HST 354U - Early Medieval Europe, 300-1000
Portland State University
John S. Ott (c) (2017)
ASSIGNMENT GUIDELINES: JOURNAL/NOTEBOOK
(80 POINTS / 8% of final grade; submitted on October 26 and again on November
– please read thoroughly
This assignment is designed to be of practical utility, as well as furnish
you with the opportunity to engage directly and informally with the assigned
reading this term. Over the course of the term, you must maintain a
course notebook or, if you prefer, “journal.” You may use an actual
notebook, loose-leaf papers with three-ring binder, a legal pad, or something
similar to keep the journal. The entries may be handwritten. You will be able to use the content
of this journal/notebook on the final exam.
During the term, to fulfill this assignment, it is expected that you will
use the notebook to:
- maintain your notes from class lectures and class discussions.
As the quarter progresses, you will thus compile a study guide for the final
exam, which in its format will be essay-based and will test your ability
to synthesize and analyze the course readings and themes.
- regularly compose brief entries in the journal based on your notes
and preparation of the readings themselves. You should compose roughly
2 per week. There is no correct length for these reading entries: they
may be as long as you like, but should cover at a minimum around one-half
page. By the end of the quarter, I would expect you to have between
16-25 entries total. The more, the better, but I would rather have substance
- record whatever thoughts you have on the course content and link
them to other observations -- say, about the linkage between early modern
history and its legacy in the present. You may also choose to examine
your own assumptions about this period in human history. Is it like
or unlike our own time? Are people different? Do they think, act, organize
information in ways similar to or different than our own? There is
no “right” thing to write, but your entries should reflect a high level of
introspection and indicate that you have tried to engage the materials intellectually.
- In sum, the shape of the journal is more or less yours to create.
Bear in mind, however, that this is intended to be a serious exercise in cross-cultural
observation. By writing down ideas as they come to you, you
will be better prepared to tackle the paper assignments for the course, as
well as the final exam. If done consistently and thoughtfully, it will
serve you well at the quarter’s end. Most of all, enjoy yourselves,
be creative, think freely, have fun!
Evaluation of this assignment (done in two stages, each worth 40 points)
will be determined by:
- Evidence that you have kept regular notes on the lectures and class
discussions--I will be looking for grasp of course content, ability to synthesize
and organize lecture material, and evidence of reflection. The amount of
notes will vary, but a page or more per lecture/class discussion should be
- Evidence that you have spent time on this throughout the quarter,
and have not dashed off a few random ideas at the end of the grading period.
- Evidence that you have engaged with the readings and extracted from
them notes on your observations, questions about the content, themes/ideas,