Syllabus: Twentieth Century World History

History 060 presents a survey of twentieth century world history.  It is the equivalent of History 12 in the British Columbia secondary school system.


Richard Overy, Hammond Atlas of the Twentieth Century (London: Hammond, 1999).  This will be sent to NIC students through the mail.  Please contact me if there are any issues here.

Course Structure

The structure of the course has been set up both to take advantage of the opportunities offered by on-line learning and to directly address its challenges.  The lecture/mid-term/final exam format has been replaced by one in which you are encouraged to tap into the vast reservoir of materials available on the world-wide web.

The lack of regular meetings in an on-line course can lead to a sense of disconnection.  In an effort to counteract this, a series of weekly e-mail discussion forums has been incorporated into the class.  My hope is that you will learn much through thoughtful written exchanges with your fellow students and that a learning community of sorts can be created.  To succeed in and to contribute to this course, however, it will be necessary to be engaged on a continuing basis.

The course is divided into seven two-week units that correspond to the curriculum as outlined in the province's Adult Basic Education Articulation Handbook.  These units are the following:

Unit 1:  World at the Beginning of the Century

Unit 2:  World After World War I

Unit 3:  World in the 30s: Depression and Dictatorship

Unit 4:  World War II

Unit 5:  Cold War and Reconstruction

Unit 6:  Third World and China

Unit 7:  Contemporary Issues



The assignments are divided into three distinct categories.

The Unit Assignments are due every two weeks and are based upon your own individual research and writing.  Typically, you will spend several days studying one large historical theme and then write a paper of some three pages in length that outlines your conclusions.

The Discussion Forums are more interactive in nature.  Every two weeks, you will be provided with two background reading assignments that will serve as the basis for the sharing of ideas with your classmates.  The expectation here is that you should complete the suggested readings and contribute at least one long or two short e-mails to all fourteen of these discussion forums.  Vigorous debate is encouraged but the preferred model is one of dialogue rather than one of scoring points against an opponent.  Although the Forum cannot become  a precise substitute for face-to-face conversation, analytical contributions from course participants may allow us to take the discussion to a higher level than would be possible within a more improvised setting.  Evaluation will be based upon the thoughtfulness and the regularity of your responses over the course of the semester.

The Textbook Worksheets are factually-based.  You will be expected to send in fill-in-the-blank answers to individual chapters of Richard Overy's Hammond Atlas of the Twentieth Century every two weeks.  The purpose of this component of the course is to provide you with a basic overview of the history of the past century.  Although the proportion of the total class grade is not as substantial as for the other two assignment categories, you should score an A in this part of the course if you follow through and complete the exercise.  The percentage recorded will be calculated through dividing the correct answers by the total number of questions for each chapter.

There is no mid-term or final exam in this course.  I have decided the academic demands for the class are heavy enough as is.

For a full description, and links to, individual assignments, see The Assignments Page.


Unit Assignments                54%                (6 assignments x 9% apiece)

Discussion Topics               30%

Textbook Worksheets          16%

A Welcome

Welcome to the course.  I hope you find it a worthwhile educational experience.  Do not hesitate to ask questions of me at any time or make suggestions at .  I will also set aside time for those of you who live in the Comox Valley to meet in person with you on the CVC Campus.




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