Home > Class, Fun and Games, Teaching, Teaching Assistant > Thinking about assessment, textbooks, and Dakota Territory

Thinking about assessment, textbooks, and Dakota Territory

In Tuesday’s class, we had a visit from Dr. Joan Hawthorne, Assistant Provost for Assessment and Achievement at UND. I must admit that while we learned a great deal about assessment, I am not completely convinced of the value of it. Dr. Iseminger posed a question to us about our future in teaching, whether or not we chose this profession to fill out paperwork. I will say that I did not decide to go into the historical profession and teaching to fill out paperwork most of the time.

We also handed in our textbook evaluation assignment. I feel that the assignment was a worthwhile one, albeit a little long in pagination. We examined several textbooks, considering aspects of attitudes on race, gender, events covered, ideology, and prose, to name a few areas. Textbooks have increased their focus towards women and minority groups and have increased space devoted to images and graphics. This makes them less usable to instructors, but there are options. Brief editions of textbooks are a good option, as they are smaller in size, have a better prose, and are often cheaper, which is great students. My choice would be to use a brief edition.

On Wednesday in North Dakota History, we finished our discussion on homesteading, with Dr. Porter and I “building” a twelve foot by fourteen foot shack and using students to represent five people, a calf, and twenty-four chickens, which resulted in a very cramped place. We then turned our attention to Dakota Territory, including mention of William Jayne from my alma mater Illinois College, who was the first territorial governor. We also learned about the idea that almost prevented North Dakota from becoming a state, as there was a plan to divide the territory between Minnesota and give the rest to other states, with the dividing line along the Missouri River. Fortunately that did not happen, otherwise I would be Minnesotan, which comes with having an SNL alum as a Senator and being in Gopher country for hockey (shudders). It will be a fun Friday, as we will finish our discussion of the territory and I will then head to Des Moines, Iowa for the North Central Region Conference for Civil Air Patrol.

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