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Oregon Trail

Course Number: HST 277
Transcript Title: Oregon Trail
Created: June 10, 2013
Updated: December 19, 2014
Total Credits: 4
Lecture Hours: 4
Lecture / Lab Hours: 0
Lab Hours: 0
Satisfies Cultural Literacy requirement: No
Satisfies General Education requirement: No
Grading options: A-F (default), audit

Prerequisites

WR 115, RD 115, MTH 20 or equivalent placement test scores

Course Description

Examines Euro-American motivations for westward migration; indigenous peoples; predecessors of the route; trail life; impact on humans and environment; diversity in terms of race, class, ethnicity, gender, and religion. Prerequisites: WR 115, RD 115 and MTH 20 or equivalent placement test scores. Audit available.

Intended Outcomes

  1. Use critical thinking to evaluate historical changes and their impact upon American society and culture.
  2. Recognize and appreciate the diverse backgrounds and contributions of those who lived in, explored, traded, and migrated to the West.
  3. Identify culturally grounded assumptions, which have impacted one’s perception of western expansion.
  4. Communicate effectively through speech and writing.

Outcome Assessment Strategies

  • Analyze and evaluate primary and secondary sources of information
  • Use research papers, book critiques, and visits to regional venues to analyze, evaluate, and form one’s own interpretation of the motivations for and impact of western expansion and the migration of the overlanders
  • Use oral presentation to convey own historical research and interpretation
  • Participation in, and contribution to, class discussions and activities
  • Demonstrate college level communication skills: listening, speaking, and writing

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

Analyze and evaluate primary and secondary sources

  • Learn the difference between primary and secondary sources and the historical relevance of each
  • Recognize and evaluate the motivation and perspective of the creator
  • Be able to put the documents into the context of the era
  • Recognize what the creator does not say is as important and what he or she does say

Use research papers, book critiques, and visits to regional venues to analyze, evaluate, and form one’s own interpretation of the motivations for and impact of western expansion and the migration of the overlanders.

  • Identify historian’s thesis from supporting evidence
  • Develop own thesis and use data to support it
  • Develop skills to synthesize data and formulate own conclusion
  • Competency using a variety of sources including books, journals, and online data banks.
  • Use of the internet for primary sources
  • Use of web sites based upon critical evaluation
  • Understand the importance of documenting source data and develop documentation skill
  • Recognize and evaluate motivation and perspective of museums, interpretive centers, displays, memorials, commemorations, and public programs.

Participation in and contribution to, oral presentations, class discussions and activities

  • Use oral presentation to convey own historical research and interpretation
  • Communicate information and analysis to peers as a formal presentation
  • Appreciate research done by peers
  • Work collaboratively with peers to evaluate and understand the historical process
  • Work collaboratively in discussion and debate
  • Respect and appreciate diversity
  • Small group informality for greater student participation
  • Relate historical information to the present

Themes, Concepts, Issues

  • Sense of place
  • Exploration and commerce
  • Colonization and nation building
  • Manifest Destiny
  • Westward expansion
  • Racism and ethnocentrism
  • Indigenous peoples
  • Diversity of overlanders
  • Spirituality and religion
  • Significance of trail experience on gender-based roles
  • Cultural exchange and change
  • Natural environment