the AP exam, not only by writing their own, but by critiquing actual former AP exam submissions for strengths and weaknesses. They will learn how to notice on-going themes in American history. They will engage in threaded discussions with one another, considering questions like “What is the purpose of government?” and “What is the best way to try to improve society?” to collaborating on the best approaches to AP-like questions. In addition, I have created several instructional presentations focused specifically on how to approach different elements of the AP exam, as well as several assignments that will help students practice their test-taking skills. If you want to see a sample of one of these presentations, please visit my website.
Students prompt feedback in my course, typically within a week of due dates.
Who should apply: High school students who understand that much will be required of them. While I will guide students into mastery of content, I do so in the context of training students to read actively, think critically, and write engagingly about the material they are encountering. Therefore, both a scholarly attitude and a scholarly set of skills will be necessary for any student to thrive in this course. In addition, my class will be highly interactive. There will be a variety of ways students will approach the material, from participating in weekly discussions, reviewing each other’s work, analyzing writings from the past, and evaluating historians’ arguments about the past. Generally, juniors and seniors with strong academic skills do well in this course; however, I have had some sophomores also thrive. I do not recommend this course for freshmen. For more information on this, contact me.
Instructor Bio and Qualifications
Lisa Hawkins was born and raised in New York, although she also lived for some time in Miami, Puerto Rico, and on a commune in San Diego. She majored in history at Swarthmore College, where she also earned my high-school teaching certification. She also did graduate work at Widener University with a focus on English and education. Lisa worked for four years at an inner-city classical high school, where she taught American History and American Literature and served as Dean of Students.
In 1997, she earned her Masters in History at Temple University, and soon began teaching college courses for Drexel University and Peirce College for adults returning to school. In 2005, she began teaching online, and to date has independently created more than a dozen different online college courses, ranging from survey American History courses, to the History of American Business, Colonial History, Revolutionary History, and Western Humanities surveys. She has been awarded “Outstanding Adjunct Faculty” by one of the universities she currently teaches for. In addition to teaching this AP course, Lisa also teaches honors/academic-level courses online for high school students and is preparing history homeschool curricula for publication in the near future.
Important to note for this AP course – Lisa is also an official grader of AP US History exams (and a trainer of other graders). She believes she is the only homeschooling teacher at the grading convention (where over 1000 history teachers from across the country gather to grade essays). During the convention, graders receive extensive training in the process and participate in College Board and ETS seminars. Despite all her experiences at the high school and college level, and despite her appreciation for the more profound academic and cultural expressions, she nevertheless is a shameless fan of The Simpsons, Napoleon Dynamite, and MST3K. She has also joined the rest of the world with her love of the ‘beautiful game’ and has been recorded by her own children frenetically celebrating the goals scored by her favorite English Premier League soccer team. Despite her devotion to her beloved Tottenham Spurs, Lisa has successfully instructed students who are fans of one of their rivals.
Note – I love history, I love teaching, and I love students. I put a great deal of thought and time into constructing courses that are engaging, challenging, and well-organized. I also care a great deal about humanizing the on-line experience, and you will see that priority woven into many aspects of my course.
Please also visit my website, www.questcourses.com, You can get lots more information about the course and about me at this website. You can also read many, many recommendations and reactions to my online courses, both from high school students and college students.