By chance or by design you have arrived at a website that contains the course portfolio for two sections of one particular course--Western Civilization--which I offered in the Department of History at Texas Tech University. This portfolio is the core of an even larger project, Wired for Trouble?, which is an investigation of the impact of hypermedia pedagogy on student learning in history courses. Wired for Trouble? is generously supported by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, whose Carnegie Scholar program makes it possible for me to pursue this contribution to the scholarship of teaching.
As you travel around within this site you will find many opportunities to move back and forth between the course and the larger project, and I hope you will take advantage of those opportunities to explore connections between the two.
Because the Western Civilization course described here served as the laboratory for my investigation of the impact of hypermedia on student learning, this portfolio is organized around the same question that animates that larger project:
How does the introduction of hypermedia into a history course influence student learning in that course?
I approached this question by using my two sections of Western Civilization as my laboratory. In the fall semester both sections were taught taking full advantage of hypermedia (although it is specifically not a "virtual" course where everything happens on-line). In the spring semester, one section used only hypermedia source materials and the students in the second section received all of the same materials, although in "non-hyper" formats (books, overheads, videotapes, etc.). In the fall semester the content of each section was exactly the same and in the spring, the content of the two sections was as similar as it is possible to make it under the circumstances. The fall semester was my opportunity to test the learning strategies I devised for the hypermedia version of the course and then during the spring semester I compared the "hyper" and "non-hyper" versions of the course. By comparing student results in the various sections of the course, I draw several initial conclusions on the influence of hypermedia on student learning.
An essential element of all published course portfolios is that they open up the author's teaching to public scrutiny and the possibility of formal or informal peer review. Whether you want to engage me in a more extended discussion of my project, my conclusions, or my course, or if you simply want to offer a comment (or criticism), I hope you will contact me. I have included a comment form as part of this site. E-mail is also a very efficient way to reach me, and good old snail mail works just as well.
To begin your investigation of my investigation, proceed to the introduction.